Bot stamina: examining the influence and staying power of bots in online social networks

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Abstract

This study presents a novel approach to expand the emergent area of social bot research. We employ a methodological framework that aggregates and fuses data from multiple global Twitter conversations with an available bot detection platform and ultimately classifies the relative importance and persistence of social bots in online social networks (OSNs). In testing this methodology across three major global event OSN conversations in 2016, we confirmed the hyper-social nature of bots: suspected social bot accounts make far more attempts on average than social media accounts attributed to human users to initiate contact with other accounts via retweets. Social network analysis centrality measurements discover that social bots, while comprising less than 0.3% of the total corpus user population, display a disproportionately high level of structural network influence by ranking particularly high among the top users across multiple centrality measures within the OSN conversations of interest. Further, we show that social bots exhibit temporal persistence in centrality ranking density when examining these same OSN conversations over time.

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Schuchard, R., Crooks, A. T., Stefanidis, A., & Croitoru, A. (2019). Bot stamina: examining the influence and staying power of bots in online social networks. Applied Network Science, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41109-019-0164-x

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