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Publication Detail
Discovery, retrieval, and analysis of the’Star wars’ botnet in twitter
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Echeverria J, Zhou S
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1, 8
  • Published proceedings:
    Proceedings of the 2017 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, ASONAM 2017
  • ISBN-13:
  • Status:
© 2017 Association for Computing Machinery. It is known that many Twitter users are bots, which are accounts controlled and sometimes created by computers. Twitter bots can send spam tweets, manipulate public opinion and be used for online fraud. Here we report the discovery, retrieval, and analysis of the ‘Star Wars’ botnet in Twitter, which consists of more than 350,000 bots tweeting random quotations exclusively from Star Wars novels. The botnet contains a single type of bot, showing exactly the same properties throughout the botnet. It is unusually large, many times larger than other available datasets. It provides a valuable source of ground truth for research on Twitter bots. We analysed and revealed rich details on how the botnet was designed and created. As of this writing, the Star Wars bots are still alive in Twitter. They have survived since their creation in 2013, despite the increasing efforts in recent years to detect and remove Twitter bots. We also reflect on the ‘unconventional’ way in which we discovered the Star Wars bots, and discuss the current problems and future challenges of Twitter bot detection.
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