Can Twitter Bots Do The Right Thing?

A 'bot trying to do the best it can.
A ‘bot trying to do the best it can.

You probably know that I enjoy a good Twitter ‘bot or two, so I was so pleased to read two very interesting articles in this morning’s The Daily Beast feed.

A Socially Responsible Twitter ‘Bot

One was about a Twitter ‘bot who watches edits to Wikipedia from computers known to be used by people working for the US Congress. (It tracks the IP addresses, if you want to get all technical). And then this ‘bot publishes the results like so:

As of this morning, @CongressEdits has over 12,000 followers. What’s so cool about this comes in two flavors: a) it can show when politicians (or their staffs) try to alter the record to their benefit and b) the creator of this ‘bot has released it’s code to allow anyone to create a similar ‘bot. A quick glance at @CongressEdits feed shows it retweeting new bots like @phrmaedits who monitor the pharmaceutical industry’s edits of Wikipedia, @reichstagedits who monitors the German Parliament for the same actions, etc. So, totally cool.

Stopping Clickbait One Tweet At A Time

The second article was about a Twitter ‘bot whose mission is to save you from being clickbait. For those of you not familiar with these terms, clickbait is:

(Internet marketing, pejorative) Website content that is aimed at generating advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines to attract click-throughs; such headlines

(Via Wiktionary.) You know the article headline that says “Is Hurricane Oswald Going To Drown Every Man, Woman and Child in Ft. Pierce, Indiana?” just to get you to read the article? That’s clickbait. Anyhow, this Twitter ‘bot, @SavedYouAClick watches out for these clickbait articles and tweets the answers back at them. For example: Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 7.20.34 AM and

  Perhaps not as socially aware as the other ‘bot, but it does have over 126,000 followers.

What sort of ‘bots would help you? Let me know and we’ll see if we can build some.