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It’s a BOTs world!

Story: tglife | 27th June 2017, 10:56 Hrs

With BOTs making their presence felt all over the internet, one’s social media experience across platform is invariably affected. #TGLife speaks to digital experts who offer their point of view


Lutz Finger, the director of Data Science at Linkedin and author of Ask, Measure and Learn has recently written about the effects of BOTs on social media.  
In his article that was published in Forbes, he explained how BOTs are algorithms acting in social media networks, but to the outside world, they look like a real user.  
“Social media bots can be scarily natural. A study showed that 30% of users can be deceived by a BOT . Well made bots can even gain your trust. For example, meet Lajello, a fictitious member in a book lovers’ network. He became the second most liked and appreciated person within this network. Why? Because he automatically recommended books to every other user like an Amazon recommender system. Lovely and friendly, right? Thus it should not be a surprise that 1 in 5 of us accept unknown friend requests, openly letting bots  into our world,” said Lutz.
He raised concerns about how bots are used to help make people famous, and generate followers. They’re also used for spam, mischief, influencing opinion and limiting free speech.
While people in Goa and across the country have encountered fake profiles, not many are aware about how they function, its harmful effects and what it truly means given that BOTs have a way of affecting our perception. 
Luts remarked that one of the real impacts of bots is to skew public opinion. “China tried this with the so called “5 Mao (50 cent) army”: over a quarter million bloggers who wrote articles for as much as 5 Mao per article to complement its government information politics,” wrote Lutz.  He also pointed out how it can harm others, where even very simple bots  can be useful.  
Lutz stated that it is safe to conclude that the BOT business has now gone beyond marketing and is now  a big government business. For instance, the US Air Force recently revealed that it solicited Ntrepid, a California based company, to create software that would enable it to mass-produce bots for political purposes.
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