clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Internet traffic from bots surpassed human-generated traffic in 2016

This wasn’t the first year that bots created more traffic than humans online.

Mary Meeker, Code 2017 Asa Mathat

Global traffic generated from bots surpassed human-generated internet traffic last year, Mary Meeker said in her annual internet trends report, delivered at the Code Conference today at the Terranea Resort in California.

Surprisingly, 2016 wasn’t the first year that bots — automated software that can act on its own — created more internet traffic than humans. In 2012 and 2013, bots were also more active on the internet than people.

Bots were a particular problem on Twitter in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, when bots generating pro-Trump related content outnumbered pro-Clinton bots 7 to 1 during the third presidential debate.

The slide shared by Meeker also shows that data breaches that exposed more than 10 million user identities are also on the rise. In 2014, there were 11 data breaches of that size, but in 2016, that number jumped to 15.

Internet Trends Report
Mary Meeker

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.