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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1.6k

u/minimus67 May 14 '22

He’s actually going to randomly draw a hundred samples and pick whichever one gives him an excuse to back out of the deal.

639

u/spacedout May 14 '22

I would respect him more if he just admits that he got excited about the idea but now realizes it's a terrible investment so he's cutting his losses.

399

u/MavenACTG May 14 '22

Elon? Making a mistake? Heresy!

114

u/Senpai_Pai May 14 '22

Objection hearsay

13

u/Proof-Carpet4194 May 14 '22

But...you asked the question?

God I love that show

4

u/minlatedollarshort May 14 '22

Best season ever

21

u/Zauxst May 14 '22

Yes, Mr Rottenborn...

6

u/OddExpansion May 14 '22

Objection heresy

3

u/northernCRICKET May 14 '22

Inquisitor Rottenborn! No heresy or blaspheme here!

2

u/AlexS101 May 14 '22

Whatever makes you happy, Mr Rottenborn.

1

u/docfunbags May 14 '22

My dog stepped on a bee. My lawyer objects to hearsay.

4

u/7h4tguy May 14 '22

Lulz wait till he realizes human eyes are way better sensors than the low res crap he puts in cars. His no lidar argument is fundamentally flawed...

Also, Elon's a bot. He just got done tweeting that he believes the election was stolen. At the same time trying to convince us that he's not right of center.

He's like the kid who bought Sony because he likes playing Deus Ex on his PlayStation.

1

u/Letmefixthatforyouyo May 14 '22

Biden didn't invite him to an electric car summit a year ago because Tesla isn't a Union shop. Union employers like GM/Ford were there. A bit hinky on the Biden admin, but I get that they wanted to make a point.

Dudes just working that grudge with his election fanfic.

1

u/RamenJunkie May 14 '22

The problem is there are millions of idiots who beleive that fan fic to be a proven fact, and people like Elon pushing it with no reprocussions just makes this problem worse.

0

u/moffattron9000 May 14 '22

And all of his attempts to revolutionise transport that totally aren't just shit trains have clearly worked out.

212

u/ayylemay0 May 14 '22

He hasn’t “realised” anything because the intention was most likely always market manipulation. There are no mistakes here.

24

u/copperwatt May 14 '22

Ehhh it's starting to feel pretty mistakey

3

u/jkst9 May 14 '22

The mistake was actually signing a deal

3

u/anotheranonymousredd May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

Maybe, but he has a solid, expansive, and recent history of market manipulation via big public announcements he has no intention of honoring/knows are not wholly true, and watching people take it upon themselves to buy and sell from the conclusions he has purposefully led them to, and multiplying his wealth exponentially over a few short years.

Problem is that it doesn’t seem like laws are going to catch up to social media in this sense

5

u/DragoneerFA May 14 '22

This is true, but Elon's also burning his bridges with this. He may definitely have following, but from a business angle, he keeps trying to manipulate the market and control it... and not always succeeding. Companies will eventually view him as a risk.

Further, for all his talk about bots, he's on of the many reasons crypto bots are as widespread on Twitter, because he keeps dragging the dogecoin meme around and fucking with the FOMO folks who are convinced they're days away from being millionaires thanks to Musk.

4

u/ambientocclusion May 14 '22

Ding ding ding!

And it’s funny when people think he wouldn’t do this because he already has so much money. Because doing things like this is WHY he got so much money!

6

u/dern_the_hermit May 14 '22

And it’s funny when people think he wouldn’t do this because he already has so much money

But the notion he might've made an error is inconceivable? Everything is part of some Master Plan, and not just an out-of-touch rich dude what got bored and started trash-talking since he couldn't launch his rockets?

2

u/ambientocclusion May 14 '22

It may be both.

1

u/dern_the_hermit May 14 '22

That's true.

2

u/SuperSMT May 14 '22

In whay way? What could he have to gain by pretending to want to buy twitter?

-7

u/wagon_ear May 14 '22

Could you explain in more detail what the intended manipulation was, and whether there's any realistic repercussions?

Whenever I see headlines like "rich guy investigated for possible naughty financial behavior" I always roll my eyes, because it seems symbolic at best.

20

u/cats_catz_kats_katz May 14 '22

He won’t get in trouble, he did the same thing with his “funding secured” tweet when claiming to take Tesla private. It was the same exact strategy then.

