Here at triplecheck, our mission is to help stop the spread of malicious content. That’s why our team of social media and disinformation experts have created new tools to help people identify malicious content before they share it with their friends and families.
Our technology scans social media to find patterns of disinformation and networks of bot accounts, which are used to amplify malicious content like a megaphone. Our system then posts an alert to warn you that what you may have shared might be malicious. Don’t worry, no one here is focused on you as an individual or is following your account.
You may be reading this because you got one of our alerts and are wondering why. Here’s how it works: at triplecheck, we’ve set up two different alert systems.
The Bot Alert
If you got the Bot Alert, it’s because you may have shared a post from a bot. Bots act like people online, but they are actually automated accounts used to amplify false and divisive content.
Twitter and Facebook make it really hard to figure out which accounts are real and which ones are bots, so it’s easy to get fooled. But bot accounts share certain characteristics that our tool uses to weed them out. First, they tweet much more than people do — hundreds of times a day. It’s also common for bots to follow thousands of accounts and have a high number of followers, and while they have thousands of tweets and retweets, they don’t comment on other people’s posts. Sometimes, their profile pictures are graphics, flags, or animals rather than a picture of a person. These accounts pretend to be people online, but they don’t actually act like people — and that’s how we can tell the difference.
People create bots and bot networks for different reasons, but the bot accounts that we keep track of are designed to promote and amplify content on current events. People run these kinds of bot networks in order to create conflict, control public opinion, and divide us from each other.
Warning: many bot accounts are actually hybrid accounts, with occasional tweets from a live user. Sometimes, the humans behind these accounts will insist on authenticity, but they are using computer programs to automate most of their behavior. Our alert is based on broader account behavior and cannot be fooled by hybrid accounts.
The Info Alert
If you got the Info Alert, it’s because what you shared may be malicious information. The internet is full of people who are interested in controlling public opinion and dividing us from each other. The content you shared looks like it’s designed to boost someone’s online profile, spread misleading rumors, or create conflict.
Our alerts aren’t designed to find content that’s provocative. Political correctness is not our goal. We consider malicious content to be content created with the purpose of spreading provably false information or preying on your fears and suspicions. Most of the time, we are looking for posts that are spreading a harmful rumor rapidly through social media.
Sometimes, content that seems too good to be true, really is. Misinformation and malicious news is often content that triggers a strong emotional reaction in order to trick you into sharing with others. Another common term is “click-bait,” which is why we recommend taking a deep breath when you feel your blood boiling, to avoid getting “triggered” by divisive content and sharing it before considering the consequences.
The Bottom Line
Our triplecheck alerts are a great tool to help you avoid spreading misinformation online. If you see one of our alerts in your replies, we recommend taking a step back. Consider deleting the content and unfollowing the account. Most of all, don’t stress. We all sometimes share bad information online, and we’re all doing our best to avoid it. Our alerts are designed to help you, and we hope you find them useful.