When bots go rogue

The internet is a big operation, and it’s always growing. With thousands of websites launching every day and search engines churning out millions of results per second, it’s easy to imagine that the web needs a lot of upkeep. Sometimes, this process is too timely and mundane for humans.

Luckily, there are internet bots to keep the internet running smoothly. The latter are software applications capable of running automated tasks on the internet, without the need of human intervention. Usually, they perform roles that prove simple and repetitive for humans, but they can also do so at much higher success rates.

The most common bots are ones that are used in web spidering. In this scenario, automated script is responsible for analysing and filing the data stored on web servers - at quicker speeds than humans. But while these bots have positive uses, is it possible that they can be used for negative purposes on the web?

There are many people in the industry who believe that bots are beginning to go rogue. Just last year, they were used to help sway opinion in the US Presidential Election. According to researchers working on the Project of Computational Propaganda, 18% of nearly 19 million tweets came from automated Twitter accounts. This rose to 27% during the debates.


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Nicholas Fearn

Nicholas is a technology journalist from the Welsh valleys. He's written for a plethora of respected media sources, including The Next Web, Techradar, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, TrustedReviews, Alphr, TechWeekEurope and Mail Online, and edits Wales's leading tech publication. When he's not geeking out over Game of Thrones, he's investigating ways tech can change our lives in many different ways.

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