One of Elon Musk’s top priorities for Twitter following his $44 billion deal to buy the social media company is cracking down on so-called “spam bots.” One problem with that plan: It would cut his own following nearly in half, quoting Twitter auditing tool SparkToro Time magazine reported.
Spam bots are the “single most annoying problem” on Twitter, Musk tweeted earlier this month.
He later affirmed his commitment to weeding out fake accounts in a statement he gave announcing his deal with Twitter on Monday.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,” he said. “Twitter has tremendous potential—I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
According to Time report, spam bots on Twitter are automated accounts that mimic the activity of real people on the site, but are programmed to engage in malicious activity ranging from spreading misinformation to promoting money-making schemes. Musk has specifically called out bots that promote crypto-based scams on Twitter, complaining in a live TED interview on April 14 that “they make the product much worse.”
“If I had a Dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, we’d have 100 billion Dogecoin,” he said.
While Twitter already has policies in place intended to combat spam bots, security remains a persistent challenge for the platform. Musk has vowed to solve the problem by authenticating “all real humans” on the site, but hasn’t elaborated on how he plans to accomplish that, the report added.
Meanwhile, Musk’s own follower count is significantly boosted by fake accounts. Of Musk’s current 87.9 million followers, SparkToro estimates that roughly 48% are fake—i.e., accounts that are “unreachable and will not see the account’s tweets (either because they’re spam, bots, propaganda, etc. or because they’re no longer active on Twitter).”
“Musk has nearly 7% more fake followers than the median 41% that accounts with a similar sized followings have, SparkToro reports.”