There’s no denying it; since the beginning of 2020 our entire world has changed drastically and in more ways than one. Covid-19 has forced countries, nations and societies to transform, including the world of politics.
2020, in particular, witnessed how social media has the capability to divide nations using manipulation techniques and fake news in its conquering.
Just look at the recent U.S. elections for one. No hidden truth, back in 2016 Donald Trump utilised social media platforms to shape public opinion, thus helping him to win the 2016 U.S General Election. Four years later come election time, the entire world became divided over public opinion regarding Trump’s re-elect.
The same can be said for other major political events such as Brexit, or the worldwide pandemic where conspiracy theories run rampant.
On topic, since the lockdowns across countries last year, Twitter has seen a surge of 34% more users on the platform in comparison to the previous year.
However, as users increase on the social media platform, so do the number of bots.
To Bot or not to Bot
The simplest way of explaining what a bot is, is to think of it like a fake account run by an automated system, i.e. there isn’t an actual person sitting behind a desk running an account. This computerised software will automatically perform regular Twitter actions such as tweeting, retweeting, following or unfollowing accounts, send direct messages, and even post images.
Using bots to gain followers fast was once a common internet practise among businesses, influencers and social media stars on the rise, however, these days, bots can lead to your account becoming shadow banned i.e. your post becomes partially blocked and won’t be seen.
The most effective way in 2021 to grow fast without putting your account at risk is with real followers. As bots become more common than not, it’s hard to tell what’s a bot account and what’s not.
If wanting to keep your account safe yet grow your following, one should only use growth services like Twesocial. This is the top digitalized platform to help you gain real followers i.e. actual people through the help of a dedicated content manager. Your manager is assigned to you and helps with your account growth.
These days, if you don’t 100% vet each and every single one of your followers, checking each individual account, you’ll find you probably have some bots following you too.
Recent studies have shown that approximately 15% of Twitter users are in fact bots and 25% of all tweets are believed to be driven by bot-accounts.
Take the pandemic as an example, even in the early stages of lockdown 2020, Bots tweeted about 45% of the Covid-19 tweets. Bot accounts are unfortunately often used for misinformation and the backlash of this was felt, turning the world on its head through rumours, conspiracies and what-ifs in a time of extreme uncertainty.
However, this, in fact, is not something new, (we’re only now just seeing the rise of it) and bots have already been used for years to weaponise and help drive nefarious agendas.
These bots have played an important role in pushing political talking points, some negative and some positive, from climate change to elections, vaccinations and reform movements.
In 2016 alone, it’s believed that 1 out of every 5 election-related tweets was generated by bots during the U.S. general elections campaign. If already monopolised on back then, there’s no doubt bots played a big role in the recent 2020 elections too.
But the big question stands, are all bots bad? No, there are good bots too harnessed for entertainment purposes or for example, public announcements such as recording an earthquake as it happens.
It’s important to consider the world of bots, and the next time you’re on Twitter, do think twice about who you are talking to.
Utilised since the 60s, bots have been around a lot longer than one might expect, it’s just with the increasing rise of social media and technological developments that one needs to begin to question the potential impact that these bots have the ability to create.
It’s important to be aware of the world of bots online, as well as educate yourself enough to pick up on a fake account when you see it.