Social media bot detection has been a signature challenge in recent years in online social networks. Many scholars agree that the bot detection problem has become an "arms race" between malicious actors, who seek to create bots to influence opinion on these networks, and the social media platforms to remove these accounts. Despite this acknowledged issue, bot presence continues to remain on social media networks. So, it has now become necessary to monitor different bots over time to identify changes in their activities or domain. Since monitoring individual accounts is not feasible, because the bots may get suspended or deleted, bots should be observed in smaller groups, based on their characteristics, as types. Yet, most of the existing research on social media bot detection is focused on labeling bot accounts by only distinguishing them from human accounts and may ignore differences between individual bot accounts. The consideration of these bots' types may be the best solution for researchers and social media companies alike as it is in both of their best interests to study these types separately. However, up until this point, bot categorization has only been theorized or done manually. Thus, the goal of this research is to automate this process of grouping bots by their respective types. To accomplish this goal, the author experimentally demonstrates that it is possible to use unsupervised machine learning to categorize bots into types based on the proposed typology by creating an aggregated dataset, subsequent to determining that the accounts within are bots, and utilizing an existing typology for bots. Having the ability to differentiate between types of bots automatically will allow social media experts to analyze bot activity, from a new perspective, on a more granular level. This way, researchers can identify patterns related to a given bot type's behaviors over time and determine if certain detection methods are more viable for that type.
Included in this item (2)
- Masters Thesis Computer Science 2019