Twitter bots can be a huge annoyance. They spam your timeline with irrelevant content, or worse, they are used to spread misinformation or malicious attacks. It’s important to be able to identify bots on Twitter, so you can protect yourself from their influence and keep your Twitter feed clean and informative. But what is a bot on Twitter and who is actually a real user? Here are three easy-to-remember red flags to look for.
Does It Have A Face?
The first thing to do is take a look at the account’s profile picture. If it looks like a generic stock photo or an avatar, there’s a good chance it’s a bot. Many bot creators don’t bother with personalizing their profile photos, so this can be a dead giveaway.
But even if a Twitter account has a profile photo, examining it for clues can help you spot a fake. For example, if the photo looks like a professionally-taken image, but the account is tweeting out some sketchy stuff, there’s a good chance it’s just a stock photo or something the bot creator found on Google.
What Is It Trying To Say?
Another way to spot a bot is by looking at the account’s tweets. Bot tweets are often repetitive, containing the same link or message over and over again. They also tend to have very few likes and retweets compared to real users’ tweets. So, if you see an account that only tweets links with no original content and no engagement, it’s likely a bot.
This is especially useful when trying to spot bots that are retweeting or replying to other users’ tweets. Take a look at the account’s timeline and see if they’re just retweeting the same content over and over. If they are, you’ve likely spotted a bot.
The Follower Ratio
The last tip is to check the account’s followers. Bots usually have very few followers, because they are following a large number of accounts and are only followed by other bots. So, if an account is following thousands or even tens of thousands of accounts, but only has a handful of followers itself, odds are that it’s trying to lure in some attention (and link clicks) by following a huge number of Twitter users. This is classic bot behavior.
Just imagine how long it would take for a human to go through and follow tens of thousands of accounts manually. That’s not something a real person would do. So, if an account is following an unusually high number of users and has very few followers itself, it’s likely a bot.
By following these three simple tips, you should be able to spot a Twitter bot pretty easily. So next time you see an account that looks suspicious, take a closer look and see if it’s just a bot trying to clutter up your Twitter feed.