The tireless selling-machine' - Commercial deployment of social bots during black friday season on twitter


In recent years, mainstream E-commerce platforms have changed the way consumer goods are merchandized online. While such platforms increasingly discover social elements to drive sales, social media start implementing E-commerce features themselves. This emerging intersection also provides space for bot activity in a Social Commerce (SC) context, which is sparsely understood. In this short paper, we investigate the deployment of social bots during a large-scale commercial event. To this end, we applied bot detection techniques to the Twitter communication during the 2018 Black Friday season. Using three distinct metrics, we identified 42 bot-like accounts. A manual classification of 11,889 tweets found those bots to be primarily deployed in pre-transactional phases of SC to promote third party products and to initiate external transactions. Our results further suggest adapting detection metrics to event-specific user behavior. Further research aims at the dynamics, impact, and network positions of SC bots.

Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Business Information Systems 2020 “Developments, Opportunities and Challenges of Digitization”, WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK 2020