technology review: “Accounts that actively spread misinformation are significantly more likely to be bots,” say Shao and co. “Social bots play a key role in the spread of fake news.” via Emerging Technology
'Shad and co say bots play a particularly significant role in the spread of fake news soon after it is published. What’s more, these bots are programmed to direct their tweets at influential users. “Automated accounts are particularly active in the early spreading phases of viral claims, and tend to target influential users,” say Shao and co.
'That’s a clever strategy. Information is much more likely to become viral when it passes through highly connected nodes on a social network. So targeting these influential users is key. Humans can easily be fooled by automated accounts and can unwittingly seed the spread of fake news (some humans do this wittingly, of course).
'“These results suggest that curbing social bots may be an effective strategy for mitigating the spread of online misinformation,” say Shao and co.'
"The spread of fake news by social bots" by Chengcheng Shao, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Onur Varol, Alessandro Flammini, and Filippo Menczer here