How to spot a Twitter bot

This series of tweets is a good primer for how to spot a bot.
This is important information. All of the evidence that is visible in Twitter shows that Donald Trump is gearing up to fight a propaganda battle using social media. He has blocked opposing Twitter users who have large numbers of followers, in order to choke off propagation of messages that oppose his own, and his account has been collecting millions of new followers in the last 3 days, nearly all of which appear to be bots. Those bots are, in turn, Following the top 20+ Twitter users worldwide.
The tactics seem quite clear (and given that a lot of Twitter data is in the public domain, the aims of the tactics cannot be hidden). Trump is likely to use the bots to re-tweet his tweets to the bot followers, saturating Twitter with millions of copies of his original Tweets, plus whatever supporting verbiage is attached to the tweets. This will overwhelm many Twitter users and accounts with pro-Trump messages. Think of this as a DMOS (Distributed Monopolization Of Service) attack on Twitter, to swamp out any oppositional messaging.
Twitter could, of course, stop this all pretty quickly if they suspended Trump’s two accounts (his personal one and the White House official POTUS account). They have every legal right to do so, but I suspect that they will be very reluctant to do that. However…if the alternative is to see the Twitter platform reduced to partisan irrelevance, they may have to take action. There are other social networks waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces (notably Mastodon). If Twitter is seen as a platform dominated by white noise generated by robots, it will die quickly.


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