A new survey shows most Americans cannot tell social media bots from real humans. According to Pew Research Center, fewer than one-in-five admit knowing much about bots at all, but most everyone agrees they're bad.
Bots are generally automated, or robotic accounts blamed largely for the spread of fake news across social media. But they can be used for both good and evil.
“Bots can be used maliciously to spread false news or even bully people online, but they can also be used for sales and customer service,”says Kristy Gillentine, vice president of public engagement at Drive West Communications.
Most bots are used to incite anger, whether it's on social media, or even the comment section of an online news story.
“There are so many bots out there on Twitter and Instagram especially,”says Gillentine. “These conversations are supposed to be two-way,so if an account is doing more broadcasting than it is actually communicating, then that's a good way to tell.”
Gillentine says look for repetitive messages, click on the messenger's handle to see if they say the same thing on multiple platforms.