The scientists had applied the so-called Benford’s Law to Social Media data. The results show that the law might be useful to identify fraudulent social media activities.
Benford’s Law says that “in any list of data, numbers beginning with the digit “1” must be much more common than numbers beginning with other digits.” According to the article, this law had been tested and approved in various types of data sets, such as populations of towns, stock-market prices, physical constants, numbers in an issue of Reader’s Digest, and so on.
How to apply the law for social media data? “She looked at the number of friends and followers associated with each user in these data sets and counted the distribution of first digits in the figures.”
The majority of them were in accordance with Benford’s law, but there were two, which deviated. What was the reason? The combination of deviations caused by the functioning of the system and social media activity, caused by bots. For more information, look at the linked article.