It won’t surprise any of you to learn that Twitter is becoming just a little bit overrun by bots.
That’s according to a new study released by the University of Southern California and Indiana University that found 4.8 million non-human users populate the Twitterscape.
The two institutions worked together to come up with a system that used over 1,000 measures to weed out the bots. By doing so, the universities discovered that 9-15% of the 319 million active Twitter accounts are in fact bots.
To define them generally, bots are a piece of software that can perform a digital task without human intervention and it’s through this phrasing that you can work out how certain people use them maliciously.
Bots on Twitter (Twitterbots) differ slightly and take on a range of different forms. After all, they aren’t all simply those anonymous eggs that randomly like your latest lunch Tweet.
Twitterbots can actually be really useful, especially when utilised by companies to send automated responses to certain questions.
Related: What are bots?
Twitter’s last estimate on the number of bots on the platform back in 2014 suggested just 8.5% of users are bots. That means there’s been a huge escalation or Twitter really is losing users at a rate of knots.
Also, given that the figure of 15% brought to the table by the researchers is a “conservative estimate”, bots could be an even bigger part of Twitter than ever before.
Watch: The best smartphones right now
Does Twitter have a problem with bots? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.