Bots have played a vital role in shaping the current internet system. Whether it’s Facebook’s fake news problem during US Presidential Elections or Twitter’s shocking number of active bot accounts, bots have somehow defined the spread of news over social media.
Statistics show that during the past 5 years, bots have outnumbered humans 4 times on the internet.
Bot to Human Ratio Since 2012
2012 — 51 : 49
2013 — 61.5 : 38.5
2014 — 56 : 44
2015 — 48.5 : 51.5
2016 — 51.8 : 48.2
Good Bots Vs Bad Bots
“Good bots” vs “Bad bots” is a hot debate on the internet. Good bots are used to test websites to make search experiences better for humans. However, bad bots are more threatening as they play the most vital role in spreading fake news.
Bad bots can be easily programmed to perform a simple task in a loop. For example, you can program a bot to share content on social media or even produce content and post it as many times as you want.
The bad news is bad bots have outnumbered good bots 4 out of 5 times during the past 5 years.
Good To Bad Bot Ratio
2012 — 20 : 31
2013 — 31 : 30.5
2014 — 27 : 29
2015 — 19.5 : 29
2016 — 22.9 : 28.9
Why Have Bad Bots Increased
The reason behind such a huge number of non-human traffic on the internet is easier access to websites. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have made it easier for users to sign up. This has lowered the barrier and made the task of deploying bots to spread and create fake news a lot simpler.
However, Snapchat deals better with the bot problem. Accounts aren’t open to everyone and most of the posts diminish after 24 hours. So it isn’t easier to spam news on Snapchat through bots.
Authenticity Of Online Polls
Results of online polls have very low reliability as they have no real verification process. Chief Products and Security Officer of Distil Networks, a company that detects and mitigates bots, says about online polls:
Online polls have almost no verification to an individual. If you go in an online survey, there’s not an individualized SSN, or license. They look at people based on cookies or IP addresses that can easily be mimicked through bots by bad actors.