Doubts cast over Musk’s Twitter bot claims

New York: Filings made by Elon Musk’s legal team in his battle with Twitter have been questioned by leading bot researchers.

Using the tool, Botometer – an online tool that tracks spam and fake accounts, Musk’s team estimated that 33 per cent of “visible accounts” on the social media platform were “false or spam accounts”.

However, Botometer creator and maintainer, Kaicheng Yang, said the figure “doesn’t mean anything”, a BBC report said.

Yang questioned the methodology used by Musk’s team, and told the BBC they had not approached him before using the tool.

Musk is currently in dispute with Twitter, after trying to pull out of a deal to purchase the company for $44 billion.

A court case is due in October in Delaware, where a judge will rule on whether Musk will have to buy it.

In July, Musk said he no longer wished to purchase the company, as he could not verify how many humans were on the platform.

Since then, the world’s richest person has claimed repeatedly that fake and spam accounts could be many times higher than stated by Twitter.

In his countersuit, made public on August 5, he claimed a third of visible Twitter accounts, assessed by his team, were fake. Using that figure the team estimated that a minimum of 10 per cent of daily active users are bots.

Twitter says it estimates that fewer than 5 per cent of its daily active users are bot accounts.


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