Social bots are not simply anonymous machines running wild. They have to be designed, deployed and maintained by humans. In fact, the fully automated bots we currently find are very simple. We attempt a useful definition of social bots, together with a rough taxonomy. We then discuss how bot capabilities can be extended and controlled by integrating humans into the process and reason that this is currently the most promising way to realize meaningful interactions with other humans. This finally leads to the conclusion that hybridization is a challenge for current detection mechanisms and has to be handled with more sophisticated approaches to identify political propaganda distributed with social bots.
Grimme, C., Preuss, M., Adam, L., & Trautmann, H. (2017). Social Bots: Human-Like by Means of Human Control? Big Data, 5(4), 279–293. https://doi.org/10.1089/big.2017.0044