Elon Musk really doesn’t like bots
The Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report CEO, who is looking to buy Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report, took to the microblogging site on April 21 to express his extreme distaste for the automated accounts that tweet and retweet content.
‘Authenticate All Real Humans’
“If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!” Musk declared.
In a follow-up tweet, the world’s richest man said, “And authenticate all real humans.”
Musk said he is still interested in negotiating the Twitter purchase but hasn’t yet determined if he’ll take his now $46.5 billion offer directly to shareholders.
Musk also spoke about the bot situation earlier this month during a TED interview with Chris Anderson.
“I mean, frankly a top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter,” he said. “I think these influence … They make the product much worse. If I had a dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, I would have a hundred billion dogecoin.”
“Twitter can solve the problem of scammers & bots if they allow real humans to get verified w/an Orange Check by posting a one-time security deposit,” he said. “Then limit comments/DMs to verified accounts. Reported bad actors & spam bots forfeit their deposit & @Twitter monetizes malice.”
Banning Pro-Russian Hashtag
“Did you ever think that maybe your billions could, oh, I don’t know, maybe help society?” another poster said. “No, I’m sure you didn’t.”
“Elon I’m worried that my follower count will drop to under 100 if you defeat the spam bots,” one commenter said.
“How can we ensure the people from at-risk regions who have to be under pseudonyms to enjoy the freedom to express the truth while authenticating they’re real humans without blowing their cover?” another person asked.
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Last month, Twitter banned more than 100 accounts that pushed the pro-Russian hashtag #IStandWithPutin for participating in “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” CNBC reported.
In 2020, the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, a report by Carnegie Mellon University found that nearly half of the Twitter accounts discussing “reopening America,” which, during lockdown, were likely bots.
“Tweeting more frequently than is humanly possible, or appearing to be in one country and then another a few hours later is indicative of a bot,” Kathleen Carley, a computer science professor at the university, said
In September, Twitter said in a blog post that while all bots aren’t bad, the bots that its platform integrity team deals with “are generally fake accounts deliberately created to distort information or manipulate people on Twitter.”
‘We Can’t Solve These Challenges Alone’
The company said it held its first algorithmic bias bounty challenge.
It invited the ethical AI hacker community to take apart Twitter’s algorithm to identify bias and other potential harms within it.
“The results of their findings confirmed our hypothesis,” Twitter said, “we can’t solve these challenges alone, and our understanding of bias in AI can be improved when diverse voices are able to contribute to the conversation.”
Has Musk Himself Benefited From Bots?
David A. Kirsch, a professor at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, discussed this issue in a series of tweets earlier this month.
Kirsch said “looking at tweets from Tesla IPO to 2020, we found a set of accounts that did not exhibit human-like behavior … Using Botometer https://botometer.osome.iu.edu … we identified these accounts as programmed users generating pro-Tesla content.”
“This imbalance suggests that the fanbots were a strategic resource supporting the Tesla narrative.”
Several Twitter users disputed Kirsh’s findings, with one person stating “your methodology appears highly flawed.”
“Elon Musk is a 3.6, likely a bot,” the commenter said. “I’m a .6, but you claim I’m part of Elon’s bot army. You seem like a person with an answer in search of confirmation, regardless of the facts.”