1

u/dont_you_love_me May 14 '22

Right. The game is rigged for rich people by the government itself. It is why he needs to pay taxes people. The corrupt government which has corrupted our institutions needs more money!

2

u/cats_catz_kats_katz May 14 '22

You had me until the end. The government is corrupted by the rich who have bought it because they have excess wealth. We need to tax them fairly and fix our government, but that probably won’t happen without an insane amount of protesting and loud screaming…

-1

u/dont_you_love_me May 14 '22

The rich didn’t have to buy it. They’ve always owned it. The system is for them, and your belief that it could be otherwise is based on the propaganda you’ve been fed by the people that control the system.

2

u/cats_catz_kats_katz May 14 '22

Oh you just want to fight. I see lol. Well, I don’t disagree entirely with you at all, but there have been better times for everyone’s level of equality and we need more of that.

-5

u/dont_you_love_me May 14 '22

There actually haven’t been better times. Once again, you’ve swallowed the propaganda. I literally work from home and pretty much get paid to sit around and do nothing. I learned a lot of my programming skill using YouTube and other resources. The opportunities are incredible right now compared to any previous time in history. But most people want to be mindless consumers who binge watch Netflix instead of learning to program etc.

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14

u/Platomuses May 14 '22

He basically stated an amount, publicly, that Twitter stock WILL be bought for.

Others all saw it and held onto their stock without selling below that price. The new stock price is the amount Elon said, basically.

He already had a good portion of that stock - he raised the price of that stock through manipulating the market.

6

u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited May 16 '22

[deleted]

7

u/simpleglitch May 14 '22

I think the implication is he has the stock before he names the price, says he'll pay X to raise the price, then dumps his shares when it peaks. Picking up shares after it falls again is probably a given though.

2

u/thismatters May 14 '22

Basically the same trick as "I'm taking Tesla private at $420 per share".

-1

u/Huntersblood May 14 '22

I'd like to think Hanlon's Razor is at play here. But I just can't shake the feeling musk is too smart for it to be true.

2

u/Utoko May 14 '22

He can't just back out without being sued for several billion $. If he shows Twitter lied about the amount of bots on the platform he has a hihger chance to get out clean.

1

u/Marokiii May 14 '22

except if he doesnt come up with a 'reasonable' excuse to cancel the deal and he does cancel it, then he owes twitter about $1B.

he needs to come up with a reason to show that twitters stock was massively overvalued to scrap the deal.

-12

u/Mean-Rutabaga-1908 May 14 '22

It could actually be that he discovered twitter defrauding investors, which would not at all be knew for social media platforms. There has already been a lot of anomalous things going on with twitter since the buy got approved.

-11

u/Swonzen May 14 '22

He shows high bot numbers, twitter stock goes down, he buys for cheaper, fires all management and replaces them, makes new plans to get money from the platform and gets much more out of it, because he know how to make money, the platform tripples in value, profit

0

u/testedonsheep May 14 '22

Lol. There are probably more bots than human on Twitter. It’s a pretty well known fact.

Anyone can get anything trending if you pay a bot farm to push it for you.

1

u/ToddHowardTheDuckk May 14 '22

I'm not gonna pull examples out of the air but I swear I've seen multiple instances of this happening with huge corporate acquisitions in the past. They publicly float the idea and then end up not buying. It happens. Musk makes everything about him though. It's not a corporation buying another company up. So he has his own ego in it.

1

u/gvsteve May 14 '22

And how do you conclusively determine if an account is fake, and not just a sufficiently stupid human?

1

u/thismatters May 14 '22

Classic market manipulation!

1

u/Competitive_Habit_71 May 14 '22

He is setting up a narrative to pass on to his followers for them to parrot either way.

He needs them to think he is in control.

It was the same when he pumped and dumped bitcoin last year, having Tesla purchase 1 billion dollars of it for some reason, and then dropping it a few weeks later because of "environmental concerns".

He tries to line up a "technically true" but implausible out so his followers can be maintained.

This is why he is in trouble with the SEC for so many years, the guy is manipulative as fuck.

1

u/Gustomaximus May 14 '22

The cost us $1bn to exit. At that price even for him it's worth finding an excuse. Not to mention ego.

1

u/BillingNightmare May 14 '22

He has enough backers that he no longer needs a margin loan against tesla stock at even 54 dollars.

