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Twitter says it’s culling 1 million bot accounts per day

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By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

July 8, 2022 | 5 min read

Twitter stated that it is removing around 1 million spam accounts every day. It specified that much of that filtering takes place during sign-up, long before those spam accounts make it to anybody’s live feed.

A colour corrected blue bird on a greyscale branch, representing the Twitter logo

Twitter is adopting a new model of transparency to counter Musk’s claims of underreported levels of bots / Boris Smokrovic

It represents a doubling of Twitter chief executive officer Parag Agwaral’s statement in May that it was removing around 500,000 accounts per day because of spam. The company has remained consistent in stating that only around 5% of its total user base is spam bots.

The revelation came in response to Elon Musk stating that the social network had failed to disclose the true number of bots on its platform.

That figure is in line with estimates from Facebook, which stated in its Q1 2022 report that around 5% of its total monthly active users were fake accounts. Over the course of that quarter it removed 1.6 billion fake accounts.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of spam accounts Twitter catches relate to cryptocurrency or pornography. It has been suggested that Musk’s suspicions around the level of bots is due to his regular tweets about cryptocurrency, which would attract those bots in greater proportion.

Twitter employs both automated and manual checks for spam and otherwise harmful content from users on the platform. While its number of active users is smaller than many other social networks, it is seen as disproportionately influential, particularly for politicians and journalists.

The relationship between Musk and Twitter has been contentious from the beginning. The billionaire has claimed that he is a “free speech absolutist,” and would enforce that policy were he to complete the buyout. Social media experts have pointed out that would potentially cause issues for Twitter, which has been attempting to sanitize itself for the sake of brand advertising for years. It has also been noted that Musk’s statements on the topic are contradictory.

For the moment the deal is still on the table, though it has been speculated that Musk’s actions are designed to drive Twitter’s price down to secure himself favorable terms. This latest point of contention has been ongoing since May.

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