social media has changed the way we communicate, conduct business, and live our lives. There is no doubt about that. Everyone has a profile on at least one social media website. Since billions of people use these virtual platforms, they've become a favorite target for spammers, marketers, and professional propagandists.

How does spam software work?

Every time a social media website gains momentum, Spam software floods the website with messages and fake user profiles. To simplify, we can divide programmers into two categories: those that design and create a website and those that create software to spam that website.

Bot software is widely available and can easily be purchased online. All one has to do is put the right keywords into Google's search bar and that's it. It's that simple.

And what can this software do? It can fully automate social media activity. A spammer can make hundreds of fake accounts on any given social media website, post messages, add friends, follow other users, leave comments, send private messages, post pictures -- anything a real person can do, bot software can do almost as well.

Granted, corporations and governments probably develop their own software to spam social media websites, but those that are available for commercial use can be bought and used by anyone. Instagram, for example, used to get heavily abused by spammers and they have only recently managed to shut down two of the most popular programs of this kind: Instagress and Mass Planner.

While some journalists have bombastically announced the end of the bot era, this is far from the truth -- dozens of Bots are still available and work well.

Why do they do it?

While most people imagine spammers do what they do just for fun, much like internet trolls sometimes do, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Internet and affiliate markets spam social media websites with product offers, surveys, fake files, affiliate links, links to their own websites -- pretty much anything they can make money on.

If you use social media, some of your followers or "friends" are probably bot accounts. If, for example, someone promising Instagram followers followed you on Instagram, they're probably an affiliate marketer trying to get you to download a file or fill out a survey.

A lot of these fake profiles are sophisticated and seem real, so it's no wonder that even those of us that consider themselves tech-savvy fall for these scams.

The real danger, however, lies in the way governments and corporations abuse social media websites to spread propaganda. It has been speculated that Reddit, one of the most popular websites on the internet, has been the target of government and corporation-made bots.

Social media has made our lives easier, but it seems as though we are still not able to fully control it. That represents a real threat.