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Protection Against Twitter Bots

NortonLifeLock Research Group, the R&D division of antivirus vendor NortonLifeLock, has released a browser extension called BotSight that is designed to detect Twitter Bots in real time. BotSight is intended to highlight the prevalence of bots and disinformation campaigns within users’ feeds, as the spread of pandemic-related misinformation reaches a veritable fever pitch. Recent studies suggest that certain influential social media accounts are promoting false cures and conspiracy theories. One French account with over a million followers shared an article implying that COVID-19 was artificially created, while a video describing the coronavirus as a “man-made poison” racked up more than 3 million views on YouTube and over 10 million likes, shares, and comments on Facebook. At least a portion of the disinformation dissemination is attributable to bots, which either launch posts that validate trends or latch onto feeds to sow discord. It is these bots that BotSight aims to spotlight — the NortonLifeResearchGroup says it found the percentage of bot-originated tweets was as high as 20% when viewing trending topics like “#covid19”.

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Alastair Tempest

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