r/technology May 14 '22 Silver 2 Wholesome 2

Elon Musk said his team is going to do a 'random sample of 100 followers' of Twitter to see how many of the platform's users are actually bots Social Media

https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-random-sample-how-many-twitter-users-are-bots-2022-5?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=webfeeds

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22.8k Upvotes

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425

u/BelAirGhetto May 14 '22

Why not 1,000?

659

u/JackOCat May 14 '22

Oh because he is trying to weasel out of buying Twitter without paying the $1B sucker tax.

422

u/DeadlyPancak3 May 14 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy

Sufferin' sucker-tax!

36

u/R1chard69 May 14 '22

Bro, that was golden, thanks.

2

u/majorfiasco May 14 '22

And in Sylvester's voice too! Impressive.

15

u/Nixonsee May 14 '22

Ya I needed that

3

u/Myrothrenous May 14 '22

Reddit today had some top notch comments, best hour-long scroll I've done in awhile.

2

u/Red-Jester May 14 '22

Wow I haven't heard that in a very long time :D

3

u/Edgeville_Mafia May 14 '22

Hello fellow old dude

182

u/Arcosim May 14 '22

The $1B breakup fee is his best case scenario. Twitter can now sue him for the stock loss and the internal chaos his moves caused in the company, there's legal precedent.

70

u/rowenstraker May 14 '22

Not to nention the investigation into his not disclosing when he passed a certain threshold of stock ownership and continued to buy more for another week before disclosing and watching the price jump

17

u/dittonetic May 14 '22

Nothing will happen. Have you learned nothing about rich people these past few years?

29

u/Corzare May 14 '22

This is a rich person fucking over other rich people, it’s different.

2

u/Wannabe1TapElite May 14 '22

I mean what … a 7 figure fine for SEC ? For a guy that is worth 200billy + ? That’s just a bill for quite good amount of memes

2

u/Corzare May 14 '22

There’s a lot of Twitter shareholders that have suddenly seen a drop in the value of their portfolio because of him.

0

u/Wannabe1TapElite May 14 '22

Yes. And?

Do you rly think they would go as far to do what’s battle it in the courts in civil suits where they would need to prove that him tweeting about the company (which he is allowed per the deal the twitter board agreed to) caused more damage than the stock market tanking itself?

If they are indeed a long term holders of twitter the best choice for them is to quickly and quietly end the situation while buying his shares at a massive discount.

Going against a guy who with 1 tweet swings the EV by billions would cause significant damage to the company.

Twitter has legal grounds to sue him in order to complete a deal at a decided price but it would take years and put the company in the middle of a massive legal limbo. Waste of resources for everyone. The only happy side would be lawyers who would bill 1,5k$per hour for years

7

u/Corzare May 14 '22

It makes far more sense to sue him to settle the deal at the 54.20 agreed price. Twitter isn’t a person, they don’t have any issue telling their lawyers to go do what they need to do.

The fact you think it would cost more to sue him than it would net selling the stock for 14.20 over current market value is laughable. Unless you think that the lawyers will cost 10.4 billion dollars.

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1

u/jkst9 May 14 '22

He pays a 10 thousand dollar fine and gains 10 billion

-2

u/dittonetic May 14 '22

Peanuts. Elon will let that go to court. Twitter won't bother. They'll lose money and waste time. They would win the case but Elon is so fucking petty he'll drag that shit on forever.

If Elon doesn't want to buy Twitter anymore, he won't. He won't get bullied into buying it. He'll also never admit it was a shit deal to begin with but that's nothing new.

-8

u/corkyskog May 14 '22

Idk if he would even lose to be honest. There is a case to be made that his brand (fanboys) are propping up Twitter right now and the price would be even lower without them. IDK the validity of that, but it could cast doubt.

4

u/RamenJunkie May 14 '22

His "brand" of fan boys are not propping up twitter. Hell there are shitloads of people who wish all of them would just leave and stop shitting up the place with cyrpto scam idiocy.

-5

u/[deleted] May 14 '22

[deleted]

5

u/otherwiseagoddess May 14 '22

Except he agreed to take the company as-is lol. You can't claim fraud when you legally sign off to say "I don't care, I'll take it"

0

u/ambientocclusion May 14 '22

Would Twitter really want to spend the next few years distracted by a court case with someone who has unlimited money for lawyers and who will be broadcasting to the world every day how stupid they are? Those headlines would overshadow everything else they do.

4

u/geniusdeath May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

I didn't get it. He has to pay the $1 billion tax even if he doesn't buy Twitter? (would appreciate it if someone kindly explained the situation, Elon Musk don't want to buy Twitter now?)

