With uncertain agreement, Elon Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal debate Twitter bots


In a series of tweets On Monday, Agrawal outlined Twitter’s approach to spam accounts and its challenges.
Twitter (TWTR) suspends “more than half a million spam accounts every day”, Agrawal wrote. He reiterated a long-standing Twitter stat that less than 5% of its daily active users are spam accounts — a stat Musk cited on Friday while announcing his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter was ” temporarily suspended”.
Agrawal mentioned this estimate is based on “several human reviews … of thousands of accounts” randomly sampled, but it is not possible to know externally which accounts are counted on any given day. Twitter has previously acknowledged that while it considers its estimates to be “reasonable”, the metrics have not been independently verified and that the actual number of fake or spam accounts could be higher.
Agrawal’s first 13 tweets received a response from Musk that reflected the unusual and extremely online nature of the deal: a poo emoji.
Musk followed up with a slightly more thoughtful question. “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? » Musk asked “It’s fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he added.
Musk has repeatedly spoken out against bots and spam accounts on Twitter, once describing cryptocurrency spam bots as the “platform’s most annoying problem.” Anyone who knows the replies to Musk’s tweets knows that they are full of such scams, many of which try to capitalize on Musk’s name.
But some analysts believe the world’s richest man could use the bot debate to drive down the price at which he should buy Twitter, whether as a standard trading tactic or out of necessity.

Twitter’s share price has erased all of its gains in the weeks since Musk revealed his stake in the company and is currently trading at $37.39 per share, well below the offer price of Musk of $54.20 per share.

“The bot problem at the end of the day … seems to us more like the ‘dog ate the homework’ excuse to bail out the Twitter deal or talk about a lower price,” Dan Ives and John Katsingris, analysts at Wedbush Securities , wrote in a note on Monday.

Musk appeared to fuel that speculation on Monday, saying a deal to buy Twitter at a lower price wouldn’t be “out of the question,” while launching his own estimate that at least 20% of all Twitter accounts are fake, according to Bloomberg. Musk did not say how he arrived at the number and did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

In his Twitter thread, Agrawal said most spam campaigns on Twitter use a combination of humans and automation, rather than being primarily bot-driven. Analyzing legitimate and fake accounts can be complicated, he said.

“The difficult challenge is that many accounts that appear superficially fake — are actually real people,” he said. mentioned. “And some of the spam accounts that are actually the most dangerous – and cause the most harm to our users – may seem entirely legitimate at first glance.”
Agrawal mentioned Twitter had been in touch with Musk over the spam issue.

“We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and we look forward to continuing the conversation with him and all of you,” he added.


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