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Social media is a prevalent part of today’s society, especially among 18 to 24 year olds.

According to Pew, “Some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.”

It is important for college students to be knowledgable about social media since 70 percent of employers use this to screen many applicants, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

Business’s have used social media sites to target particular people based on interests and their search history. Social media bots have also played a part in misleading users.

Forbes reported on how a bot became the second most popular member in a book lovers’ club by automatically recommending books to other people in the group.

“Thus it should not be a surprise that 1 in 5 of us accepts unknown friend requests, openly letting bots into our world,” according to Forbes.

Earlier this year, Pew Research Center conducted research regarding the positive and negative purposes of social media bots. The results of that research were released in October showing that only 66 percent of Americans know what social media bots are, and of that percent, 17 percent believe they are used for good.

The Pew study says that the 2016 U.S presidential election increased Americans’ concerns regarding social media bots and whether they are actually useful in sharing true information.

“Recent analysis by our research team at Oxford University reveals that more than a third of pro-Trump tweets and nearly a fifth of pro-Clinton tweets between the first and second debates came from automated accounts, which produced more than 1 million tweets in total,” according to The Atlantic.

There are a variety of bots provided that can effect social media accounts.

“Some of them (social media bots) are very simple. And there are loads of services that will offer you bots, ranging from bots who will like whatever you post and fake followers to much more,” according to Forbes.

Pew’s research explains not only who knows about social media bots, but also how many Americans actually know how to identify a social media bot when they see one.

“While many Americans are aware of the existence of social media bots, fewer are confident they can identify them,” according to Pew Research. “About half of those who have heard about bots (47%) are very or somewhat confident they can recognize these accounts on social media with just 7% saying they are very confident.”

MIT Technology Review lists 5 things to look at to recognize social media bots.

“1. User profile, 2. Tweet syntax, 3. Tweet semantics, 4. Temporal behavior, 5. Network features,” according to MIT Technology Review.

The overall feel toward social media bots is negative, however, research found those who do know about social media bots are split about whether the government should use bots to share important information with the public.

“While the public’s overall impression of social media bots is negative, they have more nuanced views about specific uses of these accounts,” according to Pew Research.

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