Home > Posts > Twitter #bot or not? Posing as Automation/AI specialist & Python guru

Twitter #bot or not? Posing as Automation/AI specialist & Python guru

I just came across this strange thing on twitter:

Received a notification that some “Virginia A. Osborn” liked a tweet of mine that was a) in Greek b) totally of a subset of Greek residents interest, highly unlikely it would have meant anything to a person with a foreign name. Then I saw that twitter account started following me immediately after that action.


It smelled bot to me, so I took a look at that account’s profile. She seems to have joined twitter long ago (back in 2010), so I should have probably checked her very first tweets to see what that account was about (wonder if there is an archive of what the profile details were saying back then in case that was a dormant bot).


It seems that account has quite some followers and several people that post AI-related stuff that I follow, plus it didn’t seem to post unrelated stuff:


However, I decided to look her name up on Google. I didn’t find much. So I used Google Image Search to look up her profile photo and bingo, it came up at a stock photo collection, together with other shots of that model posing on the same business-related stock photo theme: https://www.istockphoto.com/search/stack/694124043?assettype=image


So, is this a personna account of some real person or are bots ruling twitter (wonder what the ratio of real persons to bots is currently) and preparing for a future bot-a-gedon? (similar to infected zombie machines that is – wonder if such accounts are already pushing malware links or something).

Of course there’s always the chance that person did a deal with some photographer to pose for him and then used one of those photos in their profile, but I find it highly unlikely.

  1. 2018/06/05 at 14:00

    Came across https://medium.com/@estevancarlos/uncovering-the-mystery-of-fake-twitter-accounts-is-easier-than-i-thought-17eed9d065eb

    I mentions sohuu.ml that I also found while looking up yet another suspicious AI-related twitter account from 2010 with a stock personal profile photo: they seem to use sohuu.ml to post tweets faking their location:
    http://sohuu.ml/?xbs=aHr0cHM6LY90d2l0dGVYLmNvBs9hc2hSZxlfx2hhcmrtyW4vc3rhdHVzLzk4MTE2Njy0MzM3NTAzNDM3MT9SyW5nPW1Y but sohuu.ml seems to be caching their actions or something

    speaking of Russians and social bots relatd to #fakenews – see the Russian flag here? https://urlscan.io/result/73978798-8e8c-4e6d-b568-4e700b916a7d/

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