March 24, 2023

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Skeptical about the deal, Elon Musk and CEO Parag Agrawal discuss bots on Twitter

Skeptical about the deal, Elon Musk and CEO Parag Agrawal discuss bots on Twitter

San Francisco
CNN Business

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Elon Musk engage in a discussion about an issue that Musk made central to his proposed purchase of the platform – spam.

at Tweet thread On Monday, Agrawal laid out Twitter’s approach to dealing with spam accounts and the challenges it faces in dealing with them.


Commenting “More than half a million spam accounts every day,” Agrawal books. Repeat long-term statistic from Twitter

That less than 5% of daily active users are spam accounts — a statistic Musk cited on Friday announcing That his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter

It was “temporarily suspended”.

Agrawal She said This estimate is based on “multiple human reviews… of thousands of accounts” sampled at random, but it is not possible to know which accounts are externally accounted for on any given day. Twitter has previously approved that while his estimates are believed to be “reasonable,” the measurements have not been independently verified and the actual number of fake accounts or spam could be higher.

Agrawal’s initial 13 tweet was met with a response from Musk that reflected the extraordinary and extremely adorable nature of the online deal: stool emoji.

I follow Musk with a somewhat more thoughtful question. “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?” musk Requested “This is fundamental to Twitter’s financial health,” he added.

Musk did it over and over again I spoke out against bots and spam accounts On Twitter, he once described crypto-spam bots as “the single most annoying problem” with the platform. Anyone familiar with the responses to Musk’s tweets knows that they are littered with such scams, many of which are trying to take advantage of Musk’s name.

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But some analysts are speculating that the world’s richest man may be using the bot debate to lower the price he’ll have to buy Twitter at, whether as a standard negotiation tactic or out of necessity.

Twitter’s share price wiped out all of its gains in the weeks since Musk disclosed his stake in the company and is currently trading at $37.39 a share — well below Musk’s offer price of $54.20 a share.

“The bots issue at the end of the day … looks to us more like a ‘dog eat homework’ excuse to save a Twitter deal or talk about a lower price,” Dan Ives and John Katsingris, analysts at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note on Monday.

Musk appears to have added fuel to this speculation on Monday, saying a deal to buy Twitter at a lower price would not be “out of the question,” while also brushing off his own estimate that at least 20% of all Twitter accounts are fake, according to for Bloomberg. Musk did not say how he arrived at that number and did not respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.

In his Twitter thread, Agrawal said most Twitter spam campaigns use a combination of humans and automation, rather than being primarily driven by bots. He said analysis through legitimate and fake accounts can be complicated.

“The tough challenge is that many of the accounts that appear to be outwardly fake — are actually real people,” he said. She said. “And some of the spam accounts that are actually the most dangerous – and cause the most harm to our users – can appear completely legitimate on the surface.”

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Agrawal She said Twitter has been in contact with Musk regarding the spam issue.

“We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago, and we look forward to continuing to speak with him and all of you,” he added.