So What Is a Bot?

An internet bot is a software application that runs automated tasks over the internet. Tasks ran by bots are typically simple and structurally repetitive at a rate much higher possible for a human alone. In the wrong hands bots can be used to perform malicious actions. 

Bot ticketing was one of the first to be affected by bots. A ticket bot is type of computer program that automates the process of buying a ticket. The process can be completed in a matter of milliseconds. They are able to snag tickets almost the instant they are released which causes upset in the entertainment industry. 

Other examples of bots and the adverse ways in which they can operate on the internet fall under the social media and political influence online. Bots have the ability to communicate with people and in the example of the social media giant, are able to retweet fake news but can also exploit algorithms on social media to get a topic to trend.

Define Bots

Programs which carry out simple and repetitive tasks are integral to what the Oll (Oxford Internet Institute) calls computational propaganda. Political influence caused by computational propaganda is difficult to quantify but certainly a cause for concern. Researchers believe that such propaganda is now one of the most powerful tools against democracy. This has been particularly prominent in Ukraine, research suggests. There had been significant ‘Russian activity…to manipulate public opinion’ the report said, adding that Ukraine had become ‘the frontline of numerous disinformation campaigns’ since 2014. The OII claims that in all of the elections, political crises and national security related discussions the researchers looked at, there was not one single instance where social media opinion hadn’t been manipulated.

But just how prominent are they? In 2017 bad bots contributed to 21.45% of traffic in ecommerce 22.97% in ticketing and a massive 53.08% in the gambling industry. It is clear bots are a problem in the internet space and mitigation is needed. Even though there are measures being introduced to increase education around the matter, legislation, in particular, the ticketing industry seems to not be having the desired impact as the underlying theme around such bot legislation is that if you are not bypassing security measures on a website to get tickets, you aren’t breaking the law. The need for bot protection is apparent as businesses are being left to fend for themselves against such activity.