Since joining Twitter a month ago, Liz has tweeted over 5,000 times, sharing her thoughts on everything from systemic racism (it’s real!) to white genocide (it’s not!). If you disagree with Liz, and feel compelled to tweet at her about it, she will — like most Twitter users — respond, mostly with dismissive invective, and go round after round with you until one of you finally gives up. Liz, though, won’t give up. Because Liz isn’t a person. Liz is a bot.
For reasons known only to them, some bigots spend their leisure time searching Twitter for concepts that upset them, then trying to provoke arguments with total strangers. This gives an addictive little thrill to the trolls, but it’s inconvenient at best (and traumatic at worst) for the strangers.
So why not outsource the problem to a bot?
Well-versed in internet bigotry of all stripes, the bot makes simple statements (five or six per hour) designed to rile up 4chan commenters, Breitbart disciples, Trump supporters, anti-vaxxers, “censorship” whiners, Gamergaters, anti-feminists, transphobic Reddit boys, and the rest of the alt-right. The tweets aren’t particularly florid or aggressive, just calculated and crisp. The perfect bait.
Inspired by the work of bot-maker Nora Reed, Arguetron is a simple bot created by Sarah Nyberg built with Cheap Bots Done Quick and JSON. It tweets progressive opinions every ten minutes and lies in wait to be discovered by the platform’s cornucopia of bigots spoiling for a fight.