Nearly one in four of Elon Musk’s Twitter followers is either a spam or a bot, according to researchers.
Musk, who has signaled he may pull out of his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter due to the prevalence of fake bots, has a total of 93.8 million followers on the social media platform.
Of these, more than 23.42% are either fake accounts or spam, according to two research groups whose findings were reported by Business Insider.
SparkToro and Followerwonk conducted an audit of Musk’s Twitter followers.
Both companies said they used a system of 17 red flags. They also deployed an algorithm that scanned 35,000 fake accounts purchased by SparkToro.
The two companies also separately marked 50,000 accounts as not spam.
Musk followers who were flagged for multiple signals were found to be low quality or fake.
The two research firms also estimate that more than 70% of Musk’s followers are accounts that haven’t tweeted in 90 days.
These inactive users, the researchers said, were unlikely to be “authentic users” or “active users who see his tweets.”
Researchers say 73% of Musk’s followers have “spam-related keywords” on their profiles and 71% use locations that don’t match any known location names.
They also say that 41% of Musk’s followers have display names that match spam patterns.
Nearly 70% of Musk’s followers have also been inactive for more than 120 days, according to researchers.
Musk, the CEO of Tesla who is also the world’s richest man, has threatened to walk away from the $44 billion deal if the company doesn’t prove it is cracking down enough on spam and spam accounts. robots.
The San Francisco-based company filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday morning saying it would not allow Musk to walk away from its $44 billion bid for the social media platform.
“Twitter is committed to completing the transaction at the agreed-upon price,” the company said in its filing with the SEC.
The Tesla and SpaceX boss agreed to pay $54.20 per share for the site on April 25, but saw shares fall 30%, closing at $37.15 on Monday.
Musk faces a $1 billion breach fee, as well as the risk of steep legal fees in a breach of contract lawsuit, if he cancels the deal.
Twitter found itself on the defensive after Musk publicly trashed its policies on spam and bot accounts last week.
Parag Agrawal, the company’s CEO, took to Twitter on Monday in a bid to refute Musk’s claim that the social media site allowed spam and bot accounts to run wild.
Spam “harms the experience of real people on Twitter,” he wrote, and the company is “strongly encouraged to detect and remove as much spam as possible, every day.”
“Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong,” Agrawal tweeted.
Musk didn’t seem impressed, tweeting a poo emoji in response. He then commented, “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.
The company admitted in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that about 5% of its 300 million users are fake.
Musk demanded that Agrawal show proof or “This deal can’t move forward until it does,” in a tweet early Tuesday.
He added: “20% fake/spam accounts, when 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher.
Last week, Musk claimed there was “some chance” that the actual number of fake accounts on Twitter “could be over 90% of daily active users”.