A Twitterbot is a program used to produce automated posts on the Twitter microblogging service, or to automatically follow Twitter users. Twitterbots come in various forms. For example, many serve as spam, enticing clicks on promotional links. Others post @replies or automatically "retweet" in response to tweets that include a certain word or phrase. These automatic tweets are often seen as fun or silly. Some Twitter users even program Twitterbots to assist themselves with scheduling or reminders.
Features of a Twitterbot
It is sometimes desirable to identify when a Twitter account is controlled by a bot. In a 2012 paper, Chu et al. propose the following criteria that indicate that an account may be a bot (they were designing an automated system):
- "Periodic and regular timing" of tweets;
- Whether the tweet content contains known spam; and
- The ratio of tweets from mobile versus desktop, as compared to an average human Twitter user.
Examples of Twitterbots
There are many different types of Twitterbots and their purposes vary from one to another. Some bots may tweet helpful material such as @EarthquakesSF (description below). In total, Twitterbots are estimated to create approximately 24% of tweets that are on Twitter. Here are examples of some of the Twitterbots and how they interact with users on Twitter.
@factbot1 was created by Eric Drass to illustrate what he believed to be a prevalent problem: that of people on the internet believing unsupported facts which accompany pictures.
@chatmundo is an AI conversational Twitter bot based on Program O which responds to @chatmundo mentions.
@Betelgeuse_3 sends at-replies in response to tweets that include the phrase, "Beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetlejuice." The tweets are sent in the voice of the lead character from the Beetlejuice film.
@StealthMountain sends auto-reply tweets of "I think you mean 'sneak peek'" in response to any tweets that include the term "sneak peak."
@KookyScrit sends auto-reply tweets correcting misspellings of the word "weird."
@everyword has tweeted every word of the English language. It started in 2008 and tweeted every thirty minutes until 2014.
@choose_this sends at-replies to Twitter users who tweet about making a choice between a wide variety of things 
@CongressEdits and @parliamentedits posts whenever someone makes edits to Wikipedia from the US Congress and UK Parliament IP addresses, respectively.
@FartForCongress replaces variants of the word "vote" with the equivalent form of the word "fart" in tweets from members of the US Congress.
@StupidCounter Has been tweeting consecutive numbers in word form every two minutes since April 2009
@JstBelowTweetz Has Been Tweeting "The Person Below" Tweets Repeatedly At Random Times. The Average Amount Sent In A Day Is Said To Be 10.
@wiseman_quoting responds to news feed with an appropriate and witty quote.
- Jason Kincaid (January 22, 2010). "All Your Twitter Bot Needs Is Love". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
- Kashmir Hill (August 9, 2012). "The Invasion of the Twitter Bots". Forbes. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- Dubbin, Rob. "The Rise of Twitter Bots". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Martin Bryant (August 11, 2009). "12 weird and wonderful Twitter Retweet Bots". TNW. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
- Christine Erickson (July 22, 2012). "Don't Block These 10 Hilarious Twitter Bots". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- David Daw (October 23, 2011). "10 Twitter Bot Services to Simplify Your Life". PCWorld. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
- Chu, Zi; Gianvecchio, Steven; Wang, Haining; Jajodia, Sushil (2012). "Detecting Automation of Twitter Accounts: Are You a Human, Bot, or Cyborg?". IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing (IEEE) 9 (6). doi:10.1109/TDSC.2012.75. ISSN 1545-5971. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Cashmore, Pete. "Twitter Zombies: 24% of Tweets Created by Bots". Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- Farrier, John. "Twitter Bot Pranks Gullible People with Hilariously Fake Facts". NeatoCMS. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Twitter Chatbot by Program O". Program O. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- Adrian Chen (23 February 2012). "How I Found the Human Being Behind Horse_ebooks, The Internet’s Favorite Spambot". Gawker. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- "100 Best Earthquake Twitter Bots".
- "Rise of the Twitterbot: A Modern Language App for Good and Evil". Listen & Learn. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Protalinski, Emil. Next Web, Inc. "Dear Assistant: A Twitter bot that uses Wolfram Alpha to answer your burning questions". Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Gallagher, Brenden. "The 25 Most Ridiculous Twitterbots". ComplexTech. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- Mosendz, Polly. "Congressional IP Address Blocked from Making Edits to Wikipedia". Retrieved 1 August 2014.