The numbers just keep getting worse for Joe Biden. The president’s approval ratings have sunk to a record low south of 40%—and given the tendency of polling to try to massage the stats in favor of Democrats, they’re likely much lower than that.
And now comes even worse news: half of Biden’s measly 22.2 million Twitter followers are likely fake, as reported by Newsweek. Say it ain’t so, Joe.
According to an audit performed by the software company SparkToro, 49.3% of the president’s Twitter followers are “accounts that are unreachable and will not see the account’s tweets (either because they’re spam, bots, propaganda, etc. or because they’re no longer active on Twitter).” In other words, they’re as phony as Biden’s trip to the foothills of the Himalayas with Xi Jinping.
The company analyzed a number of factors in its audit, including default profile images, new users, and location issues. The audit also revealed, perhaps understandably given his profile as the president of the United States, that Biden’s account has significantly more fake followers than most.
This intriguing report comes amidst high drama involving billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s bid to acquire the social media company, which was put on hold last week as Musk demanded accurate reporting on the amount of spam, bots, and fake accounts on the site.
Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of usershttps://t.co/Y2t0QMuuyn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2022
Musk has claimed that the number of fake or spam accounts on Twitter could be upwards of 20%—”4 times what Twitter claims,” and “could be *much* higher.”
“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk wrote in a tweet. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”
20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher.
My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.
Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%.
This deal cannot move forward until he does.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022
Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, fired back at Musk’s criticisms.
“We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day,” Agrawal wrote, in a lengthy 13-tweet thread, “usually before any of you even see them on Twitter. We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam, if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc).”
“Our actual internal estimates for the last four quarters were all well under 5%,” Agrawal continued, “based on the methodology outlined above. The error margins on our estimates give us confidence in our public statements each quarter.
“Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs [monetizable daily active users] on any given day.”
Musk’s response was eloquent:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 16, 2022
“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?” he responded. “This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.”
At this point, no one can say whether this is merely all part of a pre-acquisition dance designed to renegotiate the purchase price of Twitter, or if it was Musk’s plan all along to expose the tremendous fakery employed by a piece of technology that has done so much to poison political discourse in the country and strengthen the hold of the political elites on power.
Either way, it’s fun to watch.
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