Bots produce 25% of messages about climate change on Twitter: Study

The study suggests that online conversations about climate change are often distorted due to the activities of the bots

Bots may actually be writing messages that deny the effects of global warming says a new study by researchers from Brown University. According to the study, nearly 25 percent of tweets regarding climate change were generated by automated accounts.

Bots are non-personal or automated accounts that post content to social media platforms. While the findings of the study are yet to be published, The Guardian newspaper reported them after seeing the draft study.

Over 6.5 million tweets analysed

Representational Picture Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The results suggest that online conversations about climate change are often distorted due to the activities of the bots. According to a report in the BBC on Saturday, the research team at Brown University analysed 6.5 million tweets from around the time US President Donald Trump revealed his intention to remove the US from the Paris climate accord in 2017.

The analysis showed a quarter of tweets on climate change were likely posted by bots. "These findings suggest a substantial impact of mechanized bots in amplifying denials messages about climate change, including support for Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement," stated the draft study, according to The Guardian.

People responsible could not be identified

The study could not identify the people responsible for setting up the bots that were trained to post-climate denial messages on Twitter. For the study, the researchers used a tool from Indiana University called Botometer, which uses an algorithm to assign a score to Twitter accounts based upon the likelihood they are automated. The researchers found that only five percent of tweets advocating action to protect the environment were produced by bots.

(With inputs from agencies)