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Definition: social bot

(social roBOT) A program on the Internet that generates or repeats messages on social media such as Facebook and Twitter with the intent to sway its audience. Bots reside in the background and automatically spring into action based on certain events. For example, the social bots that influence U.S. elections look for known divisive subjects on Twitter and retweet new postings in huge quantities to agitate audiences on both sides of a position. They also spread fictitious stories created in phony accounts. See bot and botnet.