Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have determined that nearly half of all Twitter accounts spreading messages about the Covid-19 pandemic are likely bots.
The team analyzed more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January, and found about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerized bots than humans.
In addition, the researchers identified more than 100 false narratives about the novel coronavirus that bot-controlled accounts are spreading on the platform.
The researchers used a bot-hunter tool to flag accounts that post messages more often than is humanly possible, or which claim to be in multiple countries within a period of a few hours.
Said Carnegie Mellon researcher Kathleen Carley, "We're seeing up to two times as much bot activity as we'd predicted based on previous natural disasters, crises, and elections."
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