A study of Twitter users’ behavior suggests some of the social media giants’ algorithms are being abused by people seeking access to political officials.
In a new paper, researchers found some users were using Twitter to post links to news stories, while others used it to promote their own websites.
It was unclear whether these individuals used those links to vote.
In one instance, the researchers said, a user using Twitter linked to a news story about the Canadian Forces service’s decision to end the gender pay gap, which led to an outpouring of public outrage.
It wasn’t clear whether this user was using that link to vote, and Twitter didn’t respond to questions about whether the site would take steps to block those types of bots.
“Twitter has the ability to filter out these kinds of bots, but that’s a matter of policy, not of technology,” said the paper’s lead author, University of Toronto professor and former Toronto police officer Marc Satterberg.
“They have an opportunity to improve their algorithms and do a better job of filtering out these types of content.”
Satterberger, who was a police officer in the 1980s and is now a professor at the University of Ottawa, said the research could help police better understand and combat the growing problem of online harassment and trolling.
“What we found is that people who are using Twitter as a tool for political speech are actually creating a lot of fake accounts and accounts that are being used to promote these types