We often read about groups of international Twitter bots and trolls after they’ve been reported and suspended from the platform. This is particularly true when the accounts are participating in overt, state-backed activity. It’s easy for real users to miss the large, international scope of Twitter Bots. Several hundred or even 1,000 accounts seem minuscule on a platform with (very) roughly 400 million users globally.
To get a better picture of the vast, international botnets, all we need to do is look at the low-level model bots. Model bots are relatively easy to spot. They are formatted similarly and many use the same models. American users see these accounts often. And their stated locations are from all over the United States.
International Model Bots
But model bots are not relegated to the United States. On the contrary, they are used in the same fashion internationally. Here’s one of the models commonly seen on American bot accounts, but on an Arabic bot account.
Here are some French-speaking model bots.
And here they are, Canadian style.
And some from the UK, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, and Nigeria.
Make no mistake. These model bots are neither random nor harmless. There is a systematic, international effort to create these accounts, to gear them toward specific countries, and to individualize them to dupe real users. Even though these are low-level accounts, some of them are political and some are scammers. Some are both. This is true across all of these accounts, internationally. And there are far too many of them.
Written by Virginia Murr
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