The Battle Against Bots Today, an estimated 48 million active Twitter users are bots- about 15% of all users on Twitter. Many of these accounts are harmless, such as the Big Ben account, which tweets “BONG” hourly. Unfortunately, most accounts aren’t quite so innocent. Millions are designed after a real person, with an almost-identical username and similar tweets, but are instead used to follow, share, and like the tweets of clients who have purchased “followers.
” These bots are used to draw attention to people and political movements. This identity theft damages the real person’s reputation by affiliating them with issues and companies they may not personally endorse, as well as emphasizes the “popularity” of an account with thousands of fake followers. According to New York Times article “The Follower Factory,” Devumi, an American company that sells bots, provided over 200 million followers using 3.5 million accounts on Twitter to its customers. While most of these accounts are obviously fake, with a random string of numbers and letters for usernames, at least 50 thousand are modelled after real people. The people targeted for their identity range from teenagers to college graduates to suburban moms.
We need to eliminate the formation and exploitation of bots before there are too many to count. I propose limiting a person to owning a single account, which they must verify with the social media website by completing a detailed survey on their life that includes their name, age, birthday, address, social security number, and other personal details such as their siblings and pets, which will be submitted along with a copy of their birth certificate. Any users who wish to join will first apply to the platform and then have their name and identity checked against the millions of other users to make sure they don’t have more than one account. While my proposal may seem extreme, it is necessary to ensure that no one’s identity will be stolen. One may argue that everyone’s information is too hard to sift through and verify as correct, but the government has already gathered so many details on everyone through their phone camera that it won’t be as difficult as it may appear. Besides, the bots would be otherwise impossible to detect and do a better job at concealing themselves once they discover the government crackdown. Not only will my idea get rid of bots, but it will remove inactive users and multiple accounts made by the same person that serve no purpose and have fallen into disuse. This will free up storage for the active accounts and increase internet speed.
The buying of bots can sway politics, jeopardize careers, and unfairly promote companies or actors. My solution not only deals with the bots but removes inactive accounts. A drastic change is needed to stop this black market before it becomes a pervasive force in social media, unable to be eradicated, and my proposition seems like the optimum option.