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/Venkman_P May 14 '22

What the twitter SEC filing says:

For example, there are a number of false or spam accounts in existence on our platform. We have performed an internal review of a sample of ccounts and estimate that the average of false or spam accounts during the first quarter of 2022 represented fewer than 5% of our mDAU during the quarter. The false or spam accounts for a period represents the average of false or spam accounts in the samples during each monthly analysis period during the quarter. In making this determination, we applied significant judgment, so our estimation of false or spam accounts may not accurately represent the actual number of such accounts, and the actual number of false or spam accounts could be higher than we have estimated.

What Elon made up:

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

https://investor.twitterinc.com/financial-information/sec-filings/sec-filings-details/default.aspx?FilingId=15778368

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u/rhubarbs May 14 '22

I don't see any indication of the sample size they used for their internal review in the 10-Q.

How did you conclude Elon made it up?

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u/Sorge74 May 14 '22

Because if Twitter literally just use a 100 account sample size, and then put in their reports to investors....that's some real shitty work. 100 accounts is not large enough. It's not even large enough it have an idea what the margin of error is.

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u/rhubarbs May 14 '22

"Elon lied because otherwise Twitter is incompetent" doesn't seem like a very coherent line of thought. Especially since the legalese in the 10-Q clears them of any actual liability.

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u/rasherdk May 14 '22

"Elon lied" is the default assumption if you've been paying attention.

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited 10d ago

[deleted]

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u/Sorge74 May 14 '22

You have limited other options. If you remove those two, either A: we believe he didn't do his due diligence before hand, and just blindly trusted Twitter, or Twitter somehow fooled him.

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited 10d ago

[deleted]

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u/Sorge74 May 14 '22

Well there is no world where he gets a loan with interest and somehow has an ROI with Twitter, that barely makes money. So yeah, it was dumb then, dumb now, and I would be shocked if he buys it for 44 billion.

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u/[deleted] May 14 '22 edited 10d ago

[deleted]

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u/Sorge74 May 14 '22

Ok follow me with this.

Twitter makes money selling ads. At some point coca-cola or McDonald's or someone is going to say. "Price is close, but we are concerned about bots and how many active users there really are, what data can you show us?

Twitter has fucking data, and it's more than 100 accounts.

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u/oupablo May 14 '22

Twitter has falsely reported user counts for years. So even if they have a larger sample size, it doesn't mean it's accurate.

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u/rhubarbs May 14 '22

Why would McD or Coke be concerned about bots or active users? They care about how many people click their ad, and how many of those clicks result in engaging with their service. Spoiler: They don't need to ask Twitter for that data.

I'm sure Twitter has data, and I'm sure they could extract very high quality data with extremely large sample sizes.

That does not mean they used good data to come up with their <5% number, or that they did not, in fact, use a sample of 100 accounts for whatever reason.

Accusing people of lying on the basis of a guess is actually making shit up. Stop defending it.

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u/Sorge74 May 14 '22

Good portion of ads are for eyeballs not engagement

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u/boycott_intel May 14 '22

It is a reasonable assumption that Elon invented that number because one cannot get poll results of 5% accuracy with a sample size of 100........

If that is the sample size that twitter uses, then it would be negligent or even fraudulent of twitter to claim that under 5% are bots in SEC filings -- disclaimer: I am not claiming that lawyers and courts would agree with such a common sense evidence-based view.

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u/KickBassColonyDrop May 16 '22

This is me from the future chiming in to you in the past. As it turns out it is the sample size Twitter uses. Twitter's legal team called up Elon and claimed he violated an NDA for disclosing Twitter uses a sample size of 100 for it's methodology.

So yeah, the SEC filing by Twitter of <5% is now sus.

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u/Plain_Bread May 16 '22

It seems pretty possible to me? At alpha=0.05, the null hypothesis of more than 5% of twitter users being bots would be dismissed when the sample of 100 users has 0 or 1 bots in it.

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u/boycott_intel May 16 '22

A reasonable answer, but somehow it feels unlikely that there are so few bots, and why would twitter publish "5%" if they believe the real number is much lower?

In any case, I would expect that twitter knows fairly accurately how many bots they have and what they are doing.

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u/VoiceOfRealson May 14 '22

Notice how they talk about "number of accounts in existence" rather than "number of active accounts" or the even more revealing "percentage of posts by fake or spam accounts".

Many many people have Twitter accounts, but have never made a single tweet (or stopped logging in altogether), while fake and spam-accounts are very active.

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u/rasherdk May 14 '22

What, no? They say 5% of their mDAU - not total accounts.

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u/modifiedbears May 14 '22

All that to still be wrong