This story is both fascinating and scaring. While working on the Web Ecology Project, a social media research project, scientists examined the claimed ability of social media experts to foster communications between people and to increase the amount of followers.
This research had the character of a competition between groups of scientists and some decided to use bots to support their efforts. So socialbots came into space and acted within the communication of the survey group. These bots automaticly retweeted particular messages, which generated @replies, led to more followers and inproved the conversation between real people. For further information about the experiment and the background read the article Twitter Bots Create Surprising New Social Connections.