Bot Checking: It’s Not Easy, But Here’s Some Advice From Twitter Users

The “Release the Memo” hashtag has been suppressed by Twitter because Twitter suspects the topic is being artificially amplified by Russian-linked propaganda bots.

One of the sources used as a bot checker is “Hamilton 68,” a website maintained by The Alliance for Securing Democracy, which claims to have created an algorithm based on 600 accounts–which it will not identify—that seem to manipulate data and promote propaganda and disinformation.

Media Bias Fact Check gives the Alliance for Securing Democracy a very good rating, but Julian Assange tweeted today that Hamilton 68 is biased and is itself a source of propaganda.

Based on Hamilton 68’s secretive methodology as explained on their website, it does seem as though it’s sort of a “trust us, we know what we’re doing” approach to its data analysis.

Twitter also began sending out emails warning users they may have been affected by disinformation:

The problem is that it is difficult to recognize a disinformation bot. Here are some tips from the Twitter account The Botline:

Twitter users seem enthusiastic about Botcheckme, but there are reports by some that they have checked their own accounts and the service has said they are themselves a bot, when they are in fact humans. Others say they will check on one day and they’re not classified as a bot–then the next day they are.

Botometer also gives likelihood of bot-like characteristics and allows you to check your followers.

A few users recommended makeadverbsgreatagain, but I personally did not find it helpful.

So… I think the best advice is the one given by Botline—learn to recognize the signs and then employ these other services realizing they are imperfect.

This does not solve the issue of what is really trending however–Twitter is able to dismiss a trending hashtag at will–with an awful lot of conservative and centrist voices right now feeling a bias against their ability to speak freely under Twitter’s current rules. Which brings us back to “Release the Memo”–my opinion–when Wikileaks offers a one million dollar reward, yeah, the trending hashtag is legit.

“Release the Memo” Firsthand Reports; Wikileaks Offers $1million Reward