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Alarmist spammer unleashes Twitterbot to stifle climate debate

Friday, November 5, 2010

An Australian software developer grew tired of debating climate realists on Twitter so he created spambot to wear down his opponents. The bot responds to anyone who expresses skepticism about man-made global warming by posting one of hundreds of canned replies in an attempt to frustrate skeptics.

Nigel Leck, an Australian software developer, grew tired of debating climate realists on Twitter so he created a spambot to “wear down” his opponents. The bot, @AI_AGW, scans Twitter every five minutes looking for key phrases commonly used by those who challenge the global warming orthodoxy.  It then posts one of hundreds of canned responses hoping to frustrate skeptics. CFACT’s Twitter account @CFACT (follow us!) often receives many of these unsolicited messages each day. Since the bot became active on May 26, 2010, it has sent out over 40,000 tweets, or an average of more than 240 updates per day!

Technology Review gushed that Leck’s bot “answers Twitter users who aren’t even aware of their own ignorance.”  Leck claims that his little bit of trollware is commonly mistaken as a genuine Twitter user leading the unsuspecting to sometimes debate it for days. Eventually it wears people down.

Leck’s bot is an innovative, yet appalling new tactic in the ongoing campaign by global warming proponents to stifle debate and end discussion of climate science and policy. Spamming Twitter users is a tactic that is likely to backfire, as have so many of the ploys alarmists have tried in the past. There is nothing internet users find more annoying than trolls using spam to shut down online discussions.

Over the last year we have witnessed the large-scale collapse of public trust in global warming science and policy. The warmist’s Climategate emails, relentless propagandizing, refusals to debate, carbon profiteering and lecturing by celebrities who lead lavish lifestyles while preaching austerity for the rest of us, have offended people’s intelligence and sense of fair play. Using a spambot to harass climate realists will do nothing to ingratiate the warming argument with anyone with an open mind.

Should climate realists put up a bot of their own? Should we let the two bots debate each other and leave it to the machines? CFACT knows better. When you interact with our @CFACT account on Twitter, you are talking with a live human being. Science demands an open, honest give and take. So does public policy making in a free republic. Harassment and spam is not the answer. Mr. Leck, tear down this bot!

If you are a real live person, whatever your viewpoint, be sure to follow CFACT on Twitter.

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