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A Twitterbot is a program used to produce automated posts on the Twitter microblogging service, or to automatically follow Twitter users.[1][2] Twitterbots come in various forms. For example, many serve as spam, enticing clicks on promotional links.[3] Others post @replies or automatically "retweet"[4] in response to tweets that include a certain word or phrase. These automatic tweets are often seen as fun or silly.[4][5] Some Twitter users even program Twitterbots to assist themselves with scheduling or reminders.[6]

Features of a Twitterbot[edit]

It is sometimes desirable to identify when a Twitter account is controlled by a bot. In a 2012 paper,[7] 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[edit]

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.[8] 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.[9]

@chatmundo is an AI conversational Twitter bot based on Program O which responds to @chatmundo mentions.[10]

@WBEZbot Tweets the current programming on NPR's Chicago affiliate station, WBEZ.

@Horse_ebooks is a commercial Twitter bot that has gained a following among people who find its tweets poetic.[11]

@EarthquakesSF tweets about earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area as they happen using real-time seismographic information from the USGS.[12]

@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.[5]

@RedScareBot tweets in the persona of Joseph McCarthy in response to Twitter posts mentioning "socialist," "communist," or "communism."[5]

@StealthMountain sends auto-reply tweets of "I think you mean 'sneak peek'" in response to any tweets that include the term "sneak peak."[citation needed]

@KookyScrit sends auto-reply tweets correcting misspellings of the word "weird."[13]

@everyword has tweeted every word of the English language. It started in 2008 and tweeted every thirty minutes until 2014.[3]

@DearAssistant sends auto-reply tweets responding to complex queries in simple English by utilizing Wolfram Alpha.[14]

@BotTellMe is much like @DearAssistant but is written in Python and uses DuckDuckGo for better search results for questions Wolfram Alpha cannot answer.

@choose_this sends at-replies to Twitter users who tweet about making a choice between a wide variety of things [15]

@CongressEdits and @parliamentedits posts whenever someone makes edits to Wikipedia from the US Congress and UK Parliament IP addresses, respectively.[16]

@FartForCongress replaces variants of the word "vote" with the equivalent form of the word "fart" in tweets from members of the US Congress.[citation needed]

@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.

@LetKanyeFinish completes a tweeted sentence in the style of Kanye West.


  1. ^ Jason Kincaid (January 22, 2010). "All Your Twitter Bot Needs Is Love". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  2. ^ Kashmir Hill (August 9, 2012). "The Invasion of the Twitter Bots". Forbes. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Dubbin, Rob. "The Rise of Twitter Bots". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Martin Bryant (August 11, 2009). "12 weird and wonderful Twitter Retweet Bots". TNW. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Christine Erickson (July 22, 2012). "Don't Block These 10 Hilarious Twitter Bots". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ David Daw (October 23, 2011). "10 Twitter Bot Services to Simplify Your Life". PCWorld. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Cashmore, Pete. "Twitter Zombies: 24% of Tweets Created by Bots". Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Farrier, John. "Twitter Bot Pranks Gullible People with Hilariously Fake Facts". NeatoCMS. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Twitter Chatbot by Program O". Program O. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  11. ^ Adrian Chen (23 February 2012). "How I Found the Human Being Behind Horse_ebooks, The Internet’s Favorite Spambot". Gawker. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  12. ^ "100 Best Earthquake Twitter Bots". 
  13. ^ "Rise of the Twitterbot: A Modern Language App for Good and Evil". Listen & Learn. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Protalinski, Emil. Next Web, Inc. "Dear Assistant: A Twitter bot that uses Wolfram Alpha to answer your burning questions". Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  15. ^ Gallagher, Brenden. "The 25 Most Ridiculous Twitterbots". ComplexTech. Retrieved 16 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Mosendz, Polly. "Congressional IP Address Blocked from Making Edits to Wikipedia". Retrieved 1 August 2014.