How does the Dead Internet Theory works

Dead Internet Theory and the interaction with algorithms

The Dead Internet Theory makes it harder to detect if we are interacting with humans or algorithms. In the last years this theory has gained approval on the net. It’s an intriguing theory that indicates that most of the Internet content is made by bots and algorithms and not by human beings.

It sounds like a Ray Bradbury or science fiction story, but the reality is astonishing. Recently we have started talking about bots in social networks as well as generative AI. It’s not easy to discard the Dead Internet Theory when you dwell into the Internet ways of today.

The theory of a bot infested Internet

What is the Dead Internet Theory?

The theory started to grow in discussion forums such as Reddit or 4chan. The users started to share patterns in the online behavior of several websites. They highlight mechanic or unnatural patterns that make you think that you are interacting with a bot. The users also mention repetitive content and low quality in several posts and comments. According to the Dead Internet Theory, these are indicators of bot presence.

According to the Dead Internet Theory, during the last decade most of the Internet content is made by artificial intelligence, bots and other automate forms. Most of the interactions we think are with humans, are in fact with bots in forums, social networks and blog comments.

The defenders of the theory go even beyond and point directly to a conspiration. They indicate that big tech corporations and governments are using the AI technology to manipulate public opinion and user behavior.

Impact of the Dead Internet Theory

A factor that enhanced the theory is the solid proof of automated activity in digital fraud. For example, the portion of web traffic that originates from bots instead of human beings. There are millions of dollars fraud operations like Methbot and 3ve that generated fake add visualizations.

This is proof that Internet content is heavily related to bots. A great portion of web traffic and interactions is made by bots and social networks are one of the fields where AI proliferates.

A 2024 Imperva report reveals that 50% of online traffic is generated by non human sources. Malicious bots represent a third of this type of traffic. The malicious bots development has improved and it’s even harder to detect and prevent their attacks nowadays according to the report.

Unreal commentators and unreal content

Another key element on the Dead Internet Theory is the algorithm influence. It’s common to watch AI generated images on the main social networks such as Facebook or Instagram. It’s like the algorithm prefers AI content above human interaction. The comments on these AI images are also suspicious. Most of them are very complimentary and no one refutes it.

Jason Koebler, a journalist from the American tech portal 404media explains that he tried to contact some of the allegedly users to no avail. During months he tried contacting users that commented on the AI images but he only got 4 strange answers. One said “you’re welcome”, another one answered with a thumb up and then erased the message. There was also a “ok” answer and one who said “Hello Jason, this is my account and it is not a fake” but then it went silent. There’s a strong possibility that the Dead Internet Theory is real. But users should keep paying attention to the signals. Internet is a great tool but the humans who use it are in control, if they can keep calm and analyze what they are reading and watching that’s it.

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