The Twittering Machine
This paper is a study of the use of Twitter by automated agents, based on data sampled in July-September 2009. It discusses the dramatic rise in rapidly-tweeting automated Twitter accounts beginning in late June 2009; some surprising behaviour by automated Twitter profiles that make direct use of Twitter's API; and techniques used for automated spamming on Twitter. Ideas are suggested for ways in which Twitter might defend against some common types of automated Twitter spam. The paper ends by outlining some general conclusions for designers of social information systems.