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Combatting Bots On Social Media – The Neverending Battleground

Opening Thoughts

If you’re somebody who likes to browse the socials of the morning or during your downtime, you’ll need no explanation about how problematic spam and bot accounts have become. It feels like there’s been a rise in these annoying messages, whether they’re littering the comments section on popular YouTube videos, blue tick scams on Twitter, or via personal messages on Facebook, it’s a boundless task trying to keep these bots at bay, and it’s a problem that’s been addressed multiple times by Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerburg in their bird to clean up their sites.

Many mutual concerns exist across the social media spectrum. Although Musk and Zuckerburg might have thrown some verbal shots about a ridiculous BJJ match in the Rome Colosseum, they have a mutual disdain for bots and continually look for ways to remove them from their sites. Still, it is proving to be an uphill struggle.

Power To The People

Although there’s a wide range of tools and techniques that social media companies use to try and remove bots, they only tend to get temporary relief before new ones pop up that are immune to the previous techniques used to banish them from the site. One of the most effective ways is for people to report the bots so they come to the attention of the site regulators more quickly – and this people power is driving all sorts of change in social media.

Blockchain technology and decentralized networks are a solid bedrock for those looking to send tips to users on X. Elon Musk has made no secret of his interest in Bitcoin. Now that users can tip using digital assets, the peer-to-peer technology can facilitate direct transactions – just as it does as a legal currency in El Salvador or how the mechanics of a casino Bitcoin enthusiasts will use to play classic games like roulette or poker.

The power of cutting out the middle man and allowing gamblers to play these games and withdraw and deposit their funds instantly without involving their bank is revolutionary. Ideally, it’s this mentality that social media bosses want, and for people to take an active role in reporting bots and spam so they can deal with them as directly and quickly as possible.

Why Are Bots Ubiquitous?

While bots might annoy you and me, it’s not as black and white for social media CEOs. Yes, the ones that create spam or are designed for illicit purposes must be removed from the site, but the vast majority of bots drive a lot of the traffic on the website and can be relatively harmless. Overall, they provide more positives than negatives, so blanketing them all for the sake of a few that cause issues would be counterproductive. However, as AI technology grows, bots become a more illicit tool for various nefarious purposes, mostly scams – which need monitoring.

Effective Measures To Curb Bots

Although AI could drive up the activity of bots, they could also be programmed to detect them more quickly and dispatch them off the site. Some analysts have been concerned about the rise of AI for a number of years, but it’s only really been since last November when the technology started to grab the world’s attention.

The issue that Meta, Instagram, and YouTube all face is that their service is so vast. When a site has billions of users and a few hundred staff, at most, monitoring bot activity and deleting accounts, some will inevitably slip through the net. Another idea that Musk had was for people to pay a fixed amount of $1 per month per X account.

Although some might have initially rolled their eyes at this plan, and the idea of paying for social media is highly controversial, data analysts are split about whether it would work. Considering that no website currently charges anybody for usage, getting people to agree to the fee would probably be challenging despite the minimal figure. If bad actors are determined, they’ll see the $1 as an investment in their illicit activity rather than a detriment.

Conclusion

If bots do a lot more harm than good on social media, then there might be more of a collective strategy to purge them off the internet. Ultimately, there won’t be a cross-industry cull for now if they are driving up usage on these sites and allowing social media companies to inflate usage figures and video views. More views and numbers go to higher advertising revenues, so eliminating them all would be counterproductive.

While it is a growing problem, especially on X and YouTube, it will have to hit a real crisis point for it to become top of the agenda, and it doesn’t look as though it will; despite how annoying they can be, they’re inconsequential to the overall running of these enormous sites.

About the author

Jack Reuben Fletcher

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