Weekly Update – Chinese Twitter Ads, Presidential Spambots, and Facebook Bots

Will the Chinese pay for Twitter?

Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey has recently announced the appointment of Kathy Chen to the position of the Greater China Managing Director. Chen tweeted she looks forward to the opportunity to “create more value for Chinese enterprises, creators, partners and developers.” Even though Chinese government has blocked Twitter since 2009, Twitter has been courting several Chinese companies to buy advertising space on their platform.

And why wouldn’t they consider it? Twitter has 305 million active twitter users every month.

Support or Spam?

But speaking of Twitter, the sheer number of Twitter followers that are watching the presidential journey in the US has been questioned. FiveThirtyEight’s writer Carl Bialik released an article yesterday discussing the presence of spambots – or fake accounts – following the presidential candidates. He used then software Status People and Followerwonk to find out what percentage of their followers are fakes, used as zombies to repost the messages to give the appearance of larger support. According to their algorithms, Trump had by far the largest amount of spambots compared to candidates Clinton, Biden, Bloomberg, Sanders, Cruz, and Katich. out of Trump’s alleged 7.58 million Twitter followers, 61% have less than 100 tweets, 72% have less than 100 followers, and 8% are definitely fake accounts.

Facebook Bots in your DM

Facebook announced at the F8 Developer Convention that they would be investing more in their Messenger app to become the industry leader in conversational commerce. As Chris Messina described, this concept is about “delivering convenience, personalisation, and decision support while people are on the go, with only partial attention to spare”.

So instead of downloading all these business’ apps, or having to begrudgingly call, you can go on Messenger and DM any business for your concerns, inquiries, and requests. With more than 50 million businesses on Facebook, having an AI ‘representative’ from each business would provide “instant and persistent user identity, presented in context.” This technology is currently in BETA testing, with companies such as Disney, CNN, eBay, and Shopify, already ready for conversation!

But why do they think we need bots to talk to us? Why Messenger? It’s all about making digital more human. By creating a platform where you can get all the information you need, in the same way you would ask a friend for advice on which item to buy and why, Facebook’s AI will speak to you like another person. Just, maybe, more informed. “Conversational interface is the classic, human way of finding information, and in a way, we’re just now bringing that to mobile devices. And mobile is the only format that really matters now, it’s clear.”

Written by Bernice Abuan