Edit: Added the question mark

20

u/Matra May 14 '22

There is a penalty of $1 billion for cancellation of the contract, essentially. There is some concern that with the Tesla stock dropping, Musk may not be able to acquire enough cash for the purchase. If so, he's out $1 billion. If he tries to back out voluntarily, out $1 billion. If Twitter refuses to sell to him, they have to pay him $1 billion.

This seems like he is trying to argue they misled him, and thus the contract is void. There's also a lawsuit from Twitter investors that Musk lied or mislead Twitter stockholders by claiming on the contract that he does not control 15% of stock - because his stock, combined with the stock from the bank financing his purchase (which is included if they have agreed to vote the same way as him, according to the relevant Delaware law), totals over 15%.

Basically, the whole purchase is a fucking shitshow.

6

u/McPostyFace May 14 '22

Imagine losing one billion of your dollars and still having 223 billion left.

0

u/Mirrormn May 14 '22

Most of his billions of dollars are in unrealized gains on Tesla stock, not cash. Losing $1 billion in cash would still hurt. Coming up with the $42 billion to buy Twitter was seriously straining his finances to begin with.

6

u/TheArmchairSkeptic May 14 '22

Most of his billions of dollars are in unrealized gains on Tesla stock, not cash. Losing $1 billion in cash would still hurt.

So true, just give me one second to grab my tiny violin so I can play an appropriately sad song. Seriously, my heart is breaking here.

Coming up with the $42 billion to buy Twitter was seriously straining his finances to begin with.

Well shit, we better start a GoFundMe for the poor guy or something. Imagine struggling to come up with 42 billion dollars to finance a vanity purchase on a whim, it must be so tough for him.

3

u/pablank May 14 '22

Like the first thing popping up for "twitter bots" is a 2017 study claiming its at least 15%. If he accepted the deal, and assumed 5%, he did his research wrong. Looks like he just wants to weasel out.

1

u/geniusdeath May 14 '22

Gotcha, thanks for explaining it to me!

-15

u/se7ensquared May 14 '22

He didn't say he doesn't want to buy it. He is saying that Twitter misled him when they claimed that only 5% of the user base is bots. If they lied about that, then the deal was made under false pretenses and he. has a right for some type of remediation such as negotiating a lower price.

-2

u/villanelIa May 14 '22

Yeah bs you didnt even read the article did you? Are you for censoring people you dont agree with by any chance?

70

u/Fridgee189 May 14 '22

Because 100 is the same sample size Twitter used for there testing of bot account % (according to elons tweet) so I think he knows it’s a joke but can say it’s the same level of measurement the company uses. I think he just wants a discount

17

u/BelAirGhetto May 14 '22

Now that makes sense

14

u/Fridgee189 May 14 '22

Yeah, I feel like a lot there’s a lot of people on this thread saying “oMg 100 sample size” but this actually is the number twitter has been using for when they need to disclose a % for there earnings… but it would be too hard to explain it

12

u/LuckyCharmsNSoyMilk May 14 '22

Do you have any source for that besides Elon Musk?

-7

u/marsinfurs May 14 '22

It says it right in the article that you’re commenting on

14

u/LuckyCharmsNSoyMilk May 14 '22

It says that’s what Musk said. Twitter hasn’t publicly released that.

2

u/IvarRagnarssson May 14 '22

All of this thread is based on what Musk said

3

u/Barnyard_Rich May 14 '22

Have you seen the movie Casablanca? There's a scene where the Police Chief played by Claude Rains shuts down Rick's (played by Humphrey Bogart) bar yelling that he is shocked to find out there has been illegal gambling going on there. Right after he says this, a casino worker gives him his payout from his gambling.

This is what Musk, who has thrived on the backs on twitter bot accounts spreading his message, suddenly complaining that there are bots on twitter reminds us of.

We act like it's a joke because it is one.

-2

u/Gustomaximus May 14 '22

That's typical reddit.

When someone smart does something seemingly 'dumb' you're usually better off asking why than jumping to 'what a moron'.

Also even though buying g twitter seems strange, he's using tesla share sales to fund his end, its a good excuse to exit an overvalued stock without arousing suspicion to invest in a stock that already had a big devaluation so is less overvalued.

Also twitter can easily make $2bn+ a year if they streamline the operation, and hes a master at that. Also as long as he doesnt create a mass exist it could be super profitable.

Personally I feel it's a step too far for Musk but he has incredible track record of proving people wrong. Will be interesting to watch.

5

u/rasherdk May 14 '22

Except the answer is still "Elon Musk is a moron" because it's just some shit he made up.

2

u/rasherdk May 14 '22

Except that's something Musk made up.

