‘Who takes social media seriously?’ There is no doubt that this statement has become obsolete. It is not true anymore because people DO take social media seriously. Not only people but states, politicians, and conspiracists also take it seriously.
Researchers say that they have found an undercover Facebook bot farm that creates bot accounts to shape public opinion during the US election heat in 2020.
Paul Bischoff from a British cybersecurity company says that they found around 13,775 unique accounts that are bots. Each account posts 15 times a month on average, creating a whopping 50 thousand posts each week.
When a deep study was made regarding those accounts, they appeared to have legit profile pictures and diverse friend lists that were allegedly based on other bots. Bischoff further added that those bot accounts had been used to manipulate the political opinion of the general public. No one knows there is a virtual bot behind those accounts created by Selenium, a software that is designed to automate web testing.
WHAT THESE BOTS ‘POST’ ABOUT?
Interestingly, the most used keyword in their posts was ‘Trump’. It was followed by ‘Biden’ and then ‘Covid’. Remember, have you ever come across a weird guy who gives illogical statements on every trending and hot news? Did you think for a while, “How on Earth can one be so dumb?’ Now you got who it was? It clearly shows that someone wants to manipulate what the public thinks about governments, politics, and the pandemic.
Among the most discussed topics were also California wildfires, protests in Belarus, and US border issues. Other topics included everything that was controversial and had greyish facts and figures.
Upon further research, it was found that these ‘bots’ have joined specific Facebook groups where they share their ‘so-called opinion’. Those ‘opinions’ are then discussed and commented on by legitimate users. Besides being extremely mysterious, dangerous, and interesting, it makes us feel too pity for those who take out time to reply to every stupid post on their walls.
Researchers claim that these accounts had mails on domains with [.ru] extensions. This means that these accounts are run from Russia, however, it would be a mere guess in the dark to predict who is behind this activity.
Bischoff says that Bob Diachenko, who was an active member of the research team, brought this issue to the attention of the Facebook technical team. As for now, Facebook has not given any satisfactory response to the issue.
It is not that Facebook is easy meat for these cybercriminals. Facebook is always up to get rid of manipulative and harmful content from its platform. In the last month alone, they have permanently banned 1,565 suspicious Facebook accounts, 141 Instagram Accounts, 724 pages, and 63 harmful groups.
Researchers expect that Facebook will work with them hands-in-hands to eliminate manipulative accounts that are synonyms to cybercriminals.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO?
The only thing you can do is – not to work your fingers to the bone to reply to stupid posts on social media. That could come from one of 14,000 bots out there.