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High Percentage of Robot-generated Fake Tweets likely to Influence Public Opinion before upcoming US Presidential Elections

Researchers have found that robots, rather than people have produced 3.8 million tweets

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US Presidential Candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Wikimedia
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Washington, November 5, 2016:  Just before US Election polls, a high percentage of the political discussion was created by software robots or social bots on popular social media site Twitter, that may be influencing public opinion, warned a new study.

According to PTI, researchers from the University of Southern California’s (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering in the US worry that these robot-generated tweets are likely to distort political online discussion as well as there is a possibility that it might impact election outcomes.

[bctt tweet=”Researchers found that Republican candidate Donald Trump’s robot-produced tweets were almost uniformly positive, boosting the candidate’s popularity. ” username=””]

“Software robots masquerading as humans are influencing the political discourse on social media as never before and could threaten the very integrity of the 2016 US presidential election,” said research leader at the USC, Emilio Ferrara.

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Ferrara and Alessandro Bessi, who are visiting research assistants at USC have analysed 20 million election-related tweets created between September 16 and October 21, by leveraging state-of-the art bot detection algorithms, mentioned PTI report.

While delving deep, they found that robots, rather than people have produced 3.8 million tweets, or 19 percent. Social bots also accounted for 400,000 of the 2.8 million individual users, or nearly 15 percent of the population under study.

After analysing, researchers have found that Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s robot-produced tweets were almost uniformly positive, that is boosting the candidate’s popularity.

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On contrary to that, only half of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s bot tweets were positive, with the other half criticising the nominee, mentioned PTI.

It is often impossible to determine who creates these tweets, due to the social bots’ sophistication.

According to the report, political parties, local, national and foreign governments and even single individuals with adequate resources could obtain the operational capabilities and technical tools to deploy armies of social bots and affect the directions of online political conversation, said the researchers.

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The “master puppeteers” behind influence bots, often create fake Twitter and Facebook profiles, they said, mentioned PTI.

“They do so by stealing online pictures, giving them fictitious names, and cloning biographical information from existing accounts,” they added.

“These bots have become so sophisticated that they can tweet, retweet, share content, comment on posts, ‘like’ candidates, grow their social influence by following legit human accounts and even engage in human-like conversations,” researchers further added.

– prepared by NewsGram with inputs from PTI.

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Twitter Lite: A Data-Friendly Version of Twitter Now Available in India

The micro-blogging platform, while releasing second quarter earnings, reported $711 million in revenue -- an increase of 24 per cent year-over-year

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Twitter Lite
Data-friendly Twitter Lite now available in India. Pixabay

The micro-blogging platform has made its data-friendly Twitter Lite Android app available in 21 more countries, including India, which can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Built for 2G and 3G networks which are still in use in several parts of India, Twitter Lite has an install size of 3MB, saves data and space and loads quickly on unreliable networks.

“While using the app on 2G or 3G, you’ll notice that content will load quickly on Twitter Lite. We want to make sure you can see what’s happening no matter what network you’re on,” Twitter said in a statement late on Monday.

Twitter Lite is now available in the Google Play Store in more than 45 countries.

After a successful trial in the Philippines, Twitter rolled out the data-friendly Lite Android app in 24 countries in December 2017.

By enabling data saver mode, users can control which images and videos load on their phones.

“You can still load all the content at any time by hitting ‘Load image’ or ‘Load video’, helping you save money and data in real time,” said Twitter.

Twitter
Twitter Lite is now available in the Google Play Store in more than 45 countries. (VOA)

The “Bookmarks” feature allows users to save important Tweets for later.

“Twitter Lite supports push notifications, allowing you to keep up with what’s happening around the world,” said the micro-blogging platform that currently has 335 million users.

The night mode feature gives timeline a darker theme — easier on eyes and to read even during the day.

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“Threaded Tweets are now available on Twitter Lite. We’ve made it easy to create a thread by adding a plus button in the composer, so you can connect your thoughts and publish your threaded Tweets all at the same time,” said the statement.

Twitter in July reported a drop of one million users in the second quarter of 2018 — with monthly active user count going down from 336 million in the last quarter to 335 million.

The micro-blogging platform, while releasing second quarter earnings, reported $711 million in revenue — an increase of 24 per cent year-over-year. (IANS)