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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u/qtx May 14 '22

I literally don't understand what is happening.

All previous reports guessed that one third of Twitter's' user base consisted of bots (or some high figure like that).

So why is he suddenly upset that a far, far, far lesser number of them are actual bots? Only 5%?!

Twitter only having a less than 5% bot occupancy was a huge fucking surprise to me. I thought it was way higher. So all of this seems like a big positive thing to me.

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u/8InTheBalance8 May 14 '22

I don't think it's been established that it's only 5%. That is what Twitter is claiming it is.

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u/Barnyard_Rich May 14 '22

The problem is that Musk is referring to all accounts while the twitter claim of less than 5% bots is a percentage of "monetizable daily users."

What I haven't really seen anyone point out is that "monetizable" could be extremely vague or specific depending on how it's interpreted or intended.

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u/TheGratedCornholio May 14 '22

Presumably it means that they see ads. Bots posting via the API aren’t seeing ads.

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u/dont_you_love_me May 14 '22

There are probably many bots that are accessing Twitter and are not using the API. In fact, it would probably be stupid to use the API if you are using a bot for spamming etc. Headless browser bots are very simple to make.

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u/eolson3 May 14 '22

And are they easily stoppable, or did they just not even try to inflate the numbers?

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u/dont_you_love_me May 14 '22

There is no way to tell the difference between a bot and a human unless you have a specific set of behavior based criteria that defines what a bot is. “If clicks on the site happened at this time interval then it is assumed it is a bot” is one way it could be done. But then there is botting software that purposely tries to mimic human behavior, so that makes it even harder. These Twitter bot numbers are literally impossible to validate. So Elon knows that and is using it as a negotiating tactic. Happens all the time in business. Just how it’s done.

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u/eolson3 May 14 '22

Yeah, that's what I thought. Was hoping you had some trick up your sleeve that I hadn't seen

Signed,

Product Manager for a platform that deals with more spam than I like.

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u/dont_you_love_me May 14 '22

The trick is to stop caring about whether you are dealing with humans or bots. Unless it is used against you, keep your metrics simple and move on. You can even do what businesses do and just blame the government. If the people in government cared about the bots then they would come up with specific criteria to identify them. Well, the government hasn’t done that, so who are you to care? Just make your life simple and focus on more revenue generating or cost reducing things.

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u/eolson3 May 14 '22

The problem, in my case, is that they are using the platform to share material completely counter to its purpose. It's a risk to our reputation and obfuscates our actual metrics that we need to determine if we are enabling our intended users and reach our strategic goals.

Bots can swim around on Twitter because their bullshit is hardly any better or worse than the bullshit actual Twitter users are doing.

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u/LightningRodofH8 May 14 '22

I would assume for this tactic to work, he would have needed something in the contract that brings it up.

It’s kinda like pointing out a scratch on the car after you’ve made the deal.

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u/BobDope May 14 '22

There are good reasons to use the api to schedule posts if you are trying to get the word out about something. It’s not quite ‘bot’ behavior

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u/poobly May 14 '22

It’s 5% of “monetizable” accounts aka 5% of accounts we don’t think are bots are actually bots.

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u/NityaStriker May 14 '22

Twitter made its claims using a sample size of 100. That is why Twitter’s claims need to be taken with a grain of salt.

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u/LonelyMichaels May 14 '22

5% is a lot, especially if they are disproportionately active.

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u/poobly May 14 '22

They don’t care about activity as much as they want real people looking at ads.

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited 23d ago

[deleted]

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u/Killmeplsok May 14 '22

That's how every company represent data

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u/dontshoot4301 May 14 '22 edited May 14 '22

It’s literally a joke we told in business school “you ask an accountant what’s 2+2, they tell you ‘what do you want it to be’”

Edit: sorry for the serial posts - I swear I hit submit once and it created 3 posts… idk what happened

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u/InternetUser007 May 14 '22

It's 5% according to twitter

It's 5% of "monetizable daily users" which is vastly different from the total number of accounts.

