Hateful People or Hateful Bots? Detection and Characterization of Bots Spreading Religious Hatred in Arabic Social Media
Arabic Twitter space is crawling with bots that fuel political feuds, spread misinformation, and proliferate sectarian rhetoric. While efforts have long existed to analyze and detect English bots, Arabic bot detection and characterization remains largely understudied. In this work, we contribute new insights into the role of bots in spreading religious hatred on Arabic Twitter and introduce a novel regression model that can accurately identify Arabic language bots. Our assessment shows that existing tools that are highly accurate in detecting English bots don't perform as well on Arabic bots. We identify the possible reasons for this poor performance, perform a thorough analysis of linguistic, content, behavioral and network features, and report on the most informative features that distinguish Arabic bots from humans as well as the differences between Arabic and English bots. Our results mark an important step toward understanding the behavior of malicious bots on Arabic Twitter and pave the way for a more effective Arabic bot detection tools.