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.
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.
“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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