Publication Date: October 2018
Research and Editorial Team: Donara Barojan

A bot is an automated social media account run by an algorithm. An easy way to tell if an account is not a bot is to check if its tweets are original or were copied from another user.

A troll, on the other side, is a real person, who “intentionally initiates online conflict or offends other users to distract and sow divisions by posting inflammatory or off-topic posts in an online community or a social network. Their goal is to provoke others into an emotional response and derail discussions.” While a troll is not a bot, a bot can be used for trolling.

A botnet is a network of bots managed by an individual of group with the purpose of putting some hashtag or keyword in the trending section, or making a user seem more popular.

There are ways to identify two or more accounts as part of a botnet: same pattern of speech, identical posts, same handle (username) pattern, similar date of creation, identical activity, same location.

Most bots are not political but commercial. Not all Russian bots are affiliated with the Russian government.

Tags: Social media

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