Vaping draws support from Twitter bots

Social media accounts run by robots may be skewing the e-cigs debate

Vaping is seen as a healthy, positive pursuit out there in the Twittersphere, partly because the bots tell us so.

Researchers have revealed that more than one in two Twitter accounts that tweet about vaping are run by internet robots, or bots, which they warn may be affecting the internet discussion about the health threats posed by e-cigarettes.

The US team uncovered the bots’ influence by accident, while analysing Twitter data to study the use and perceptions of e-cigarettes in the US.

They observed anomalies in the dataset related to confusing and illogical tweets about e-cigarettes and vaping.

They decided to review and reclassify the social media users and specifically identify those that appeared to be operated by robots.

Almost 70% of the Tweets coming from bot accounts were positive towards vaping, 11% were neutral and