How To Be A Bot Hunter

You hear about them all over the place but there is a sad truth when you find them. There is very little that you really can do about them.  You can let others know about the bot, block it or even report it. The system may eventually suspend or eliminate the account. The advice I can give to be a bot hunter is, thoroughly research the bots you found, write it up and publish it. I have noticed that many use medium.com when reporting bots. My experience involved thousands of bots managed by Americans, in an elaborate internet scheme centered around violating the rules of evidence for the Department of Justice for profit. 

Popular Bot Myths

Bots Just Repeat Actions

Bots Are All Russian

Bots Are All Harmless

There are good bots and bad bots

Bots are just automated programs that repeat tasks one of the oldest bots on the internet is IFTTT.

If This Then That, also known as IFTTT, is a freeware web-based service that creates chains of simple conditional statements, called applets.

An applet is triggered by changes that occur within other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, or Pinterest.

For example, an applet may send an e-mail message if the user tweets using a hashtag, or copy a photo on Facebook to a user’s archive if someone tags a user in a photo.

Use with Caution* all of these misidentify

Double check with user accounts before taking action. Some bot operators have responded to me in direct message inquiries and in threads. Most often however they don’t which is a indicator in itself. AI bots always respond even when they shouldn’t which is another type of indicator.

Twitter Bot Detection Tools

BotSight

NortonLifeLock Research Group, the R&D division of antivirus vendor NortonLifeLock, released a browser extension called BotSight that’s designed to detect potential Twitter bots in real time. The team behind it says BotSight is intended to highlight the prevalence of bots and disinformation campaigns within users’ feeds, as the spread of pandemic-related misinformation reaches a veritable fever pitch.

Botometer

Botometer is a collaboration between Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) and the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS). The following individuals have contributed to this project: Clayton A Davis, Onur Varol, Kaicheng Yang, Emilio Ferrara, Alessandro Flammini, and Filippo Menczer.

accountanalysis

Accountanalysis

The Botometer claimed @luca was a bot (someone to follow a real bot hunter and visual twitter artist look using gelphy (really cool stuff) He created his own tool which is free to use.

Tweetbotornot

An open-source package for developers created by Michael Kearney, a professor at the Informatics Institute in the University of Missouri.

Socialbearing

This tool is for other things but gives you a good insight into times and other details about an account. Word cloud is helpful as is percentages of replies and devices used on the platform. Simple bots seldom use multiple devices,

Warning Partisan Disinformation Tool.

Bot Sentinel

Regularly claims elderly wheelchair-bound twitter users are bots. The backer targets influences and attempts remove to accounts with out a left leaning bias off the system. It creates blocklists for download and my account is on the list. They know and don't care

Things to look at

  • What time the account posts*  big hint 24 hours a day there may be a bot involved.
  • The Account won’t respond to you * Try DM and just mentioning the account and give it a few days.
  •  The social bearing app will show what types of browsers and how many retweets vs tweets and replies.
  • Do a twitter search and see what comes up 
  • Using Google Chrome right-click on the profile picture and search images. Some farms use images from stock houses. If you see loads of links it is an indicator that it is a bot or someone hiding, which just might be equally distressing.  Let train conductors know most of them are more vigilant and can give advice over actions to take over twitter accounts.
  • If an account just retweets and has a low following it could just be another older person, tweet and see if you get a reply.
  • If it just tweets the same domain over and over its a bot and report it.