Tracking Disinformation by Reading Metadata

Amelia Acker, Data & Society, Medium, Jul 20, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It's still pretty easy to distinguish between human spammers and bots (which is why the excuses given by Facebook and Twitter ring hollow). For example, "'Joey' has tweeted more than 500 times every day for three years." Pretty clearly a bot. A bot, in fact, that was one of the army of bots influencing the U.S. election. And a bot that remained, as of the writing of the article, still online on Twitter. As I write this post, I can still link to @Joe_America1776. In the future, it will be a lot harder to detect the bots. So the social media companies' reluctance to act even in the face of obvious evidence is worrisome, and it shows me pretty clearly that we need an alternative mechanism for online interaction and discourse.

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