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Elon Musk Demands Transparency on Fake and Spam Accounts for Deal to Move Forward

Elon Musk Demands Transparency on Fake and Spam Accounts for Deal to Move Forward

“Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does."

Elon Musk said his deal to buy Twitter cannot move forward until he has full transparency on the number of fake and spam accounts.

From Bloomberg:

Musk pressed further on that front Monday at a Miami tech conference, estimating that fake users make up at least 20% of all Twitter accounts. That was the low end of his estimate on the number of bots on the network, and he asked rhetorically if it could be as high as 90%, according to a livestreamed video of his remarks posted by a Twitter user.

“Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” Musk said at the conference. “It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.”

Twitter declined to comment. The San Francisco-based company reports quarterly that spam accounts make up less than 5% of total users.

Musk already put the deal on hold over the fake and spam accounts but said he is still committed to buying the platform.


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taurus the judge | May 17, 2022 at 11:08 am

If we are to believe even some of what is in the media…

It would not surprise me in the slightest if Elon did not know ( or suspect) something like this from day 1 and this was part of the overall plan to take over Twitter from the beginning.

Since I personally believe Twitter is both lying and even a left front, it would not surprise me in the slightest that Twitter lies about everything.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to taurus the judge. | May 17, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    I think he did, and this is his way of driving the company into the ground.

      taurus the judge in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | May 17, 2022 at 2:26 pm


      Just a guess here and my personal intuition but…

      I think Trump has known about Twitter being a front for a while. (My belief is that Trump now has an extensive threat assessment of his enemies with their weakness and strengths well defined and targeted)

      I don’t believe Musk is either MAGA or even a right conservative but I do think he is an American (in spirit) with a sense of right and wrong which is good for the day.

      If there was a conversation between Trump and Musk as has been reported, I would bet this was a topic and probably this strategy was hatched then. (Might be why Trump said he wouldn’t go back even when conventional wisdom says Trump obviously has a vested interest in his own company being successful)

      To bring Twitter down ( defined as dropped from what it was in terms of censoring conservatives while promoting the left without reservation) will have an impact almost as significant as Midway was to the Japanese.

      Just a theory

      Musk wants out but doesn’t want to pay the $1B. Twitter cannot win this. Musk used the official numbers Twitter reported to the SEC and collected ad revenue based on those numbers. Twitter thinks they can hold a NDA and break-up fee to keep Musk in check but all Musk has to do is take this to court where discovery would reveal what a crooked operation Twitter truly is. Of course, airing our all of this corruption may be exactly what Musk wants. Why would he want to own Twitter now?

        End PC in reply to Pasadena Phil. | May 18, 2022 at 1:22 pm

        It’s too important for free speech, which IMO Musk really sees as crucial, that Musk buys Twitter soon, even more important than the bots & corruption exposure. This is also the opinion of Liz Peek.

Too simple. Require a cheap two dollar monthly subscription to Twitter for a base 140 character account that still receives all ads. Require monthly user validation at sign in (not a bot test) and a unique payment source for each user. That would eliminate the overwhelming amount of bots.

Additional optional tiers might be 280 character account for a higher monthly subscription fee (plus a blue check!) with more stringent bot check tests and perhaps a reduced ad environment for another level of monthly fee.

Twitter Management is full of crap. There are plenty of ways to reduce bots, they just haven’t adopted them as part of their business model. That they can’t or won’t produce supporting data for their claim that only 5% of users are bots highlights that lack of commitment to reduce or eliminate bots. Very likely tied to their ad revenue which are based on total users.

number crunch | May 17, 2022 at 11:45 am

With social media, it’s either bots and bias or bias and bots; take your pick. The platforms monitor your preferred bias, direct feeds to you to entice an emotional response in an endless feedback loop. Meanwhile, they’re doing the same thing to your friends who share the opposite viewpoint and you’re hooked in a never-ending argument.

Now that the platform employees are in on the game, enforcing their viewpoints on the masses and censoring posts that disagree. Slip in an ad or two to generate a revenue stream for the platform and what could go wrong?

The answer is everything. Our politics are polarized, our youth are radicalized and we’ve seriously taken a directed step away from reality into a fantasy world of subjective emotionalism. It’s exploitation, plain and simple and we’re the schmucks of which the platforms take advantage.

Good for Musk to call them out on all this. Using their own platform to use their own strategies against them is poetic justice. Hope he wins.

Today Gateway Pundit is going back to 2017, when they did a comparison between the Twitter accounts of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
At that time they found that about 30% of Trump’s followers were fake accounts, vs. 34% for Clinton.

