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Twitter is testing a new feature that will give the good kind of bots some due recognition.
Bots have become a particularly hot topic in recent years, but mainly for negative reasons. We’ve all seen their increased use to share propaganda to sway democratic processes and spread disinformation around things like COVID-19 vaccines.
However, despite their image problem, bots can be an important tool for good.
Some bots share critical information around things like severe weather, natural disasters, active shooters, and other emergencies. Others can be educational and provide facts or dig up historical events and artifacts to remind us of the past as we’re browsing on our modern devices.
On Thursday, Twitter announced that it’s testing a new label to let users know the account is using automated but legitimate content.
Twitter says the new feature is based on research from users that found they want more context about non-human accounts.
A study by Carnegie Mellon University last year found that almost half of Twitter accounts tweeting about the coronavirus pandemic were likely automated accounts. Twitter says it will continue to remove fake accounts that break its rules.
The move could be likened to Twitter’s verified accounts scheme that puts a little blue tick mark next to a user’s name to show others that it belongs to the person in question and isn’t a fake, often created for scam purposes.
However, unlike Twitter’s verified accounts scheme that provides no guarantees about the content of a user’s tweets, the social network is taking a bit of a gamble that tweets from a ‘good’ bot account will remain accurate.
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