25 Percent of the Twitter Tweets about Climate Change Are Posted by Bots, Finds out A Study

One-fourth of the climate change posts on Twitter are written by bots, as disclosed by the researchers of Brown University. According to the study, tweets by bots reflected an impression that climate change is being ignored at a huge level.

Bots are actually automated programs that trick to be humans to send or post messages on social media platforms.

The detailed paper has not been published yet but a news agency, The Guardian reported about the study.

Around 6.5 million tweets were analyzed by researchers, from June 2017 when President Trump announced about the United States stepping back from Paris climate accord.

The study showed that 25 percent of the tweets were done by bots, the majority of them denied global warming or ignorant of climate sciences.

Bots are set up by humans to post or send messages automatically on social media platforms. However, the researchers’ team could not identify who was behind the training of bots to post about denial of climate change.

Indiana University tool, Botometer was used by researchers to find out how many tweets were posted by humans and by bots. While searching about climate changes, subcategories were also found out.

Around 38 percent of times, tweets about “fake sciences” were posted by bots and also, 28 percent of the tweets about Exxon, an oil company, was written by bots.

A minimal amount of tweets about saving the environment were done by bots. Only 5 percent of tweets about taking action for protecting the environment was done using bots.

Emilio Ferrara, a research professor at the University of Southern California, once researched the influence of bots. According to him, bots are often used to give an impression like a movement or idea is originally supported by masses.

When President Trump announced about the US leaving the Paris agreement, there were a large number of tweets about climate change. Simultaneously, a number of posts by bots also increased, from a hundred tweets per day to 25,000 tweets in a day.

At that time, many people were posting about climate change therefore posts by bots decreased. Only 13 percent of tweets during that time were made using bots.

Though Brown University researchers could not find who was behind the bots, Professor Ferrara said we should be concerned when a message is manipulated that masses consume online, as it could affect the beliefs and ideas of people.

Read next: Twitter Is Testing a Feature to Flag Politicians’ Misleading Tweets
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