From The Daily Pennsylvanian: In a recent study, Penn and Stony Brook University researchers found that social media bots may be identifiable due to their similarities, despite appearing human on an individual level. Engineering professor Lyle Ungar and Ph.D. student Salvatore Giorgi worked with Stony Brook professor Hanson Andrew Schwartz to examine how successfully social spambots — automated social media accounts that emulate humans — can mimic 17 human attributes, including age, gender, personality, sentiment, and emotion. The study builds on an emerging body of work that aims to better understand how spambots infiltrate online discussions, often fueling the spread of disinformation about controversial topics like COVID-19 vaccines and election fraud. Ungar and Schwartz, who have previously collaborated on studies about social media’s effects on mental health and depression, worked with Giorgi to integrate language processing techniques with spambot detection — something that few studies have done, according to their paper. Read the full story in The Daily Pennsylvanian.