Bots, an abbreviation for robots, are computer programs designed to perform specific tasks. The first robots had no malicious intentions, and there are still good bots today that are meant to hold politicians accountable, to fight for gender equality, or to help organize the (many) daily tasks of users. But in the late 1990s, bots began to develop a negative reputation.
Some have been used to send SPAMs by e-mail, stealing personal user data, credit card fraud, and disinformation attacks to manipulate the public sphere. These bots aim to spread lies to influence narratives, a phenomenon that has been gaining global scale since 2014. And worse: they are out there and almost nobody knows how they work, who develops and funds them. To help solve this problem, we announce PegaBot.
PegaBot (Catch-a-bot) is a platform where users can check the activity of a social network account to discover the probability of a profile being a bot, bringing more transparency to the use of bots in Brazil.
PegaBot is a project of the Institute for Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro (ITS Rio) and the Institute of Equity & Technology. For now, the platform is integrated with Twitter. We will support other social media soon.