Twitter Bot Concerns: How Many of Elon Musk’s 96.7 Million Twitter Followers Are Real?

Twitter Bot Concerns: How Many of Elon Musk’s 96.7 Million Twitter Followers Are Real?
Elon Musk's Twitter account with a Twitter logo in the background in Los Angeles, Calif., on May 13, 2022. (Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images)
Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk’s war on Twitter Inc. bots is shaped by an extraordinary number of spam or autonomous agents that engage with him on the platform.

What Happened

Nearly 70 percent of Musk’s followers on Twitter are spam, fake or inactive, according to a Wall Street Journal report, which cited data from SparkToro LLC, a purveyor of audience-research software.

That compares with 41 percent for all other accounts that have between 65 million and 120 million followers, according to SparkToro.

The average Twitter user has less than 100 flowers, and fewer than 10 percent are fake or spam accounts, the study indicated, according to the Journal.

Musk has 96.7 million followers on Twitter, a sizable following, although well behind former President Barack Obama’s 131.7 million followers, the most on the platform.

Singer-songwriter Justin Bieber, who has 114.4 million followers, comes at second. Katy Perry and Rihanna are at No. 3 and No. 4, with 108.9 million and 106.15 million followers, respectively, according to Statista data.

Why It Matters

Musk’s frequent use of Twitter has made him a lightning pole for handles looking to distribute spam and other suspect content, as per the Journal.

The billionaire entrepreneur, who is pursuing a $44 billion takeover of the microblogging site, has pledged war against Twitter spam and bots.

He has been at loggerheads with Twitter over its estimate that fewer than 5 percent of its monetizable daily active users are false or spam accounts.

Musk has said he believes at least 20 percent of all Twitter accounts are fake and could be as high as 90 percent, and that Twitter refused to explain how they arrived at their estimate.

The Tesla CEO has said he would not move ahead with the deal unless Twitter comes clean about the figure.

By Shivdeep Dhaliwal
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