Twitter may be one of the most popular social networking sites around at the moment, but it seems that a good chunk of its popularity is being spurred on by machine bots.

A report by Sysomos Inc shows that "24 per cent or one-quarter of all tweets overall, are generated by very active bots."

These findings come after an in-depth look at the top Twitter users found that 32 per cent of their tweets were generated by machine bots. Using this information and combining it with another report called "Inside Twitter", Sysomos Inc concludes that a quarter of the whole of Twitter is overrun by machines.

Eye opening

"Our findings, particularly the percentage of tweets contributed by bots, is definitely eye-opening and we hope they shed light on how Twitter is used today and by whom," explained Sysomos' Co-founder and Chief Executive Nick Koudas.

"We think this is one of the first reports to focus on the most active members of the Twitter community to provide interesting insight and perspective. We will continue our updates with additional analysis of the micro-blogging service."

Also in its findings, Sysomos Inc found that Fox News tweets the most on a daily basis, followed closely behind by a Japanese mountain bike rider called MO-RIS. As for celebrities, Jonathon Ross seems to be one of the most prolific, contributing to 37.08 tweets a day. That's a lot of tweeting.

Patent problems

In other Twitter news, the service is currently being sued by TechRadium, a Texas-based firm which offers something called Iris, which is a system of message alerts to multiple recipients.

According to the BBC, the firm believes that Twitter is infringing on a few of its patents and is costing the company a lot of money in lost revenue as a result.

This is essentially because Twitter is free and Iris is not, so former partners are opting to use Twitter instead of TechRadium's version.

Via Mashable