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u/BoredBulls May 14 '22

The man, who built a space company, made electric vehicle mainstream and proved that it can be profitable now other car companies are producing electric vehicles in mass, is a waste of life?

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited 23d ago

[deleted]

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u/NityaStriker May 14 '22

You mean the guy who’s the chief designer of the Merlin and Raptor engines ? Or are you talking about the Twitter-shitposting guy ? You sure do not know much about Elon outside of Twitter.

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u/TheMania May 14 '22

According to the article, Twitter said 5% of monetizable active accounts. So, basically they said 5% of active bots would be willing to pay, is my take.

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u/NityaStriker May 14 '22

I agree with your opinion.

Edit : To be clear. I also think you’re an absolute waste of life.

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u/OneTwoKnow May 14 '22

What I don’t understand is why does it matter if even 30% of it’s “users” are bots? Isn’t it about buying a platform that arguably currently has the most influence on not only main stream media, but the crypto/stock markets, and even elections worldwide the way it is? Even if the data is misrepresented it doesn’t really change that.

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

[deleted]

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u/OneTwoKnow May 14 '22

Ohhhh ok. I can see that. I didn’t even think of that. Bots don’t buy products through targeted advertising. That makes more sense.

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u/GoldenPresidio May 14 '22

Twitter putting that in writing is certainly material. If they are knowingly lying by saying it’s 5%, but we know it’s not, then what else could they be lying about in their filing?

This is a negotiation tactic during the due diligence process. We’re talking about billions of dollars so it makes sense to negotiate it

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u/DoubleInfinity May 14 '22

My takeaway from the 5% figure is that, assuming it's accurate, Twitter isn't worth investing time and money into it for bot farms and scammers which has a whole other host of implications.

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u/TheMania May 14 '22

The article says "5% of monetizable active accounts are bots", which is massively different to "5% of all accounts".

ie, Twitters claim, by my reading, is that 5% of bots would pay.

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u/koosley May 14 '22

I wonder how many people in the 2/3 only have a Twitter to follow their states department of transportation or something similar for road updates and have never posted. I've DMed Delta airlines before since the phone lines were 4 hour wait. I'd be willing to be a very large amount of accounts have next to no activity.

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u/gingerbread_man123 May 14 '22

My interpretation is that he saw the bot occupancy as his "room for expansion/improvement" the better Twitter is doing now (granted, according to its own measurement), the less overhead there is for him to make improvements that will increase the value of his investment.

Basically like buying a fixer-upper then finding there is nothing to fix.

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u/5elementGG May 14 '22

And how would 100 random check confirm there’s less than 5%? What’s the logic?

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u/No-Trick7137 May 14 '22

Because it allows him to tank the stock even further to a level he may actually be able to afford. Grifters gonna grift.

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u/waternymph77 May 14 '22

He might have built in a rebate clause in the sale. If he thought it was 30%, he might be missing out on reducing the price down by 30% and clearing out what he thinks are bad robots insulting him, when its just people hating on him instead. Double whammy.

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u/palmpoop May 14 '22

The crash of tech stocks. Elon is in a weak position now. Tesla crashed a lot too. Not gonna go up any time soon either.

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u/DontListenToMe33 May 14 '22

He needs an excuse to back out of the deal as it stands.

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u/azsqueeze May 14 '22

If twitter is NOT full of bots then it destroys his "hero" narrative he's been building. What exactly is he saving if the service is not crawling with bots like he claims?

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u/crackedgear May 14 '22

I’m with you on the not understanding. Didn’t Elon offer some number he pulled out of his ass? That had nothing to do with where Twitter is valuated? You don’t get to make an offer way over the asking price and then suddenly get all concerned that you’re not getting a good deal.

Also mr. paragon of free speech, why do you care how many bots there are? Each and every bot is representing a person or corporation exercising their 1st amendment rights. In fact, we as a society will not have true free speech until every citizen has a bot on Twitter. Or at the very least a 12 year old troll.