New audit backs up Elon Musk’s concerns about fake Twitter accounts

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Currently, more than 22 million Twitter users follow President Biden's official @POTUS account on the service. That might sound impressive — until you stop looking at the newly released results of a Twitter spam audit that revealed almost half of the President's Twitter followers appear to be fake.
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The software company SparkToro put this figure at 49.3 percent of the President's total Twitter followers and defined "fake followers" and Twitter spam as follows: "Spam or fake Twitter accounts are those whose content is not regularly checked out by a human personally tweeting, consuming the activity on their timeline, or engaging in the Twitter ecosystem.”
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Of course, this data comes at an arguably awkward time for Twitter, which Tesla CEO Elon Musk is looking to acquire -- although it seems he's been getting cold feet over the past few days over the very issue. "Twitter deal on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts actually represent less than 5% of users," Musk tweeted on Friday, May 13.
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How many spam accounts are there on Twitter?
The SparkToro numbers seem to shatter this assumption that the number is below 5 percent. The results related to the President's report, well maybe you could explain some of that away with politics. However, here is SparkToro's broader assessment of the Twitter spam problem.
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“From May 13-15, 2022, SparkToro and Followerwonk conducted a rigorous, collaborative analysis of 44,058 public Twitter accounts that were active over the past 90 days,” SparkToro notes in a blog post. “These accounts were mechanically selected at random from over 130 million public, active profiles. Our analysis found that 19.42%, almost four times the Twitter estimate for Q4 2021, fit a conservative definition of fake or spam accounts (i.e. our analysis probably underestimates).”
Elon Musk vs. Twitter spam
For his part, Musk said Tuesday (via a tweet, of course) that his $44 billion bid to buy the company will definitely be on hold until the company can demonstrate that Twitter spam accounts for less than 5 percent of its user base. "My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate," Musk tweeted. “Yesterday the CEO of Twitter publicly refused to provide proof of <5% (spam accounts). This deal can't move forward until he does."
The story goes on

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