Bot Battle

Researchers who mine sites like Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram for data to understand human behavior have to find ways to account for bots.

Bots spouting computer-generated content on social sites could contaminate datasets if they’re not parsed out. But tracking them is tricky. Thanks to machine learning, bots are becoming ever more sophisticated in mimicking human behavior making them hard to find even with detection software. 

“If a researcher is interested in describing public attitudes, you have to be sure that the data you’re collecting on social media is actually from people,” says social scientist Jon-Patrick Allem.


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