While there are countless robots on Twitter, usually flooding the network with suspect links, Olivia Taters is a different kind of bot, meant to amuse, not spam. The beloved bot automatically tweeted sometimes profound musings under the guise of a teenage girl. On Saturday, its Twitter account was suspended.
there is only so much i can look at on my phone before i am completely going to be drinking ricin
— olivia taters (@oliviataters) May 8, 2015
In an essay in the New Yorker, Olivia Taters creator Rob Dubbin described Twitter bots as "computer programs that tweet of their own accord," explaining that bots post directly to Twitter through a "code-to-code connection, made possible by Twitter’s wide-open application programming interface, or A.P.I."
It sounds like Twitter suspended Olivia's API access.
olivia taters suspension FAQ: - don't know why it happened - gotta email twitter to get her reinstated - yes an @twitter campaign would help
— Rob Dubbin (@robdubbin) May 9, 2015
Olivia Taters fans rallied on -- where else -- Twitter, starting the "freeolivia" hashtag and directly petitioning Twitter to reinstate the bot. One fan even wrote a protest song inspired by the bot's suspension.
Since Olivia Taters first tweeted in November 2013, the bot has gained notoriety as the one most likely to be mistaken for a human. Its special patois came from how the bot selected text: It looked for tweets that used adverbs --"literally," or "finally," for instance -- then switched the part of the sentence that came after the adverb with a line from another tweet. Dubbin found that the resulting word soup sounded like a teenage girl, and Olivia Taters was born.
Not only did Olivia Taters tweet teenage musings, but it interacted with its followers as well. Sometimes, it connected with other bots. Last summer, it was tweeting with a bot that imitates film producer Keith Calder, and a bot representing Bank of America joined the conversation.
Dubbin has submitted a request for Olivia's reinstatement. Most likely, Olivia was suspended because Twitter tweaked its API to fight off spambots. While Olivia's Twitter page is up at the time of publication, the bot has not tweeted since Saturday.
someone wrote a protest song to help free a teenager made of algorithms from a jail made of other algorithms: your move, science fiction
— Rob Dubbin (@robdubbin) May 10, 2015