Bots vs. Us: How Do You Combat Fake Accounts on Social Media?
Over the past few years, it has become seemingly impossible to go on any social media platform without interacting with or seeing bots and spam accounts. On popular tweets or Instagram posts, it has become common to see these strange accounts posting in the replies or comments in order to grab the average user’s attention.
But, before I get in too deep, let me back up a bit. What is a bot? And what’s the difference between a bot account and a spam account? Simply put, a bot account is a fake account that is programmed to act like a real account. They have algorithms, for example, that can create entire fake profiles and are able to post and “like” content or reply to other users.
Although spam accounts are similar to bots, they are less autonomous. Spam accounts are also fake profiles that have been generated by an algorithm, but these accounts repeatedly spam the same message in the comments or replies of a post. They never change the content of their comments, and it is not uncommon for these messages to contain links to spam websites.
So, what is the best way to combat these accounts? All fake accounts have one goal: to confuse. They target those who are the least savvy when it comes to social media to try and take advantage of the user’s naiveté. The best way to “fight” these bots is to, one, ignore any links they send you. Clicking on their links can put your personal information at risk. Second, there are options on all social media platforms to report accounts as spam or as bots. Doing this is the best chance of getting the account taken down by the social media platform. Third, be aware that fake accounts like these exist. If you know how to identify and report them, you will have a leg up against the millions of bots and spam accounts on the internet today.