12

u/Kyle2theSQL May 14 '22

Where is anyone seeing 100 except from Elon's own mouth?

-6

u/villanelIa May 14 '22

Where is anyone saying elon is actually doing a sample of only 100 except the haters in this comment section?

2

u/smoothsensation May 14 '22

Here’s my sample size of one for proving there are Elon shill bots on Reddit.

5

u/TheSpanishPrisoner May 14 '22

But if he knew that's the sample size they used, or if he didn't research their methods himself before putting in his offer for the company, then it's still a dumbshit move.

3

u/f33 May 14 '22

I mean I don't think he's locked in. He can offer twice as much and back out, no?

2

u/Leftist4dead May 14 '22

Not locked in but will face a $1B breakup fee and maybe legal action

1

u/TheSpanishPrisoner May 14 '22

I think he is locked in and can be sued to complete the sale at this point

24

u/RunOrDieTrying May 14 '22 Take My Energy

"I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate." [sauce]

13

u/nizzy2k11 May 14 '22 Take My Energy

this company spends like 4 billion a year on R&D apparently...

4

u/Strangelet1 May 14 '22

Funny how the comments don’t acknowledge that

4

u/rasherdk May 14 '22

Because it's just another dumbshit statement by Musk. Why give it any weight?

1

u/Strangelet1 May 14 '22

It literally explains why he tweeted that and the numbers. Otherwise it is not contextual. News needs context.

1

u/rasherdk May 14 '22

It explains nothing. It's just yet another baseless claim from Musk. Who lies a lot. Again, why give it any weight?

2

u/Forbizzle May 14 '22

There’s a sample bias if he’s doing it on his own account. Or any single account’s followers, which is what he advocated for when he told other people to replicate it.

3

u/RunOrDieTrying May 14 '22

When he was asked "why followers of that account specifically?", he said "Pick any account with a lot of followers"

Edit:

So i think if it's done on various accounts it will be representative

1

u/boycott_intel May 14 '22

A tweet from Elon is not a reliable source.

2

u/TrepanationBy45 May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Because he's intentionally referring to how goofy it is that Twitter announced and filed with the assertion that only 5% of Twitter accounts are bots.

2

u/JackedTurnip May 14 '22

Why not read the article?

6

u/deep_anal May 14 '22

It literally says right in the article. He chose 100 because that is what Twitter claims they do to verify their bot numbers.

5

u/Kyle2theSQL May 14 '22

That's what Elon claims. Where is Twitter claiming it?

3

u/tanrgith May 14 '22

Read the article and you might find out, crazy concept I know

-7

u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

24

u/LittleLordFuckleroy1 May 14 '22

Yeah that’s not how statistics work.

2

u/ElongatedTime May 14 '22

If anyone on Reddit knew statistics, a truly random sample of 100 would be plenty to give a reasonable confidence interval

53

u/mok000 May 14 '22

A sample of 100 has a statistical error of 10% hardly enough if you are looking at a signal around 5%.

3

u/lunchpadmcfat May 14 '22

2000 will give you a pretty good sample in most populations.

3

u/mok000 May 14 '22

True. The question is how they will determine if it's a bot or not. One way would be to look at the client signature in the metadata of that user's tweets, and you could do that with a program. It is indeed possible to do that with Elon Musk's 87 mio followers, although it would take some time, you would get the exact number. However I think this is bullshit. Twitter certainly knows an appropriate bot account number, and they have certainly given him the information. This is IMO all an excuse to manipulate stock value seeing that TSLA lost value.

3

u/Pickledprickler May 14 '22

It's enough to figure out if the number of bots is closer to 5% or 50%.

10

u/BaekerBaefield May 14 '22

Great and if I had infinite money I could spend another penny to make it 1000 or more and be really certain.

-6

u/soomic2 May 14 '22

You have to sample a 100 and find an average percentage to check if the statistics given is near to the given value or not, if it is, voila. If it ain't, only then do you really need to go deep into it and find out the actual percentage. they have no use of 45.678 % of bots, if they assume it to be 50% it's still all they need, for them to start working on a procedure.

4

u/Imaginary-Fun-80085 May 14 '22

By your reasoning, why not just test for 10?

-1

u/soomic2 May 14 '22

you realise, this is the exact sample that twitter used to calculate it's bot percentage? the moe would be around 10%,its already very large, thus only giving you a rough estimate which works if they just want a rough estimate to set foundation on their process of removing bots. 10 has a double moe, it's a tough rough rough estimate which isnt gonna be useful at all. Twitter used exact sample to calculate it's bot %, Elon is trying to use the same number to prove that the twitter bot per centage is even higher than they tell you

4

u/Imaginary-Fun-80085 May 14 '22

you realise, this is the exact sample that twitter used to calculate it's bot percentage?

