Twitter bots used to supress political opposition
Twitter spam bots, automated programs used to send out advertising spam by creating fake accounts and tricking users into following them, are now apparently being used to drown out dissenting voices of Tibetan protesters. A similar approach was allegedly used last year when citizens in Russia were protesting Kremlin policies.
According to security reporter Brian Krebs, the bots are being used on the popular social network to suppress messages by Tibetan protesters. Legitimate messages with the hashtags #tibet and #freetibet are being constantly drowned out by short, meaningless messages also using those tags coming from dummy accounts. Krebs has reported that while he is not sure when exactly the campaign began or who is behind it, it seems to have achieved its goal as the constant influx of tweets has made it impossible to track the affected topics via hashtags.