Last June, we came back to a study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Focused on Twitter, it has analyzed more than 200 million publications devoted to the coronavirus pandemic. The finding was then final since 45 % of accounts that posted tweets on the subject were controlled by bots. Bots are in fact great vectors for the dissemination of disinformation. They notably ensured the promotion of far-fetched theories such as that claiming that American hospitals have been filled with wax dummies to make it look like the epidemic was strong.
A few months later, research carried out by scientists from theThe University of Sydney refutes these findings. They claim that on Twitter, bots only play a minor role in spreading disinformation compared to human users.
Large social networks must review their copy
In detail, the researchers focused on 53,000 randomly selected social network accounts. On this basis, they monitored the interactions of the latter with more than 20 million publications related to vaccines between 2017 and 2019. They then found that exposure to this type of content was quite infrequent and that the influence of robots was even less so.
So, for two years the average user was exposed to 757 vaccine-related tweets, so 27 were critical. Overall, 36.7% of these internet users posted or retweeted vaccine content, 4.5% of the total posted anti-vaccine tweets, of which only 2.1% came from a bot.
Far from being trivial, these results are a game-changer. The authors believe that the policy that has been chosen by social networks to eliminate bots is not necessarily the most effective. To protect Internet users from fake news, the giants of the web would therefore be inspired to invest in user awareness and education on the subject.