Nearly HALF Of Coronavirus-Tweeting Accounts Are BOTS

( A new report from Carnegie Mellon University has shown that almost half of all Twitter accounts tweeting about the Chinese coronavirus…are bots.

NPR reported how the new study from Carnegie Mellon researchers examined public Twitter conversations and interactions and found that it is likely most accounts talking about the Wuhan virus are not operated by people but are automated. The term “bots” is widely used to refer to accounts that are controlled by automated algorithms that published pre-determined statements depending on circumstances.

Researchers look at over 200 million tweets about the Chinese virus that have been published since January 2020, and found that around 45% of those tweets were published by accounts that appeared to be bots and not run by humans.

Bots can be easy to find in many instances. The profile picture is usually clearly a stock photograph image, the description is either vague or the same as various other accounts, they have very few or zero followers, and they interact in a way that does not seem natural.

While the researchers said that it’s too early to say definitively that the accounts they looked at are bots, they can confirm that the tweets appeared to be written to sow division between American users. According to computer science professor Kathleen Carley, the activity may be a result of Chinese or Russian intervention.

“We do know that it looks like it’s a propaganda machine, and it definitely matches the Russian and Chinese playbooks,” she said. “But it would take a tremendous amount of resources to substantiate that.”

The researchers also described how they discover more than 100 false narratives being shared by the possible bot accounts, including the idea that hospitals were filled with mannequins to perpetuate the fake narrative that people are dying, and that 5G signal towers were responsible for the deaths.

“We’re seeing up to two times as much bot activity as we’d predicted based on previous natural disasters, crises and elections,” Carley added.

It comes as media outlets report on the Chinese government’s new twitter campaign, which increased the number of tweets being sent by the Chinese government significantly.

Which country do you think is more likely to do this, China or Russia?