Tagged With bots

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Millions of Twitter users are actually fraudulent bots, sold to real Twitter users (including many celebrities and media personalities) to inflate their stats and make them look more influential. Last week the New York Times investigated one of the most influential bot sellers and called up their celebrity clients. In the fallout, the Chicago Sun-Times suspended film critic Richard Roeper for a couple of days.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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I like to spend my one wild and precious life arguing with strangers in Twitter reply threads. But I want them to be real strangers, not bots, spammers or fake identities. I don't want to waste any of my overwrought insults and smug dunks on a fake account. And since bots make up 15 per cent of Twitter users, that can take some research.

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Bots tend to get a lot of bad press. And considering that bots tend to be involved in all kinds of malicious internet activity – including devastating DDoS attacks – it isn’t altogether unwarranted. However, the actual story behind bots isn’t quite so one-sided.

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Over the past two decades, the world wide web has massively changed the way we live, communicate and do business. The internet is responsible for trillions of dollars in direct and indirect revenue annually and its importance will only continue to grow. This infographic from Hosting Facts is a fascinating compendium of internet facts and statistics from across the globe; from the country with the highest internet penetration (Bermuda) to the number of active Facebook users in the world (lots).

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The internet-enabled fridge is a concept we've been mocking for decades, but modern homes are filled with appliances and gadgets that are net-connected, from TVs to routers. And just like computers, those device can be hacked and exploited to create spam-sending botnets and launch denial-of-service attacks.