The Impact of Social Media Bots on Modern Democracies

Never before in the history of humanity has the population of the world had access to news that is received as instantly as it can be through social media. Whenever there is breaking news, it spreads all across social media and this is mostly a good thing because of the fact that it is making it so that certain people are able to become better informed about the world around them, something that was a lot more difficult to do not all that long ago.

However, while the ease with which we receive news is mostly a good thing, the fact of the matter is that there are some negative aspects of this kind of application for social media. This is because of the fact that the ease with which you can share news on social media has made it easier for some people to spread misinformation, rumors or just flat out falsehood. The prime example of this can be seen in the spread of anti-vaccination rhetoric, something that would not have been possible without the modern internet.

That being said, while people are responsible for quite a bit of the misinformation that is spread out there, a lot of this misinformation comes from bots that have been designed with a singular purpose in mind, this purpose being making people believe in a certain kind of idea. This isn’t just about anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories either. As can be seen over the course of the past few years, bots that spread information have been used in order to manipulate the results of elections, and this is a very dangerous application for these kinds of software.

Bots need to be taken care of if we are to live in a world where fair and free elections remain as widespread as they used to be, and big tech companies will play a role in determining whether or not positive steps end up being taken.

The Social Media Bot Problem (Infographic)

The Social Media Bot Problem (Infographic)
Graphic courtesy of: Zignallabs

Read next: After invading Instagram these NSFW bots are now creating chaos on Twitter

Featured photo: xb100 / Freepik
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