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Elon Musk wants to get rid of Twitter spam bots. What are they?

Elon Musk is set to take charge of Twitter headquarters at San Francisco. One of the things that irked him on the social media platform is spam bots, which he promised to stamp out. Let us know more

spams | Twitter

Bhaswar Kumar  |  New Delhi 

After an initial hiccup -- marked by intense media glare-- the world’s richest man known for his penchant for controversy, has finally locked the deal to purchase for about $44 billion.

The social media users -- and the as a company too-- are waiting with bated breath for the change of guard, and also the changes which will bring with him.

CEO Parag Agarwal may be a worried man now. And so are those floating spam bots. While he was executing the takeover, the Tesla and SpaceX chief had tweeted that he would defeat the spam bots on Twitter or 'die trying'.

Musk has called spam bots the “single most annoying problem” on the social media platform.But, why have these bots earned Musk's ire?

Have you seen Twitter accounts claiming that they have found a cure for Covid-19? Or, perhaps touting a get-rich-quick scheme powered by cryptocurrencies? Then you've possibly come across Twitter bots. These bots are used for trolling and spreading misinformation. The purpose behind their use can range from influencing national elections to spreading malware.

Twitter bots have earned favour with scammers as a tool that can infiltrate social media accounts and potentially even a user's personal information.

Norton, the maker of one of the most popular anti-virus and anti-malware softwares, has a very detailed explanation on bots, which are also known as zombies. Twitter bot is the name given to an automated Twitter account that is controlled by bot software.

A bot is programmed to perform tasks that can resemble those of human Twitter users, from liking tweets to following other users. However, a bot’s purpose is to tweet and retweet content in pursuit of specific goals, and that too on a large scale.

However, one such account is not enough to achieve the intended goals. In truth, it takes a much larger effort. Therefore, Twitter bots are usually found to be a part of a botnet.

CA botnet is a large network of automated accounts. The bots in a botnet work in concert to appear legitimate. They like and follow each other, and push each other's content, as if they were real human Twitter users.

However, whether or not a bot is malicious depends upon who is deploying it and for what purpose.

For example, cybercriminals have made use of Twitter bots to simultaneously spread content containing malware to large groups of people on Twitter.

But, Twitter bots can also be used for benign purposes like broadcasting information and warnings about weather emergencies in real time.

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First Published: Tue, May 03 2022. 07:00 IST