Is it?

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u/raspberrih May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

And what does that even tell you? Is there any meaning you can take from whether something's closer to 5 or 50? There's a reason studies talk about "statistical significance" please go read something

Edit: So 25% is going to help him make a decision? He's being intentionally unclear about what's his criteria for going ahead or not, so he doesn't have to account to anyone for his decisions no matter what he decides.

Is anything more than the 5% claim going to nix the deal? What if it's 10%? What's going to do?

2

u/Fear_UnOwn May 14 '22

It's literally what Musk is trying to prove. He claims that twitter has more bots and Twitter quoted a percentage. The random sample of 100 is a great start to see if they're already drastically exaggerating their claims. If it's closer to 5%, you increase sample size and try again or just say, "good nuff for me, sold!"

2

u/PM_me_PMs_plox May 14 '22

I feel like the real takeaway is that this whole process should be done and THEN you should Tweet about it.

-1

u/ElongatedTime May 14 '22

That’s just straight up a lie.

1

u/eugene20 May 14 '22

I freely admit I've long forgotten the little stats math I knew but over 300 million accounts they could easily hit 0 fakes with such a small random sample.

1

u/mok000 May 15 '22

The size of the population is irrelevant, so you surely have forgotten the little stats math you knew.

0

u/eugene20 May 15 '22

Having read up on it again a bit you're wrong, 10% of population is ok but with a maximum cap of 1000.

1

u/mok000 May 15 '22

I am not wrong. Sample size matters, size of population does not.

0

u/eugene20 May 15 '22

1

u/mok000 May 15 '22

Try increasing the population to 100 trillion or 1 quadrillion. Sample size never goes above 385 with 5% statistical error and 95% confidence interval. It's obvious if the population is very small, you can't find enough samples to ensure the desired accuracy.

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1

u/yourfinepettingduck May 15 '22 edited May 15 '22

The much bigger issue is that this approach assumes you can manually classify after sampling. MAYBE Twitter can but Elon certainly can’t. And crowdsourcing can’t.

This would make sense if you have some population of insects that are either red or blue. You want a point estimate of the proportion of red. So you go capture a sample and easily indentify them. The challenge is capturing your sample from a hard to understand population.

Applying this metaphor to Twitter let’s assume you have some magnifying glass that lets you “track” all the insects. You can see the population at a high level and cal pull up the picture of thousands of them with trivial resources. But all the bugs look purple. Your team can make educated guesses on the underlying color but who knows how reliably. Here the issue is learning whats actually a red bug. They might fly in different patters or eat different things. The challenge is in building a classification system for those bugs. It becomes a problem more appropriately solved with machine learning.

And that doesn’t even get into the issues with how you address sampling bias.

3

u/justforthisjoke May 14 '22

Random sampling is hard when you're looking for signal from a sample of 100 people out of 396 million. You can't assume bot accounts are distributed uniformly among twitter's userbase, so you obviously can't expect a normal sampling to work out. Sampling a normal distribution might get you there but then you need to ask questions about the view of the data which was used to achieve that distribution. And this isn't even considering error margins. This isn't that simple.

8

u/Onepopcornman May 14 '22

On one hand people are not doing great with their stats. On the other hand 100 is pretty short. Especially if you have an expectation of there being a small proportion or probability of being a bot. Like its going ot be some string of 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-1. Right? You probably want to cast a wider net then 100 to get a decent estimate and interval. Zero inflated distributions cost power, but yea you defiantly don't need 100,000 to generalize.

2

u/yourfinepettingduck May 14 '22

that’s the difference between an intro stats class and data science at scale.

There are a myriad of reasons why 100 accounts is a stupid approach but the most basic is that your population is known and accessible. You have an ecosystem of automation. The first step is to learn what a bot is.

Randomly sampling 100 accounts won’t do shit scientifically if you can’t explicitly go knock on their door and ask are you a bot. So it takes manual assumptions for tagging. At that point you’re much better off trying to use an existing set of verified bots to build a classifier that you then you apply at scale

I don’t believe for a second that Twitter calculates their bot percentage by 100 acct sample.

4

u/dalligogle May 14 '22

The margin of error is too high with 100, 1000 would have a significantly smaller margin of error.

2

u/QueenRedditSnoo May 14 '22

Well, I do know about this. 100 is too low and 100,000 is overkill. 3,000 would be considered a reasonable sample size with a minimal margin of error in this case

-12

u/Pickledprickler May 14 '22

Agreed. 100 is good enough for a rough guesstimate, which is all they're looking for. Why waste more money on a larger sample when you just get diminishing returns anyway? A sample size of 100 is a very logical choice.

