- Twitter wages war against bots on its platform
- Twitter said it is reviewing “thousands of accounts” at random
- Twitter acknowledges that bots and fake accounts are active on Twitter
The US-based company which owns the micro-blogging platform Twitter said that it is removing 10 lakh spam accounts everyday, in a call with executives Thursday during a briefing that was aimed at shedding additional light on the company’s fake and bot accounts which stands between the company and Elon Musk buy-out deal over “spam bots.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tesla, who had offered a $ 44 billion buyout offer of Twitter (around 3,48,700 crores), threatened to walk out of the deal if Twitter could not prove that under 5% of its Daily Active Users (DAU) are automated spam accounts.
The world’s richeset person argued, without presenting any evidence, that the micro-blogging platform is significantly underestimating the number of “spam bots” – automated accounts which typically promote misinformation and scams – on its platform.
On the call, Twitter said that every quarter, the number of spam accounts represents way under 5% of its total active users. To calculate the percentage of accounts which are malicious and spam Twitter reviews “thousands of accounts” sampled at random and use both private and public data which includes IP Addresses, geolocation, phone numbers along with the behaviour of the account when it is active in order to determine if the account is real or not.
Speaking of the private data, it is not available publically meaning is not available in the data “firehose” that was given to Elon Musk, which only included IP addresses, phone numbers and location.
Twitter said that this private data helps avoid misidentifying real accounts as spam.
Fake social media accounts are not a problem specifically restricted to Twitter, this issue is universal and has been problematic for years. Advertisers, around the globe, rely on the number of users provided by social media platforms to determine where they will spend money. Hence, a lot of times such spam bots are also used to amplify messages and spread disinformation.
Having said that, Twitter noted in the call that not all automated accounts are malicious bots.
In 2021, it came out with a label for automated accounts to identify what Twitter calls “good bots” — such as accounts that send news, health or weather updates, for instance.
Twitter, as well as its investors, know about the issue of fake accounts on its platform, the company said that it had been disclosing the bots estimate on its platform to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for years while cautioning that its estimate could have been too low. Back in June, Twitter offered Musk access to its “firehose” of raw data (including the private data) on hundreds of millions of daily tweets, according to multiple reports at the time. However, neither the company nor Elon Musk confirmed this.