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This article was published on October 7, 2016

‘Arguetron’ is a bot with a simple mission: Slaying Twitter blowhards

‘Arguetron’ is a bot with a simple mission: Slaying Twitter blowhards
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Opinions on Twitter are currency. As you’re probably well aware, this currency isn’t accepted everywhere, or by everyone.

As such, anyone that uses the platform with some regularity has been the victim of a drive-by asshole. These are the accounts that offer no value to a conversation while letting you know how big an idiot you are. It’s a perk if they throw out comments like ‘delete ur account,’ but it doesn’t always happen.

Arguetron wants to slay these assholes. Or, maybe it wants to be one of these assholes. I’m really not sure.

The bot was built with a singular purpose: starting fights. To accomplish this goal, it spouts progressive rhetoric every 10 minutes and lies in wait for drive-by assholes.

Until today, Arguetron had few followers. When you have a limited audience, people have to seek you out to fight by searching for topics that often cause them; feminism and politics are typically a good start.

Arguetron is designed to be ethical. It doesn’t start fights, but if you @reply it, be ready for a battle. Nyberg told Gizmodo:

I view it as just playfully making reactionaries look ridiculous. A lot of people might want to conceptualize this as ‘fighting back against the trolls,’ but… I think it implies some sort of consent to engage in internet warfare, and it’s a really fucked up notion of how to engage and relate with people online.

As with all AI, it’s far from perfect. Since Arguetron is programmed to fight, it often finds itself treating people who agree with it as punching bags.


Imperfections aside, the bot sometimes starts epic threads that go on for hours. On a personal note, I’ve never been able to accomplish that.

Well, except for when I write a negative piece about Apple and am kicked around for being a ‘paid shill’ for Microsoft. Or, sometimes when I write a negative piece about Microsoft and am kicked around for being a ‘paid shill’ for Apple.

I feel your pain Arguetron.

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