TorfsBot

TorfsBot is a bot that automatically imitates the tweets of Rik Torfs on Twitter. It has been the most widely followed Belgian Twitterbot for several years.

Rik Torfs Tweets style

The bot imitates the writing style of professor Rik Torfs, who is the ex-rector of the KU Leuven. Rik Torfs is well known on Twitter for his (semi-)philosophical tweets, which usually contain a subtle quip.

Some example tweets of real Rik Torfs himself:

This style is sometimes imitates by Twitter users on the hashtag #tweetenzoalsrik. Rik also regularly writes columns in national newspapers, which along with his tweets serve as the training data for the bot.

TorfsBot Tweets

TorfsBot tweets about five times a day, and randomly chooses the moments to post.

The bot works by learning which words usually follow which other words in Rik Torfs' texts, and constantly predicting the next word to form full sentences.

Alternatively, the bot also sometimes fills in several new context words into tweets of Rik Torfs.

TorfsBot prefers tweeting shorter tweets, since there are usually more interesting.

TorfsBot also "reads" Flemish news sources, and is thus able to comment on the news just like the real Rik Torfs usually does.

Replies

While real Rik Torfs never replies to tweets, Torfsbot almost always answers every tweet

To reply, TorfsBot generates thousands of possible replies, and then picks a reply that contextually fits the conversation, based on keywords used throughout the conversation and the length of the last tweet.

It is also clear that TorfsBot picks up on the words "erger" and "ik" to reply to the tweet commenting on Rik Torfs' rector re-election loss:

Discussions with real Rik Torfs

With a reasonably low probability, TorfsBot will comment on tweets of Rik Torfs, giving rise to interesting (albeit one-sided) "discussions" between the two.

View TorfsBot

Metadata

Related publication

Media mentions

Back to projects