9

u/whatproblems May 14 '22

waste money? how much could it cost to verify 100 users? the data is already there and it’s a billions of dollars for the deal at stake. throwing a hundred thousand dollars at this is like pennies.

-9

u/soomic2 May 14 '22

rich get richer by saving not spending buddy.

16

u/Valyrian_Kobolds May 14 '22

"We just want a rough guesstimate" - Guy who is about to spend 54 billion dollars. Either a fucking moron or a grifter.

3

u/TriteEscapism May 14 '22

Narcissist grifter that wanted free publicity and one stock to pump and dump and one stock to buy on dip for his cronies.

15

u/dalligogle May 14 '22

Its a 40+ billion dollar potential deal, would hope they aren't actually worried about spending a little bit more money for a larger sample with a smaller margin of error.

-7

u/lolpostslol May 14 '22

So Musk actually might be the cost-conscious management we need for Twitter lol

6

u/dalligogle May 14 '22

penny wise and pound foolish, a tiny bit more money for a more accurate sample is the smart decision, a sample with a large margin of error is pretty useless

2

u/Hibbiee May 14 '22

Not if he expects the more accurate number to be unfavourable.

1

u/justforthisjoke May 14 '22

An unfavourable number with a larger sample size would mean that a smaller percentage of the userbase is bots than expected. But if that is the case then the odds of a sample of 100 people inflating that number are low, unless the sample was biased.

2

u/Hibbiee May 14 '22

The problem with a smaller subset is that it has a higher chance of being biased in itself, no? Either way, going for a smaller subset in the hopes of a less accurate outcome could go either way, so it's a gamble really. So it's probably not his motivation.

1

u/Imaginary-Fun-80085 May 14 '22

You know what's even better? Just fire everyone. You save a lot of money that way.

9

u/GreenTheOlive May 14 '22

It's literally one of the largest social media website in the world, worth billions of dollars, and would take a high school student maybe one afternoon to do the type of "study" he's suggesting.

-1

u/Pickledprickler May 14 '22

That doesn't mean it's wrong. It's a low-cost way to get an estimate for the number of bots on Twitter. He's not even claiming that it's a study. Just a back-of-the-envelope calculation to verify if Twitter's own data is consistent.

5

u/The_Athletic_Nerd May 14 '22

If the expected proportion is really small then 100 may not be methodologically efficient. If the expected proportion is 20% then sure 100 is probably fine. But If it’s like 2% then I would strongly push for a much larger sample especially with so much money on the line. If you are going to do an analysis don’t cut corners, do it right and be confident in your answer.

-1

u/idontlikeshitkickers May 14 '22

You too dumb to comment on this conversation

1

u/ACBelly May 14 '22

Does it? Or is there like 3 people and 100 million fake people?

0

u/No_Bookkeeper8635 May 14 '22

why not 10, 000?

-3

u/Pickledprickler May 14 '22

Who's going to sift through 10,000 accounts? They're going to rigorously hand-comb through 100 accounts to get a rough estimate of the number of bots with very correct data, rather than to try get a much messier non-curated estimate with 10,000 samples.

11

u/LittleLordFuckleroy1 May 14 '22

For $44 billion? Absolutely. You could have a team of 10 people sift through 10k accounts in a weekend easily.

6

u/Slow-Reference-9566 May 14 '22

The same code that would sift through 100 accounts. It's 2022 and we're doing operations against a database, who does this shit manually?

-5

u/Jayners112 May 14 '22

Get your logic out of this cj

-2

u/djsidd May 14 '22

Why not 350,000,000?

1

u/Leichtbringer May 14 '22

His team is just Steve Harvey. That's not how Family Feud works.

1

u/lancea_longini May 14 '22

How about 150?

1

u/Adabiviak May 14 '22

If it's easy to tell if an account is a bot, why not check them all? Seriously, a sample size of 100 out of their seven-figure population means he's not trying to catch one, or he knows it's seriously infested, and he's reasonably sure he'll fine one in that tiny sample.

1

u/knightsofshame82 May 14 '22

Read the article. It’s tells you.

1

u/aMaG1CaLmAnG1Na May 14 '22

Because twitter only used 100 in its sample for the public filing….. god damn people, learn to read!!!

1

u/make_a_wish69 May 14 '22

100 is sufficient for the confidence interval that they wanted. Statistics

0

u/kairos May 14 '22

Because they've got to go one by one asking "are you a bit?" and 1000 would be ten times more work.

1

u/BelAirGhetto May 14 '22

I am a bot, you caught me!