According to Business Insider, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that about half of more than 200 million tweets related to covid-19 that have been sent since January appear to be from bots. About half of all accounts tweeting about “reopening America” appeared to be bots, and 60 percent of the 1,000 most influential retweeters appeared to be bots. Of the top 50 influential accounts, 82 percent are bots. Basically, a whole lot of fake accounts are artificially inflating the “movement” to reopen America. The researchers were able to categorize more than 100 types of inaccurate covid-19 stories, but tweets about ending stay-at-home orders were the most frequent.
They identified the bogus Twitter accounts by using artificial intelligence to track where the tweets were coming from, the number of followers, and the frequency of tweets coming from a single account. Kathleen Carley, a computer-science professor who led the research, said the bots tweet more frequently than is humanly possible or tweet from different locations on opposite sides of the world just hours apart. (That’s a little suspect when few people are jetting around the globe right now.)