Daniela Hernandez writes about Twitter bots.Twitter used to combat these bots but “it seems, spambots, the Internet’s lurking, always shape-shifting, citizenry, have evolved to get past Twitter’s anti-bot weaponry. … A cynic might think the $23 billion company doesn’t want to address bots too rigorously because they make the social network’s user base look more robust. Twitter’s value, after all, is tied to its number of users and the perceived size of its audience.”

“They’re more than a mere nuisance, after all. Twitter bots have been used to rig elections, silence activists, stiff people out of money, cheat on online games, gain financial advantage over competitors, usurp identities, scalp tickets, and spread misinformation. Last year, social media company Cynkused Twitter bots to make its stock look popular. Automated trading algorithms picked up on the bots’ conversations and started aggressively trading Cynk’s shares, driving the value of the shadow company up to $5 billion. The people behind the scam made out like bandits.”