Terence Eden has mined the social graphs of thousands of mysterious, spammy twitterbots, which may or may not be the same larval spambots I wrote about.
The bots' graphs are densely interconnected, as you'd expect. Like me, Eden is curious about the bots' eventual purpose — are they being buffed for another fake ISIS attack panic? Eden's published his dataset, in case you'd like to have a poke around.
There appears to be several "loops" – that is bots which are in an almost closed network with each other. I see at least half a dozen circles – the rest appear to be following other fake accounts at random.
The centre of those circles appear to be real people. I can't say why they have lots of fake followers – it's possible that they – or someone else – has just bought them to make it look like they're more popular than they really are. There's no suggestion that they control the fake accounts.
One of the central nodes has 650,000 followers. It's not possible to know quite how many of those are fake – I'm guessing the majority are.
It seems that there's a nasty nest of these bots. In the last few weeks I've reported a dozen or so for spam – but with literately tens of thousands in the network it's impossible for any individual to make a meaningful impact.
(via Hacker News)