Explanation-What are these spambots that Musk has pledged to defeat or die trying?


Billionaire Elon Musk suspended his $44 billion takeover plan for Twitter Inc on Friday as he awaited details on the microblogging platform’s claim that fake accounts account for less than 5% of users.

Musk, who has made eliminating fake Twitter accounts and spam bots the central theme of his takeover plan, said if he bought the social media platform, he would “defeat the spam bots or die in trying”.

He consistently blamed the company’s overreliance on advertising for the relentless spread of spambots.

Twitter, like other social media companies, has battled spambots for the past few years with software that spots and blocks them.

So what are spambots and what is considered a fake Twitter account?

Spammers or fake accounts are designed to artificially manipulate or stimulate activity on social media platforms such as Twitter.

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If accounts on the platform engage in “massive, aggressive, or deceptive activities that mislead people,” then those activities are considered manipulation of the platform, according to company policy.

Accounts that overlap and share similar content, mass registrations of accounts, use of automated or coordinated accounts to create false engagements, and swapping of followers are listed as violations of the Anti-Spam Policy of Twitter.

A Twitter survey conducted in four countries showed that users’ main concern was the existence of “too many bots or fake accounts”.

How does Twitter detect fake accounts?

Twitter has a team that identifies real people and bots on its platform. The company uses machine learning and investigators to recognize patterns of malicious activity.

The algorithms challenge 5-10 million accounts per week.

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Twitter, however, allows parodies, newsfeeds, comments, and fan accounts, as long as they disclose the nature of the account in the bio.

What does Twitter do with fake accounts?

When Twitter detects a fake account, it can lock the account or request verification. In case of multiple accounts, the user may be asked to keep only one.

Are all bots bad?

Twitter thinks not all bots are bad and has launched a label to mark the good ones.

“Who doesn’t love a handful of robots that promise not to stand against us? the company’s Twitter security handle tweeted in September last year.

Good bots allow automated accounts to share useful information such as updates on COVID-19 updates and traffic.

“Knowing who is real is fundamental to the integrity of the internet,” said Tamer Hassan, CEO of cybersecurity firm HUMAN.

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“When it comes to managing the threat that sophisticated robots pose to organizations, most companies try not to lose. Defensive strategies focus on minimizing damage rather than playing to win.

Why does Musk hate spambots?

Musk, a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, wants Twitter to become a forum for free speech, which he sees as “the foundation of a functioning democracy”, and sees spambots as a threat to that freedom. idea.

In a recent TedX interview, Musk said his top priority was to take down “bot armies” on Twitter, calling out bots that promote crypto scams on Twitter.

“They make the product much worse. If I had one Dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, we would have 100 billion Dogecoin.”


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