If you ever noticed that there's something awfully inauthentic about the way some Twitter users express their opinions on climate change, there's a 25% chance that your suspicions are not only well-founded, but you'll also be one of our first Blade Runners when androids become a thing. That's because a quarter of all Twitter discussions about climate is pushed by bots, a majority of which promote climate change denial.
That's pretty bleak, but it gets a little funny when you dig into the details of the study conducted by researchers at Indiana University, who analyzed 6.5 million tweets using words like "climate change" and "global warming", among others that usually come up when people talk about the potential end of the world as we know it. Like how, for instance, it's hard to tell who's to blame for eroding our discourse on the science of climate change, but considering that 28% of those tweets also took the time to mention that the Exxon oil company is awesome, it's probably them. (Really, you're a big Exxon fan? Name their three best oil spills.)
Of course, that's not part of the study's findings, it's more of an easily reached conclusion given the evidence. It's like when a serial killer leaves a calling card to antagonize the police, but instead of a cryptic clue, it's a business card that includes their full name, address, and phone number where they can be easily reached. Only 5% of the bot-generated tweets acknowledge the validity of climate science, and most tweets recognizing climate change as real did not meet their bot criteria.
So if you see someone on Twitter acknowledging the realities of climate change, it's likely an actual flesh and blood human who's genuinely concerned about the future of the human race. If the tweet denies climate change, there's a decent chance it's actually the work of the evilest software programmer a fossil fuel company could find on LinkedIn.
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. And now you can listen to the first episode on Youtube!