Twitter has a massive problem with automated user bots.
These faux accounts can be controlled by one human user or an algorithm, and there are potentially no limits to the number of automated bots one individual or entity can control.
Governments like Saudi Arabia are notorious for using these spam bots to conduct coordinated attacks on the platform, in an effort to manufacture consent among its population.
In short, the platform represents a national security risk and a threat to a functioning democracy.
Many users on the platform have implored Elon Musk to solve the issue. Musk almost backed out of the Twitter deal over this single issue, citing automated bot counts far beyond Twitter’s purported 5%.
According to Musk, automated accounts potentially make up 20% of the platform’s user base, with speculation that the number could be as high as 90%.
Sources claim that Musk recently told Dave Portnoy that he has a plan to solve the issue, what that plan entails remains to be seen, though some have speculated that he may force users to verify their identity to use the platform.
Here is a quick rundown of the bot issue:
Many users are reporting that they have lost droves of followers recently…
Users wonder if the drastic drop in follower counts reflects the company purging the platform of automated user bots, while others ask if it could be something else.
Twitter has infamously gone on mass purges of conservative and libertarian accounts several times.
Cleaning out bots or breaking networks? Or something else?
— Stacey – Radical Federalist (@ScotsFyre) October 14, 2022
— Lee Humphrey (@tleehumphrey) October 14, 2022
According to Fox Business:
Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool Sports, complained in a tweet to Musk Monday night that he was seeing too many bots on the platform.
“Hey @elonmusk can you please fix these bots on this piece of sh– platform you got tricked into buying. I’m getting bot’d to death,” Portnoy wrote.
Musk responded to Portnoy’s post, saying, “I have a plan.”
Check out the bot responses I get to just a single tweet.
This is completely out of control.
What’s the plan here?
Any thoughts, response would be appreciated. pic.twitter.com/mOTGlj4sCD
— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) October 18, 2022
Just had in influx of twitter bots follow me, all abouts made this month and are following a crap town of people with little followers and activity… this is what @elonmusk had issues with, twitter bots are increasing and no one is doing anything about it.
— RetroActive (@RetroActive80s) October 18, 2022
Engadget previously reported:
We’ve asked Twitter for comment. The company has routinely claimed that bots and fake accounts represent less than five percent of daily users, but hasn’t shared significantly more detail.
Musk put his purchase “temporarily on hold” in mid-May as he sought to confirm that figure.