How many of Twitter's users are bots? - study

According to an Israeli cybersecurity company, up to 12% of all traffic originating from Twitter is made up of bots. Look away, Elon Musk.

 The Twitter app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)
The Twitter app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC)

Up to 12% of all traffic originating from Twitter is made up of bots, according to Israeli cybersecurity company CHEQ.

In a study published on Monday, CHEQ said 11.71% of all website visits originating from Twitter were by bots or fake users, including spambots, scrapers, botnets, click farms and automation tools, as well as other forms of fake, fraudulent and nonhuman traffic.

CHEQ said it had used more than 2,000 different cybersecurity tests to determine the authenticity of Twitter users. Out of 5.21 million website visits it analyzed, 617,000 were determined to be “invalid,” meaning they were most likely driven by nonhuman traffic.

“The data suggests that Twitter’s bot problem is probably larger than 5%”

Guy Tytunovich, founder and CEO of CHEQ

“Our study looked into users who came from Twitter to other websites,” CHEQ founder and CEO Guy Tytunovich said. “But if you consider that many bots don’t click through to other sites and only stay on Twitter, then it seems very likely that bot traffic inside the platform itself could be significantly higher than 12%.”

We’re living in the “era of fake Web,” where “bots, malicious users and automation tools make up a large portion of all Web traffic,” he said.

"Ultimately, we’re living in the era of the fake web"

Guy Tytunovich, founder and CEO of CHEQ

 A photo illustration shows Elon Musk's twitter account and the Twitter logo (credit: REUTERS/RADU SIGHETI) A photo illustration shows Elon Musk's twitter account and the Twitter logo (credit: REUTERS/RADU SIGHETI)

Can Twitter bots affect Elon Musk's $44 billion deal?

We’re living in the “era of fake Web,” where “bots, malicious users and automation tools make up a large portion of all Web traffic,” he said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has agreed to a $44 billion deal to buy the social-media platform, last week put the deal on hold after he requested proof that spambots account for less than 5% of Twitter’s total users.

Musk said he suspected spam accounts make up at least 20% of Twitter’s users, compared with the company’s official estimate of 5%.

“You can’t pay the same price for something that is much worse than they claimed,” Musk said at the All-In Summit 2022 conference in Miami on Monday.

Asked if the Twitter deal was viable at a different price, he said: “I mean, it is not out of the question. The more questions I ask, the more my concerns grow.”

The deal is subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders and is expected to close in 2022, the company said. Twitter said it was committed to completing the deal at the agreed upon price and terms.