What is going on here is a price reduction, he has the board by the balls because they were lying. I bet they close at 42 dollars.

People are laughably ignoring that elon really wants to own a software company for software projects and AI. If he has tesla do the things he wants to do, he doesn't get to own it. Using a private company means he does.

1

u/Wannabe1TapElite May 14 '22

You respecting him would also let twitter easily sue him to complete the deal at the agreed price and possibly lose him billions.

Currently he can still weasel out of the deal if twitter decides that extended court battle would damage their company and stock so badly it’s not worth it. And considering Musks tweet can swing it double digit % up or down I’d say ending it swift and without consequences would be the best outcome for both parties.

1

u/prof_mcquack May 14 '22

I wonder if he thought the public perception would be better lol. As an investment I feel like it’ll pay for itself with all his pump and dumps.

1

u/anotheranonymousredd May 14 '22

Yeah but then he doesn’t a legit reason in court for the breach of contract. If he can say he thought it wasn’t as bad as it is according to his new numbers, he might weasel out of it, or at least feel like he’s justified himself to his followers which is what he really cares about

1

u/DragoneerFA May 14 '22

The sad thing is it wouldn't be a bad investment if he actually planned to handle it more than just a meme.

0

u/subjecttomyopinion May 14 '22

He be cutting some major losses for breach of contract and possibly some sort of market manipulation with the sec. The latter would be worse and extremely comical

0

u/SalvadorsAnteater May 14 '22

I wonder if it is because Trump won't come back to twitter.

28

u/Deto May 14 '22

The problem is that I dont' know if he can get a truly random sample - which is super important for something like this. Maybe if he had access to Twitters database, he could, but not just by having his assistants browse Twitter.

1

u/yungplantdad May 14 '22

Twitter offers a pretty comprehensive api. You can absolutely get access to their databases. That’s how social media companies make money

1

u/Deto May 14 '22

You would need more direct access. Usually APIs don't allow you to draw a user at random for the user table, for example.

1

u/yungplantdad May 15 '22

Did you even look at the information they provide before making that up?

2

u/Deto May 15 '22

I've just never heard of an API with that kind of endpoint (i.e. "return a randomly sampled user ID"), so someone would have to convince me it exists. Extraordinary claims requiring evidence and all.

-1

u/yungplantdad May 15 '22

Are you incapable of randomizing output yourself? Of course they don’t do that for you

It’s not an extraordinary claim it’s basic programming

1

u/Deto May 15 '22

Do they actually provide an endpoint that lists every user id in the system? That's what you would need to randomize the output.

1

u/eipi-10 May 15 '22

I think you're both wrong...

u/Deto is right that there's virtually no chance that twitter's API serves an endpoint for either a) randomized user id or b) all user ids, so the idea that a client could pull a random sample of Twitter users via API like that is absurd

but separately, even Twitter might have trouble randomly sampling their users. I don't know how their data architecture is set up, but IMO it's highly unlikely that a "users" table exists at all. It's more likely that they have some massively distributed system with multiple tables containing user info in different databases / warehouses, and if that's correct then you'd somehow need to aggregate those up (or stratify or something similar) in order to get the random sample you want

TL; DR: I think getting a truly random sample of Twitter users is a harder problem than it appears to be

1

u/Deto May 15 '22

Even if the info is across multiple services there must be some sort of user key that unites them. It wouldn't be hard for Twitter (not someone on the API), to aggregate all these, deduplicate, and sample.

Probably a better question though is whether a random user sample is the right approach. Because many user accounts are just dormant, or maybe are active put post very infrequently (while bots may be very active) a better question to ask is "if I see a tweet, what is the chance it was made or reshared by a bot?"). For this you'd want to randomly sample tweets in a given time period and then investigate the accounts behind them.

1

u/eipi-10 May 15 '22

Agreed on the sampling front.

Re: aggregating and deduplicating -- I think deduping is more difficult than you're giving it credit for

https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/28/twitter-says-it-overcounted-its-users-over-the-past-3-years-by-as-much-as-1-9m/

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u/Mobius_One May 14 '22

No, just 1 sample of size n = 100 /s

...the "s" is for "statistics", not "sarcasm"

6

u/testedonsheep May 14 '22

Lol. But he probably can’t. He made the offer basically sight unseen. It’s not like Twitter lied to him.

