Social Bots Are Watching You. How Dangerous Are They?

Social media bots intentionally target genuine users. The question is, why? What do they win and what do we lose?

Large robot with giant eyes watching a woman sitting in a chair scrolling her phone.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin

More than half of the world uses social media platforms, and Twitter is one of the main meeting points for the global crypto community. But it is also a popular playground for bots. 

Fake automated accounts intentionally target genuine platform users. The question is, why? What do they win from following us, and what do we lose?  

A Playground for Bots

Six thousand shares every second, more than 500 million posts per day. These are the numbers that 368 million Twitter active users produce every day. 


Twitter is a social media giant enabling crypto-related businesses and project creators to reach their follower base directly. 

All emerging crypto projects are on Twitter, which claims to serve the public conversation freely and safely. Thus Twitter prohibits using it “in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience.” 

In other words, Twitter prohibits using bots, an automated account designed to imitate real people. Despite that, research shows that nearly 12% of the platform’s daily active users are bots.


And although the platform recently put limitations on how many tweets users can see to fight against content scraping bots, its owner, Elon Musk, sends mixed messages, potentially indicating a different course.

Musk raised eyebrows by endorsing the controversial ex-crypto entrepreneur and host of the Twitter Spaces audio platform, Mario Nawfal.

Nawfal hosts live conversations with famous executives and politicians for his 922,000 Twitter followers and is suspected of selling bot services via his sponsorship business and artificially inflating the number of engagements for his clients to boost his tweets. 

Researchers have calculated that more than 65% of the engagement with the researched content of Mario Nawfal is artificial and falsely inflated. 

Thus, while the popular social media platform sends mixed signals about its attitude toward bots, the latter remains the reality that genuine users must face. The question is, how dangerous is the existence of social media bots for authentic users?

Why Do Social Bots Follow Us? 

Bots are automated software programs that imitate human behavior on social media platforms. They are often a part of the larger botnet and tweet, retweet, comment, and interact with each other as if they are real people, only on a much larger scale than what a human user can do. 

Some bots use artificial intelligence and big data analysis to perform useful tasks. They are considered good bots that benefit users, like customer service chatbots. 

However, many fake automated accounts have malicious intentions, such as manipulating financial markets.

Bots Create Illusion of Popularity 

For several reasons, the crypto community is particularly attractive to malicious social media bots. First, it heavily relies on social media and often makes investment decisions based on market sentiment, hype, or FOMO. 

And since positive news often leads to the perception of higher potential returns, fake follower bots create an illusion of popularity, engagement, or positive sentiment, finally leading to trust and following of their recommendations.

They employ various techniques to manipulate content visibility and engagement. They like, retweet, or share specific content and artificially inflate the number of followers or other engagement metrics associated with a particular account or tweet.

Creating an illusion of widespread endorsement and popularity, they can spread false information, promote dubious investment opportunities, or use pump-and-dump schemes to manipulate users’ investment decisions.

Bots Scrape Social Profiles and Steal Data

However, artificial manipulation is not the only threat vector that social media bots pose to the crypto community. 

Hundreds of thousands of real Twitter users are followed by disguised automated accounts that collect large volumes of data like their profile names, bios, tweet content and comments, follower lists, usernames, email addresses, profile activity data, searched keywords, hashtags, tweet URLs and any other available metadata.

These bots simulate genuine user behavior and interact with real Twitter accounts to extract information. Such a tactic helps them bypass detection algorithms that monitor abnormal activity. 

As scrapped social media data provides valuable insights into consumer behavior, preferences, or trends, it is a valuable asset to sell. Thus not only legitimate businesses want it for their marketing purposes. 

Malicious actors also find it highly worthy, as extracted data can be used to steal identities to create further fake accounts, conduct social engineering attacks, promote fake investment schemes, or phishing scams

Scam Bots Lure Victims into Revealing Crypto Wallet Data

Another threatening type of social media bots is scam bots. They target genuine Twitter users with large volumes of content, such as advertisements, promo messages, or malicious links.

They aim to spread malware or trick users into fake websites where victims are asked to disclose personal information, like private keys or crypto wallet seed phrases.

Such phishing websites often imitate the domain name, appearance, and functionality of legitimate crypto wallets, crypto exchanges, or lending platforms.

Believing they are on an authentic and trusted platform, crypto owners may unknowingly log in to their accounts, revealing sensitive data and thus losing their funds.

Social Bots Lead to Account Deactivation 

Social media bots can overload a user’s account with excessive or malicious activity, which may lead to account deactivation.

According to cyber security experts, bots can flood their victim’s account with a large amount of spam content, triggering the platform’s algorithms to flag it for spamming, eventually leading to restrictions and, potentially, deactivation.

Bots can also be used for reporting the targeted account by simulating many other Twitter users. Social media platforms typically suspend the massively reported accounts. 

In 2022 alone, Twitter’s team reported suspending up to 500,000 spam accounts daily.

How to Know if Bots Are Exploiting Your Account

As social media bots evolve, become more advanced, human-like, and are harder to detect, there are still signs that can help to identify whether your social media account has been targeted or exploited. Here are some indicators to watch for: 

  • An unusual or sudden spike in activity. If your account inexplicitly gained many followers, likes, comments, or shares quickly, it could be a sign of bots targeting you.
  • Fake followers. If your followers have suspicious profiles lacking personal information, profile pictures, or a high number of unrelated posts, this may indicate a red flag.
  • Suspicious comments. Bots frequently leave generic or unrelated comments that do not match your shared content.
  • Random tagging. Bots tag your account in unrelated posts or topics. This is a common tactic to attract attention and involve you in spam schemes. 
  • Direct messages with suspicious links. If you receive private messages with links to unfamiliar websites or requesting personal information, it should be treated as a risk signal.

If you believe someone is taking advantage of your social media account, cybersecurity specialists recommend you take the following steps to help protect yourself and minimize potential risks.

  • Monitor your account. Keep an eye on its activity, the usual follower growth, and how your followers interact with you. Look for any suspicious changes and patterns. 
  • Review your followers. Check if your followers are not fake accounts: what is the frequency and content of their tweets? Do they provide any personal information? If these criteria indicate not human-like behavior, such accounts are probably fake. Report and block them. 
  • Never click on suspicious links. Verify the sender’s legitimacy and the website you are linked to. Avoid clicking on suspicious links, and never share your personal info.
  • Strengthen your account’s security. Review your privacy settings, and enable 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of protection against unauthorized parties.
  • Set your account to private. Web scraping bots can access and extract publicly available information. Only approved followers can see your content when your account is private. It allows you to approve or deny new followers, so you can ignore those that look like fake bot accounts.

Bottom Line

Social media bots are designed to manipulate engagement metrics, private opinion, or market sentiment. The primary goal of many such bots is to shape and control narratives, often for malicious and fraudulent purposes, that typically lead victims to financial losses.

As data is said to be the gold of the digital age, it is critically important to protect our social media presence from unauthorized malicious parties. We should stay vigilant and suspicious, verify information outside social media platforms, and avoid sharing too much personal data.

Learn about new methods to safeguard digital assets:

Safeguarding Assets: How to Prevent and Recover Lost Crypto

Know more about potential risks on crypto exchanges: 

How to Stay Safe on Crypto Exchanges

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Simona Ram

Simona Ram is a senior journalist at DailyCoin, based in Lithuania, who covers the forces and people shaping the Web3 industry and the areas where decentralized crypto assets meet the centralized world. She has experience in business communication within the financial sphere and has a degree in Foreign Languages, which helps her interact effectively with sources from diverse backgrounds. In her free time, Simona enjoys exploring new cultures.