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Think Erdogan Will Delete His 18K Strong Twitter Bot Army In Quest to "Wipe Out" Twitter?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, March 27 2014

Megan Fox is a popular pro-AKP Twitter bot photo (Wikipedia)

Sure, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may say he wants to “wipe out” Twitter, but he is not above using an 18,000 strong “robot army” to spread pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) messages on Twitter.

A computer researcher began looking into pro-Erdogan Twitter bots after an AKP event in an “obscure” part of Ankara made an appearance in Twitter's global trending topics.

“Most of the accounts that were tweeting about it were fake,” a researcher who goes by the name Peter Nut told Vocativ. “They were made around the same time, had the same amount of tweets.”

He and his research partner, Dieter Leder, have identified 18,000 Twitter bots posting the same pro-AKP messages, and are looking at a second network of 40,000 bots that could also be linked to the AKP.

This is, of course, in addition to the 6,000 or so social media representatives that Erdogan began training last September to use Twitter and other platforms to spread “positive political language.”

Last spring Erdogan called Twitter a “menace”; then, when recruiting social media representatives, softened enough to say it could be used to “speak truth.”

Strangely enough, Erdogan has complained about the opposition's “robot lobby” attacking the AKP on Twitter.

There is evidence that the opposition movement Gülen also has active Twitter bots, tweeting nearly 10,000 times in a day, but not nearly as many as the AKP.

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