📺 Stream EntrepreneurTV for Free 📺

Why the Rise of Bots is a Concern for Social Networks Social bots are accounts controlled by software, algorithmically generating content and establishing interactions.

By Nidhi Singh

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Social media is quickly becoming the most important tool used for businesses. If you think social media isn't worth your time then surely you're missing out on one of the most powerful social media marketing tools available to you. A number of brands have experimented with social bots that can help them improve their customer process. A growing amount of social media content is generated by autonomous entities known as social bots.

Unlike a regular bot, a social bot convinces the other user that it is a real person. The researchers from the University of Southern California and Indiana University found out that between 9% - 15% of active Twitter accounts are bots. Social bots are accounts controlled by software, algorithmically generating content and establishing interactions. The report observes that bots tend to interact with bots that exhibit more human-like behaviours. It further points out the importance of tracking increasingly sophisticated bots, since deception and detection technologies are in a never-ending arms race. The analysis reveals retweet and mention strategies adopted by bots to interact with different target groups.

The research is definitely an alarming news for the social media platform, which had to face a lot of difficulty in increasing its user base to compete with Facebook and Instagram. Also, the increase in social bots will make it difficult for the social network platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to regulate the problem of fake news, hate speech and misinformation.

Bots: Harmless or Dangerous?

The researchers tried large collection of features like friends, tweet content and sentiment, network patterns, and activity time series to identify bots on Twitter. Some bots emulated human behaviour to manufacture fake grassroots political support, promote terrorist propaganda and recruitment, manipulate the stock market and disseminate rumours and conspiracy theories. While on the other hand the bots also performed useful functions, such as dissemination of news and publications and coordination of volunteer activities.

Bots Dominating the Social Networks:

In 2014, Twitter disclosed in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, that over 23 million — or 8.5 % of Twitter's monthly active users were bots.

When talking about bots, Twitter is not the only one fighting this issue. In 2014, Facebook's fourth-quarter earnings report revealed that between 5.5% - 11.2% Facebook accounts were duplicate, malicious or otherwise "fake'. Back in March 2012, the social media giant also said that 5% - 6 % of accounts are false or duplicate. In June 2015, an Italian researchers study found out that 8.2 % of Instagram's 300 million users were bots.

Nidhi Singh

Former Correspondent, Entrepreneur Asia-Pacific

A self confessed Bollywood Lover, Travel junkie and Food Evangelist.I like travelling and I believe it is very important to take ones mind off the daily monotony .

Side Hustle

These Coworkers-Turned-Friends Started a Side Hustle on Amazon — Now It's a 'Full Hustle' Earning Over $20 Million a Year: 'Jump in With Both Feet'

Achal Patel and Russell Gong met at a large consulting firm and "bonded over a shared vision to create a mission-led company."


Want to Be More Productive? Here's How Google Executives Structure Their Schedules

These five tactics from inside Google will help you focus and protect your time.


5 Ways Solopreneurs Can Scale Their Business Through Collaboration

Our culture loves to perpetuate the myth that entrepreneurs must go it alone. But for many, the path to success is found in collaboration.

News and Trends

Supply Chain Startup 3SC Bags USD 4 Mn in a New Funding Round from GEF Capital

With the raised funds, the Gurugram-based platform aims to fuel the company's growth trajectory and strategic expansion plans.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Side Hustle

How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Successful Business

A hobby, interest or charity project can turn into a money-making business if you know the right steps to take.