NEW YORK (CBSNEWS) - A study released by the University of Southern California reports that roughly nine to 15 percent of Twitter accounts on the microblogging website are so-called bots controlled by software instead of humans.
Twitter boasts 319 million monthly active users meaning that this recent revelation equates to nearly 48 million bot accounts, according the university's high-end figure. Those bots are capable of interactions such as "likes," "retweets" and "following."
The study states that researchers used the following features on Twitter to determine its analysis of bot accounts:
- Tweet content and sentiment
- Network patterns
- Activity time series
A spokesperson from Twitter told CNBC that while bots may have negative connotations, "many bot accounts are extremely beneficial, like those that automatically alert people of natural disasters ... or from customer service points of view."
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