Bots on twitter are getting more clever. Accounts can be automated to seem as real as you or me.

Twitter SpamBelieve it or not, there’s actually a place for bots on Twitter.  For many, they can be effective for certain things such as RSS feeds for blogs, tag retweeting, etc.  The problem is with the automated accounts that are nothing other than ways to accumulate followers to spread whatever spammy message the botmaster wants spread either now or in the future.

We will be tracking the hashtag #notabot going forward and listing accounts that claim to be, well, not a bot. Accounts that tweet it will be verified for authenticity and listed here weekly.

If you’re not a bot, tweet it. Tweet it loud. Tweet it proud.

Pass it on. First “verification period will be 8-15 so get your tweets in before then to be on the initial list.

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Read more on this social news blog.

Image courtesy of Dave Tong.

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  1. i always thought using twitter as your RSS feed was rather annoying and unnecessary. and, tag re-tweeting? really?

    either of those functions make for a big “do not follow” for me. if i want RSS, i subscribe to an RSS feed. and, tag-retweeting? by bots? is useful to humans? and makes it easier to see what actual humans are retweeting, to identify actual trends vs. what has the best automation software pushing it?

    call me old-fashioned, but twitter’s for tweeting amongst people, not for botting amongst bots.

  2. @dotlizard I couldn’t agree more. That’s the whole idea – to compile a list of real vs bot. It seems like a challenge considering the bulk, but if a list of 10, 100, 1000 or more actual human beings can be created, it gives a starting point for people who join Twitter for the conversation, not the automation.

  3. I would think (and I could be wrong, because most of my technical skills are self taught) that it would be fairly simple for Twitter to create something that would weed out many bots. I follow back a lot of people. I figure if they find me interesting, maybe I will find them interesting. But then I notice that they post the same 2-3 message 10x+ a day, and unfollow very quickly. How hard would it be to set up some sort of criteria that would flag a bot? Like, if you post the exact same message 10x you get kicked to a special department. Even a user monitored department? I’m sure people would volunteer. There could be a page the user’s name auto posts to and people evaluate the account and vote on it or something. Super easy for Twitter, or at least IMO. Again, I am not a technical guru so maybe I am way off base?

    I mean, there are certainly times when you will send a message out more than once. But the exact same message over and over? I doubt there is often a cause for that.

    Then again, I guess they would just program the bots to change a word or two each time to avoid detection. So maybe my idea sucks lol 🙂 Oh well, at least it would catch the cheap bots 🙂

  4. I disagree with both dotlizard and JD Rucker. There is a reason behind using Twitter as RSS Feed: There’s no blogroll that shows you every new and unread item. I couldn’t keep up with the new (and good) articles coming in, so every time I marked my blogroll as read I had the feeling to miss something.
    Twitter gives me the opportunity to read when I have the time to do so. I don’t care what I missed in my timeline during all the time I haven’t been online. Sometimes, when I’m in the mood and have plenty of time, I go back to few hours, but this isn’t a must.
    I was able to decrease the amount of daily reading, and still, because of twitters nature I keep up with (well, at least most) things.
    Hash retweeting bots can be of use, too. If you use tools with twitter you’ll probably set up a search that is being updated constantly. But I, for the exact same reasons given above, like to use the web interface (especially when I’m at work). Following such a bot makes you aware of interesting posts and hence of interesting people.

  5. Darn it JD, just trust me … I am not a bot. Haa haa A bot would never spew all of the stuff I do. 🙂

  6. Question: What’s to stop the keepers of bot accounts from sending at least one hand-typed Tweet that includes “#notabot”? It would be in their best interest to do so, since it could quite possibly fool the general public into thinking that they are a non-bot account. Not that it’s difficult to unfollow someone after noticing the Tweets they send are botesque.

  7. No humans here, I am a bot.

  8. What if a bot track this hashtag LOL! 😀

  9. By the way, 100% real chick!

  10. I was just thinking how damn funny it would be to tweet this with hashtags for all of the retweet bots. I think I know them all by now. 🙂

  11. I just verified my #notabot status. W00t! :-p

  12. PS @CptSalek are you saying that you read your blogroll? lmao!

  13. Greg Wilson

    Earth to human are you really their…. just joking it’s a Real Person here. One it confuss the BOT just mix were the RT are like at the end. As well totally support JD comment on ” Twitter for the conversation, not the automation.

  14. Done a few test with automation, I noticed CTR drops when automation is in place. This was of course more evident when the same or similar messages were posted. Better to be Real! Great post! 🙂

  15. How do I tell you I’m “notabot?”

    Cause if you can read this….I’m…not…a…bot!

  16. Nope, I’m not a bot. I’m a Gopher!

  17. Dwyndal

    like the idea, still wish i personally were a bot. Not a spambot but a botbot! 🙂 It would help if twitter would put up a option next to BLOCK that said FLAG = possible bot. So users could help more with the bot issues and they can filter them.

  18. I chuckled when I saw a tweetlater ad on this page, saying ‘Run your own twitter bots’. Irony, much?

    But I am not a bot. Obviously. I hope.

  19. I think this is backwards, one shouldn’t keep a list of who is not a bot, but instead a blacklist of the bots.

    The problem however in either scenario is finding out truly if a twitter account is or is not a bot.

  20. I reckon the spammers will jump on this and make all their bots send out a #notabot tag. I like Dwyndal’s idea about having an option to Flag “Possible bot” when we see them. Twitter can then verify and get them b&.

  21. Oh, by the way: is available 🙂

  22. From twitters help wanted section:

    Software Engineer – Anti-Spam San Francisco, CA