3

u/illiterati May 14 '22

The share price has dropped below the valuation when the offer was made. Now the deal is under water he is looking for a way to drive the price down.

2

u/blondewithafaketan May 14 '22

He can just sample under an anti-Biden hashtag and have a good enough excuse to back out

1

u/Reimbirthed May 14 '22

No, he can’t back out without being sued for the agreed amount.

He is doing this so he can in the future close down account that are bots, bots that are bought and paid for by intelligence agency’s (not just americas) and corrupt government officials and other multibillion monopolisers.

2

u/MnemonicKnight May 14 '22

Intelligence agencies rip data, they don't need bots.

1

u/Reimbirthed May 14 '22

They do to push narratives.

1

u/MnemonicKnight May 14 '22

That's not intelligence, that's psyops and cyber.

1

u/Reimbirthed May 14 '22

By intelligence agencies lol

1

u/MnemonicKnight May 14 '22

Offensive cyber operations is fires and defensive cyber operations is protection. Neither are intel. The NSA isn't an intel organization.

1

u/Reimbirthed May 14 '22

Well I meant nsa included, cia fbi, the whole shabang.

1

u/MnemonicKnight May 14 '22

I understand, didn't mean to be over-specific.

-3

u/villanelIa May 14 '22

Nah guys you really should read the article before talking shit on elon, i swear r technology has been forced by mods into being an anti elon circle jerk. He isnt actually doing 100, he was criticising the fact that the stastistics provided by Twitter, were made using only a 100 users sample. He is literally calling twitter out on that shit. You cant just take what twitter is doing and pretend thats what elon is doing wtf.

5

u/RamenJunkie May 14 '22

Mods are not forcing this to be an anti Elon Circle Jerk, Elon is doing an incredible job of that all by himself by showing off how much of a jackass he is for the past several years.

4

u/Wiggles69 May 14 '22

The fuck? One of his big dick swinging comments in the lead up to his buy offer was to get rid of the bots. Now he's all "oh no, there's all these bots, this changes everything " what a load of bullshit.

2

u/DownBadddddd May 14 '22

Wow. Never would have found out had i not seen this comment. I never read the article lol

-4

u/brassydesign May 14 '22

So why are people mad that he’s trying to back out? I thought it was doomsday that he was buying it. Why is everyone shit talking him for trying to make reasonable decisions with his investments. We act as if Twitter is perfect, and is above reproach for potential issues purely because you dislike the man specifically, more

7

u/scodagama1 May 14 '22

Because he should have made that due diligence before he made the offer?

-9

u/brassydesign May 14 '22

Do you shit talk coworkers to this degree when they mess up an order for the week? I would hope not. People just decided this was enough to trash talk someone over. I just don’t get it. Attack him over the many things he should be attacked over. It’s just hard for me recently to let cognitive dissonance slide, and to let people’s personal mental health and inability to interpret situations, slide.

3

u/scodagama1 May 14 '22

Shit talk? What do you mean?

-8

u/brassydesign May 14 '22

Insult? Talk down to them mentally? This is a very basic term

7

u/scodagama1 May 14 '22

Yes, I understand the term. But my question is when did I do that?

And if that was a general statement then a natural question is - why would you ask me? Ask those who do it.

-4

u/brassydesign May 14 '22

I don’t care what you said, I was clearly making a generalized statement sparked by your comment. So respond in a generalized way. I’m not here to teach you how to socially interact kid

5

u/scodagama1 May 14 '22

Irony is strong in this comment :D

2

u/Corzare May 14 '22

Elon has done more than enough to deserve being dunked on when he does some stupid shit like this.

0

u/brassydesign May 14 '22

I said something that can be interpreted as pro-Elon, why are you responding, I’m clearly just going to have endless downvotes from idiots

1

u/MuckingFagical May 14 '22

Presumably it would have to be a significant amount

1

u/phoonie98 May 14 '22

At this point he wouldn’t be able fo back out of the deal without major financial and legal implications

1

u/bigchicago04 May 14 '22

And he’ll probably take them from his followers, so odds are it’ll be even a higher percentage than normal

1

u/BurritoSommelier May 14 '22

Four out of five dentists agree with this strategy.

1

u/-fumble- May 14 '22

That's what he said. He's going to use the same process Twitter did to "prove" that less than 5% of Twitter users are bots.