Yeah, sure, 5%

Elon Musk doesn’t believe Biden is in conrol. He said, “The real president is whoever is in control of the teleprompter”

With TWTR now selling for a 31% discount to the deal price, the market is saying either the deal does not get done or only with a material cut in the price. If Twitter does not come up with the info, they are in a no-win situation – either the deal is cancelled or the price goes down or advertisers demand lower ad rates.

    txvet2 in reply to jb4. | May 17, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    “”either the deal is cancelled or the price goes down or advertisers demand lower ad rates.””

    Either way, the lawsuits are going to put them in the toilet.

    henrybowman in reply to jb4. | May 17, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Come on, Elon — everybody is waiting for you to say it.


Lotta fraud going on, civil, and possibly criminal.

Could get interesting.

    MajorWood in reply to Petrushka. | May 17, 2022 at 10:42 pm

    This is the best thing going since Oberlin got taken down a number of notches, or The Sandmann Rules. So far two major players have left the building, and depending how this plays out, they could be toxic for a long time. Then we have all of the other social media sites who are also likely juking the numbers big time who are now all running a bit nervous because one of them has been put under a spotlight. I bet a lot of execs in all of the companies are exploring options, and if major stakeholders, they will need to announce any intentions to sell off stock ahead of time. So I think that is where the system will crack first with regard to who else has been less than honest in the numbers game. I hope Mike Judge is paying attention because another season of Silicon Valley could come out of this, but more along the lines of The Big Short

I’d like to see fake, spam and bot defined. The term “bot” confuses me in that a forum I ran 10 years ago had a drop-to-chat module in which an AI-based bot could chat with users on a limited basis. Her name was Lola. Once I set it up and enabled her, she was on her own with no additional intervention from me. So “Bot” as I understand the term, is totally algorithmic. In my (old/low tech) world, they were completely contained in a Flash application and could not post as forum members.

Duplicate accounts ought be identified, too. A retired classmate develops FB business pages and has dozens of email and FB pages to test and promote the sites he develops. Might pay Musk to run the member list against IP addresses to detect duplicate user accounts, and identify throw-away email addresses such as those freely available through mail dot com, etc.

There is just the wife and I here, but we have 6 email addresses between us, together with a twitter account which was required to have a Pinterest page, and an FB account because one of her multi-player games requires it. We actively use just 2 email accounts. I suspect that’s fairly typical these days, what with the threat of being doxxed and cancelled.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Twitter is 90% smoke and mirrors.

    healthguyfsu in reply to MrE. | May 17, 2022 at 2:13 pm

    Was she a showgirl?

      No – the other Lola – by the Kinks.

      The other bot in the chat room was Postal, but he tended to go off at the members who were chatting with Lola, so I deleted him.

    henrybowman in reply to MrE. | May 17, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Many services solve the “multiple address” issue by nagging you to provide your phone number “for account recovery purposes.” Arbitrary email addresses are free; phone numbers, not so much.

      healthguyfsu in reply to henrybowman. | May 18, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      I won’t give them my phone number. They want it after I was banned for speaking up to a particularly prominent blue check grifter who likes to use the tattletale button often and seems to always get her way.

      I said no and will not provide anything until that is removed.

He shouldn’t rely on twitter’s word, because they are flagrant and compulsive liars, but should have an escrowed charge back of up to 60-70% based on his own teams investigation.

I am not signing up until Musk is in charge.

Lucifer Morningstar | May 17, 2022 at 6:54 pm

Elon Musk said his deal to buy Twitter cannot move forward until he has full transparency on the number of fake and spam accounts.

Yep, just as I figured from the beginning. Elon Musk is a big fraud and shit stirrer who had no intention whatsoever of ever buying a controlling interest in Twitter now or in the future. But I will admit it was fun watching the liberal’s heads explode at the thought of Must taking over Twitter. Just too bad he won’t be going through with the transaction.

    henrybowman in reply to Lucifer Morningstar. | May 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    The fat lady has not yet sung. If he plays this right, he may be able to buy Twitter for $39.99 (or two Twitters for just a small additional shipping charge)!

Given this is Biden’s SEC, they won’t dare do anything meaningful to Twitter, and Twitter knows it. All Musk has done here is given Twitter the roadmap to eliminating him: admit to the bots, get a slap on the wrist by the SEC for fraudulent filings, move on without Musk.

RandomCrank | May 18, 2022 at 10:32 pm

Kids, I laugh at you.

1. For thinking that Musk gives a shit about free speech.

2. For taking anything he says at face value.

To put it differently: If Musk is the defender of free speech, that battle has already been lost.