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The problem with social media has never been about bots. It’s always been about business models

Quartz – “Researchers have found that as many as 15% of Twitter accounts are bots, which drive two-thirds of the links on the site. But not all bots are bad. There are bots that make the internet more beautiful, more useful, even kinder. Here at Quartz, we have a whole department dedicated to making informative newsbots. The issue is not that automated accounts exist; it’s that they can be—and have been—weaponized.

“In the run-up to the 2018 midterms, bots were used to disenfranchise voters, harass activists, and attack journalists,” says Sam Woolley, the director of the digital lab at the Institute for the Future. “But at a fundamental level, Facebook and Twitter are dis-incentivized from doing anything about it.” The problem with social media always comes back to business models. Platforms have never had an incentive to punish accounts that worsen the experience for so many of their users; it’s just that—until recently—they didn’t have a strong enough incentive to eradicate the bad behavior either…”

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