May 18, 2020

NortonLifeLock Releases Free Tool for Twitter Bots Detection

This week, NortonLifeLock released the beta version of a free browser extension which enables Twitter users to easily recognize bots on the social media platform.

The tool, called BotSight, is currently available to users in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand for Chrome, Chromium-based Brave, and Firefox. In addition, its developers plan to build a mobile app and a version that works with Microsoft Edge.

BotSight was founded by the NortonLifeLock Research Group, formerly known as Symantec Research Labs — the NortonLifeLock brand was developed after Symantec sold its enterprise security business and Symantec brand for $10.7 billion to Broadcom.

NortonLifeLock says BotSight, which it defines as a research application, uses a machine learning model to identify highly accurate Twitter bots, including tweets shown in the timeline, search and trending topics of the user. It analyzes more than 20 features to determine whether a Twitter account is a bot, including the name and definition of the account and its rate of increase for the followers.

When the BotSight extension is enabled, users can see a percentage and a green , yellow or red icon next to each profile name, including the ones listed in a tweet. This icon indicates the likelihood that an account is a person or a bot.

Twitter_bot

The organization has analyzed more than 100,000 accounts so far and found that bots are posting around 5 per cent of tweets.

“In our study of recent coronavirus-related tweets, we found that between 6-18 percent of users tweeting on this topic were bots, depending on the time span we sampled while a random Twitter stream sample shows 4-8 percent volume-by-volume bot behavior over the same span. This contrast shows that bots are strategic about their conduct: favoring current events to maximize their effect, “said Daniel Kats, NortonLifeLock Research Group ‘s principal researcher.

This week, NortonLifeLock reported revenues of $614 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, down slightly from the $617 million reported a year ago.

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