A census of leading Italian politicians' Twitter followings finds a horde of zombies and bots


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/20/avanti-zombii.html


None of this surprises me. I believe Mike Cernovich and other alt-right personalities have been caught doing the same thing to raise their follower count up despite the blatant purchasing of bot followers. This is something I really wish Twitter developers would police better since it produces a false belief about certain movements or subcultures being larger than they are or even more homogeneous than they are.


Proud owner of a zombie Twitter account here. I set it up a couple of years ago so I could check CTA transit delays, but found Twitter otherwise uninteresting, so I don’t use my account to “engage” (e.g. yelling, @-ing, tweetstorming) they way I imagine they’d like me to.

I never followed any Italian politicians though.

edit: I did follow that one Russian deep-sea fisherman guy who posts horrifying pictures of the things they catch. I should check in on that feed sometime…


I wouldn’t count on either Twitter or Facebook to police things like this better. If anything has become clear in the months since November 2016 it’s that they feel that doing so would have a negative impact on their shareholders and executives.


Probably describes most of mine, too. :confused:


No doubt that Twitter’s board will not touch bots for the same reason Linden Lab doesn’t touch its own bots: numbers make people think there’s a party. It works on Twitter better since you just have text and video clips. You don’t have to do much to make a convincing bot seem like a person on Twitter. The bonus is that it makes advertisers also think there’s people to market their junk to so they get more eye balls and more ad dollars with little effort thanks to inflated numbers via bot wranglers. I swear someone should write a cyberpunk novel covering a scam that deals with bot wrangling, it would be hilarious.


perhaps they’re counting on all those zombies and bots on paying those 30year bonds?

Italy ranked 23 in population has the worlds third largest bond market.
Right now the average age is around 44 years and by 2035 one third of the country will be over 65,
which means that most people will be working to pay those pensions - forget the bonds.
(And given they are averse to immigration they are not likely to grow out of it.)


Did anybody look at the chart? The number of bots is really small, but we’re all fretting over bots.

Except the one guy who just came to say Social Security is bankrupt. There’s always the one guy. The gun guy should show up soon, too.


Imagine requiring proof of widespread bot activity before doubting the authenticity of Twitter discourse.


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