ZDNet: Twitter takes down ‘Dracula’ botnet pushing pro-Chinese propaganda

ZDNet: Twitter takes down ‘Dracula’ botnet pushing pro-Chinese propaganda. “Social media research group Graphika said today it identified a Twitter botnet of around 3,000 bots that pushed pro-Chinese political spam, echoing official messaging released through state propaganda accounts. Graphika said it was able to identify the botnet due to a quirk shared by the vast majority of bot accounts, most of which used quotes from Bram Stoker’s Dracula book for the profile description and the first two tweets.” Dracula?

Deadline: AI centre stage in weird and wonderful take on Festival Fringe

Deadline: AI centre stage in weird and wonderful take on Festival Fringe. “The researchers instructed the ImprovBot to repetitively mine the 100-word text descriptions of every show from 2011 to 2019, amounting to more than two million words. Online audiences will be allowed to interact with ImprovBot on Twitter that created the new shows based on previous fringe listings from 1pm on Friday, August 7. The bot will use this data to devise the world’s first AI-generated event blurbs for an imagined festival of comedy, plays, musicals, and cabaret.”

The Next Web: This AI uses emoji to protect BLM protestors from facial recognition

The Next Web: This AI uses emoji to protect BLM protestors from facial recognition. “If you’ve attended any of the recent Black Lives Matter protests, there’s a good chance you’ve been caught on camera. And if your image has been shared on social media, it could end up in a facial recognition database used by police…. These concerns led Stanford Machine Learning researchers to develop a new anonymization tool: the BLMPrivacyBot.”

Business Insider: A new algorithm could catch social-media trolls as they try to influence US elections. Researchers are offering it for free.

Business Insider: A new algorithm could catch social-media trolls as they try to influence US elections. Researchers are offering it for free.. “The tool, described in a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, works by learning to recognize known, common patterns associated with troll activity and disinformation campaigns. Russian troll accounts, for instance, have posted many links to far-right websites, but the content on those sites didn’t always match the posts’ accompanying text or images. Venezuelan trolls, meanwhile, have often posted fake websites.”

The Politic: Internet Bots are Taking Over Politics—and Social Media Companies Can’t Stop Them

The Politic: Internet Bots are Taking Over Politics—and Social Media Companies Can’t Stop Them. “A recent Carnegie Mellon report found that almost half of all the tweets using this #ReopenAmerica came from bots, leading me to wonder how these bots continue to infiltrate our social media in such an unstoppable manner. So, I decided to make my own.”

Fast Company: This new Twitter bot has Asian front-line workers responding directly to COVID-19 racism

Fast Company: This new Twitter bot has Asian front-line workers responding directly to COVID-19 racism. “The First Responder Twitter Bot responds to COVID-19-inspired racist tweets with videos that aim both to educate the perpetrators and uplift Asian front-line workers. It also responds to those tweeting in support of Asians, with tips on how to be first responders to racism when you witness it in person.”

Researchers: Nearly Half Of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots (NPR)

NPR: Researchers: Nearly Half Of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots. “Nearly half of the Twitter accounts spreading messages on the social media platform about the coronavirus pandemic are likely bots, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said Wednesday. Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized robots than humans.”

EurekAlert: Who’s a bot and who’s not

EurekAlert: Who’s a bot and who’s not. “A new study in Frontiers in Physics has revealed the presence of short-term behavioral trends in humans that are absent in social media bots, providing an example of a ‘human signature’ on social media which could be leveraged to develop more sophisticated bot detection strategies. The research is the first study of its kind to apply user behavior over a social media session to the problem of bot detection.”

The Next Web: It’s 2020 — so you may as well learn to pitch from a Twitter bot

The Next Web: It’s 2020 — so you may as well learn to pitch from a Twitter bot. “Originality isn’t easy. It can be hard to see the pay-off from the extra effort that’s required to achieve it, so it’s not surprising that we tend to find ourselves taking the ‘easy way out’ and opting for the lowest common denominator. But most of us also know what it’s like to be at the receiving end of people’s lack of creativity. That’s why the Infinite Conference — a Twitter created by Aaron Z. Best that generates fake sessions for a never ending tech conference — hits so close to home.”

TechCrunch: Twitter rewrites Developer Policy to better support academic research and use of ‘good’ bots

TechCrunch: Twitter rewrites Developer Policy to better support academic research and use of ‘good’ bots. “Twitter today updated its Developer Policy to clarify rules around data usage, including in academic research, as well as its position on bots, among other things. The policy has also been entirely rewritten in an effort to simplify the language used and make it more conversational, Twitter says. The new policy has been shortened from eight sections to four, and the accompanying Twitter Developer Agreement has been updated to align with the Policy changes, as well.”

BBC: Study finds quarter of climate change tweets from bots

BBC: Study finds quarter of climate change tweets from bots. “A study by researchers at Brown University has found a quarter of posts about climate change on Twitter were written by bots. Bots are computer programs that can masquerade as humans to post or send messages on social media. Researchers discovered tweets posted by bots created the impression there was a high level of climate change denial.”

The Atlantic: Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It

The Atlantic: Bots Are Destroying Political Discourse As We Know It. “Presidential-campaign season is officially, officially, upon us now, which means it’s time to confront the weird and insidious ways in which technology is warping politics. One of the biggest threats on the horizon: Artificial personas are coming, and they’re poised to take over political debate. The risk arises from two separate threads coming together: artificial-intelligence-driven text generation and social-media chatbots. These computer-generated ‘people’ will drown out actual human discussions on the internet.”