Monday, 5 November 2018

iReach research shows that only 18% of Social Media users in Ireland believe that they could identify a bot social media account.

iReach Insights Press Release

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7th November 2018

Social media bots can generate convincing internet personas that are capable of influencing real people and directly impacted on the vote for Brexit and the 2016 US Presidential Election.

iReach research shows that only 18% of Social Media users in Ireland believe that they could identify a bot social media account.

58% say bot accounts have a negative impact on social media.

Just 8% think bots are used with good intentions.

As social media grows an ever more powerful force for news, communication and advertising with each passing year, it is important to understand why the content people see appears, and where it comes from. To gain an insight into how knowledgeable Irish people are and how confident they feel about how information is presented to them online, we conducted a nationally representative survey on 1,000 adults in Ireland to find out their thoughts.

Social media is used by 80% of the Irish population, yet the results of this iReach survey show relatively little understanding of how bot accounts are often used to populate profiles with content. These bot accounts are used to automatically generate social media posts, sometimes advocating ideas and supporting campaigns for well-known brands, as well giving information in emergency situations.

Social Media bots are often seen as a source of misinformation that can be used to manipulate facts and manufacture false narratives. There has been a greater focus on the potential problems posed by bots on social media since the 2016 U.S Election and in the run-up to this month’s U.S mid-term elections, Twitter has intensified its crackdown of online spamming activities
Despite widespread use of social media across ages and locations (88% amongst 18-34 and 72% by over 55s), only 43% of people have even heard of social media bots. Furthermore, a staggering 78% of older adults and 66% of all females surveyed were unfamiliar with the concept.

This lack of familiarity is clear as only 21% of respondents feel that they have heard a lot about these accounts. More remarkable still, is that only 18% believe that they could spot a bot on social media. There is a degree of variance across age groups with younger users (18-35) 24% saying they could spot a bot but of those aged 55+, just 9% felt comfortable that they could identify a bot account with 67% who believed they could not.

In terms of the actual content bots produce, results point to a pessimism across the board. 58% of the total population think that bot accounts have a negative impact on social media, with a mere 14% who say that their impact is a positive one. This adverse outlook is even more obvious as only just 8% believe that bot accounts are operated with primarily good intentions on social media. 

About iReach Insights
iReach Insights provides a range of research and market intelligence services in Ireland and Europe. iReach has built a Consumer Decisions Research Panel of 40,000 members in Ireland, delivering robust research insights. The survey questions were included in the Nationally Representative iReach Consumer Decisions Omnibus run between the 11th October and the 18th October and has a 3% Confidence Interval and 95% Confidence Level.

iReach Insights Limited – Temple Hall, Temple Road, Blackrock, CO. Dublin, IRELAND.
iReach Managing Director: Oisin Byrne
T: 01-214 3740 or email:

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