The internet's army of enraged anime avatars has a new enemy beyond their comprehension: a Twitter bot created by writer and activist Sarah Nyberg to make fools of them. Some lose themselves to hours of interaction, unaware they are ranting at a computer program.
Nyberg also cited barrl.net blogger Nora Reed as the project’s inspiration. Reed is best known for their Twitter projects, including a think piece headline generator and a bot that pitches terrible consumer products for women. Nyberg notes that she took a page out of Reed’s book by following only the accounts of real-life fish bait shops from the @arguetron account.
Engadget's Richard Lawler writes that it "feeds the emptiness of alt-right trolls" who are looking for fights.
Arguetron is by design not abusive or malicious in its tweets, and does not actively seek out adversaries. That's in contrast to some bots, like Nigel Leck's 2010 project @AI_AGW, which hunted down global warming deniers to provide automated fact-based responses explaining the science.
Nyberg reports that the record holder is an "infowars egg" snared by the bot for 10 hours.
Sadly, the bot appears to have been shadowbanned--or at least muted from search results and user notifications--on Twitter.