If you think the Twitter takeover drama is over, you may be mistaken as the social media platform insists it doesn’t have a bot problem, as alleged by Elon Musk. The company claims it boots more than 1 million spam accounts off the platform daily to keep the user experience good.
The new figure is double what Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal claimed less than two months ago in a Twitter thread addressing bots. However, Twitter still maintains that the amount of bots on its network is less than 5 percent of the total number of users.
Just how many bots are on Twitter has been a bone of contention between Twitter and Musk, who wants to buy it. Musk has said he would back out of the $44 billion deal the two parties had agreed on, claiming Twitter was not honest about the bot issue.
Agrawal attempted to set things straight, backed by “data, facts, and context.” Apart from suspending 500,000 bot accounts daily, Agrawal said Twitter locks millions of accounts each week suspected to be bots. He also explained how Twitter arrived at its 5 percent bots estimate, including the review of thousands of accounts by humans. The accounts are picked randomly and consistently. Twitter also considers IP addresses and locations when deciding whether an account is bot or not.
Meanwhile, Twitter has not explained the discrepancy between the May and most recent figures. While it is not clear whether Twitter has simply updated its data, The Guardian claims the new number includes users that are barred from creating accounts.
Musk claims up to 20 percent of Twitter accounts are bots, but Agrawal has questioned how he got his number without the benefit of data. Twitter, at a point, agreed to give Musk access to the “firehose” API, allowing Musk to see everything posted on the social media network. Twitter also beefed up its reporting system to allow users to flag accounts suspected of being used for spamming.
Meanwhile, Twitter has begun testing a new feature that allows two users to author a single tweet. Known as Co Tweets, both authors will be mentioned in replies to the tweet. The feature is available to select users as the company continues to experiment with it. The test users are picked from the US, Canada, and Korea.
Twitter spokesperson Joseph J. Nuñez said, “We’re continuing to explore new ways for people to collaborate on Twitter. We’re testing CoTweets for a limited time to learn how people and brands may use this feature to grow and reach new audiences and strengthen their collaborations with other accounts.”
A CoTweet will appear simultaneously on the timelines of the authors, and the followers of each can see it. Twitter claims the new feature allows accounts to collaborate and share the limelight. It recommends that co-authors work together on their tweets in the DM before hitting the post button.
One of the authors will invite the other, and the tweet gets posted when the invitation is accepted. Users allowed to test Co Tweets can access the feature from the tweet composer and select their co-author from their list of followers, suggesting that co-authors may have to follow each other.
A similar feature has been available on Instagram since last year. Influencers and corporate accounts are expected to use this feature heavily.