We all do a little “faking” on social media – share only the good stories, photoshop those selfies just a bit. Fake bots, however, take the concept to a fraudulent level. They front false accounts with fake personalities, run by humans or click farms with the intent to artificially inflate trending numbers and promote one-sided hype.
Fake bots are not new, and not surprisingly with the ubiquitous presence of social media, they are becoming more prevalent, continuously improving their ability to mimic human behavior on popular platforms.
So it comes as no surprise to tech giant, Elon Musk, that a percentage of accounts on Twitter are comprised of fake bots. What may turn out to be a surprise is how many, exactly, are running their covert operations on the platform.
So far, Twitter isn’t confirming. As for Musk, the prominent founder of Space X and CEO of Tesla, the question is weighty enough that he’s putting his news grabbing purchase of the social media platform on hold until finding the answer.
“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk said in a recent statement. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of less than five percent. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”
Musk’s proposed $44 billion figure for the purchase of Twitter is now in question, and on hold “pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.” At a conference in Miami on Monday, Musk indicated the number of fake accounts could be much higher than 20%.
Because advertising revenue is predicated on the number of actual user accounts, Musk raised the question, “How do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.” Since potential ad revenue is also a critical component of the company’s overall purchase value, Musk isn’t moving forward until further investigation.
What we do know is the prospective new owner of Twitter has vowed to banish fake bots from the social media platform altogether in the interest of free speech and transparency, should he take the helm. Will the mega deal move forward at a negotiated lower price? What will the transaction mean for social media? Read more here.