Frequently asked Questions

On this page you will find the answers to the following questions:

What does "tweeps" mean?

In the singular form, tweep means Twitter user in English. (Source: Cambridge Dictionary)

Tweeps is the plural form and refers to either Twitter users or followers of a particular user on Twitter. (Source: Lexico)

How does Tweeps.net work? (And how doesn’t it work?)

Tweeps.net seeks to identify bots based on two main principles:

Tweeps.net does NOT identify bots based on the items below because they are not suitable for it:

In short, bots are identified based on the performance of their Twitter IDs, and bot scores are not affected by a profile’s external factors.

Why do I get an "Interface constraint encountered" error message?

If you receive an "Interface Restriction Encountered" error message, it is because the Twitter interface (API) is currently blocking retrieval of data from users. This error should go away by itself after a few minutes.

By logging in with your own Twitter account, you can do more searches more often.

How is bot analysis done?

This is how Tweeps.net analyses bots:

  1. Searches for an account’s followers or people followed.
  2. Retrieves profile information of followers or people followed.
  3. The aim is to predict suspicious accounts based on profile data. This uses previous correlation analysis to see which types of accounts are most likely to receive bot scores. In addition, those previously identified as bots (a bot score higher than 2) are taken into account.
  4. Retrieves tweets of suspicious accounts (200 most recent).
  5. Analyses tweets of suspicious accounts. Bot scores are calculated at this point. Bot scores are therefore given only for tweets, i.e., the active activity of an account.

At the same time, the following are taken into account:

Why aren’t all followers or people followed analysed?

Tweeps.net operates with the Twitter software interface (API). The interface has a search volume limit per 15 minutes. For this reason, not all followers or peopled followed can be retrieved; there may be tens of thousands of them. It could be possible, but it would take a very long time.

Secondly, tweets are analysed only if a suspicious user has at least 200 tweets. The reason for this is to get a sample large enough with respect to the reliability of the results.

Third, the number of accounts to be analysed has been artificially limited so that the analysis does not take too long. The analysis has been designed to focus on those that are likely to receive the highest bot scores. It wouldn’t be very interesting to go through hundreds of potential bots with scores of 1-2 points.

What aspects of tweets are analysed?

Tweeps.net calculates bot scores based on about 20 indicators that are based on the following, among others:

What do bot scores mean?

Bot scores are divided into the following types:

For humans, it is unusual to send tweets regularity or focus on certain hours.

The user has tweeted around the clock at least once in the previous week.

Tweets aren’t spread across the day, but only take place during a few hours.

Tweeting times appear to follow at least a partially repetitive pattern.

Tweeting activity is unusually high.

The tweets contain unusually frequent mentions of other users without being replies. This may indicate harassment.

Tweets are unusually frequently replies to other users' tweets.

Tweets contain an unusual number of photos and / or videos.

Tweets contain an unusual number of links.

Tweets contain an unusual number of hashtags.

Tweets are retweets to an unusually large extent.

Tweets contain an unusual amount of quotes from other tweets. This may indicate online targeting and shaming.

The user often shares links to content identified as sensitive by Twitter. Content Warning.

The length of tweets is often about the same.

Tweets often repeat the same content.

Retweets often repeat the same content.

The tweets were published using an automatically functioning Twitter application, which is not considered suspicious.

The tweets were published using an automatically functioning Twitter application, which is considered suspicious.

In addition, the following aspects are displayed but do not affect bot scores:

The account has a default profile picture and has not changed the look and feel of their profile page.

Twitter has identified sensitive content in links shared by the account. Content Warning.

The account has been banned from Twitter search. Therefore, the account's Tweets will not appear in the search function.

How should bot scores be interpreted?

Bot scores are not direct proof of whether an account is really a bot or not. This is because sometimes people act in a mechanical or otherwise bot-like way. When an account shows a high bot score, there should be no ambiguity, nevertheless we use the term "potential bots". Below is an interpretation guide.

In addition to bot scores, you should also look at the tweets / hours chart.

What do troll bot, spam bot, other bot, troller, spammer and unclear mean?

For each Twitter account that receives bot scores, an automatic interpretation by the algorithm based on the types of points is displayed.

The automatic interpretation of bot scores can be one of the following: troll bot, spam bot, automatic app, bot app, other bot, troll, or spammer. If there are too few bot scores to make an interpretation, the text "unclear" is displayed.

The types of bot scores affect the interpretation is shown in the following table:

Types of bot scores Human Social bot
  • Machine-like
  • Tireless
  • Like clock-work
  • Mechanical approach
  • Activeness
  • Repeated length
  • Duplicate content
  • Repetitive RT content
- Other bot
+
  • Automatic app
  • Suspicious app
  Automatic app/
Bot app
+
  • Media spam
  • Link spam
  • Hashtag spam
  • RT spam
  • Adult content spam
Spammer Spam bot
+
  • @-spam
  • Quote spam
  • Reply spam
Troll Troll bot

 

What does the tweets / hours chart mean?

In addition to bot scores, the tweets / hours chart is displayed for accounts and potential bots. This is called a polar chart. Here is an example:

The chart shows how the tweets posted by an account and included in the analysis are distributed over the hours of the day. Sector 0 means tweets published between 0-1 a.m., sector 2 means tweets published between 2 and 2 p.m., and so on. So the picture shows what time the user has tweeted.

For example, in the image above, the account has tweeted all of its 200 tweets included in the analysis between 9pm and 10pm. Usually, tweets by humans are spread out over different hours of the day.

Below the graph is shown how on many days the 200 tweets included in the analysis are posted, as well as the date of the last published tweet. This information makes it possible to deduce how active the account has been recently.

It is common for bots to have tweets focused on either a small number of hours or during particular hours. Here are some examples, some of which clearly indicate a regular pattern in the times when tweets are posted:

What is the veil of followers?

The veil of followers is presented at the end of the bot analysis. Here is an example:

The points in the graph are followers of an account. The vertical axis represents date when followers of a twitter account were created, and the horizontal axis represents the following order. The last followers of the account are on the chart on the right and the first on the left.

Sometimes, a lot be deduced from this graph, but here are the main points:

Who created Tweeps.net?

The creator and administrator of the service is Tweeps Oy, based in Oulu, Finland. The bot analysis tool was developed by Harto Pönkä (@hponka). He has extensive experience in performing Twitter analyses and learning how bots operate.