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Bots on Twitter: Only 50 accounts drove over half of the #TNwelcomesModi Twitter traffic

Between February 9-10 this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of a health facility in Tirupur (Tamil Nadu) and then unveiled another 10 km section of the Chennai metro, and laid another foundation stone via video conference. Between February 9-10, Twitter was profusely abused by bot accounts which posted an inhuman volume of tweets to support both the ruling party and the opposition narrative, according to a research conducted by DFRLab. The Digital Forensics Lab (DFRLab) is the Atlantic Council's initiative to track disinformation. The pro-Modi traffic, the DFRLab's report found, was far more heavily manipulated than any large-scale traffic flow that it has analyzed till now. #TNwelcomesModi 1. High post volume, 50 most active accounts drove 60% of hashtag traffic: #TNwelcomesModi trended in India on February 9-10, and was posted over 7.7 lakh times in two days. DFRLab analyzed the first 49,000 tweets of this hashtag, which were tweeted over a period of almost 8 hours. The top three accounts alone posted #TNwelcomesModi close to 5,000 times, or roughly 10% of all traffic in the scan. The 50 most active accounts generated 30,446 tweets, or over 60% of all traffic. "This was an attempt at manipulation on an industrial scale, using a small number of hyper-tweeting bots to give the hashtag a massive boost," concluded DFRLab. 2. Manipulation score double than average: The first 49,000 tweets for #TNwelcomesModi scored a CTM for 123.98, the highest score the lab has ever recorded, showing that it was…

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