Trump has “yuge” following on Twitter, and perhaps the most outspoken government official ever in the history of the United States. Adding that he’s also the President of the United States, his following is sincerely important to everyone. Millions of fans, detractors and just people interested in him use his twitter to listen to his communications. However, there’s a small issue: about half of his followers aren’t even real.
In fact, Trump has a huge bot army that starts with a guy under the name MicroChip: he’s known as the Trumpbot overlord, and using what some people believe to be tens of thousands of fake accounts he can get the alt-right tweeting as fast as possible. Some of his followers are real, but many of them seem to be linked bots.
According to the New York Times, these bots are often used to overwhelm the truth and killed pro-clinton messages: “An automated army of pro-Donald J. Trump chatbots overwhelmed similar programs supporting Hillary Clinton five to one in the days leading up to the presidential election, according to a report published Thursday by researchers at Oxford University. ”
“The chatbots — basic software programs with a bit of artificial intelligence and rudimentary communication skills — would send messages on Twitter based on a topic, usually defined on the social network by a word preceded by a hashtag symbol, like #Clinton.”
Many of the bots are linked to Russian hacker groups: former FBI agent Clint Watts testified to the Senate Intelligence committee and described how Russians used armies of Twitter bots to spread fake news using accounts that seem to be Midwestern swing-voter Republicans.
“So that way whenever you’re trying to socially engineer them and convince them that the information is true, it’s much more simple because you see somebody and they look exactly like you, even down to the pictures,” Watts told the panel, which is investigating Russia’s role in interfering in the U.S. elections.
“If you went online today, you could see these accounts — either bots or actual personas somewhere — that are trying to connect with the administration. They might broadcast stories and then follow up with another tweet that tries to gain the president’s attention, or they’ll try and answer the tweets that the president puts out,” Watts says.