UPDATED 10:25 AM PT – Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Multi-billionaire Elon Musk may have been right about Twitter’s fake account problem. Bots may have influence on real world events from Hollywood to Capitol Hill and beyond.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, the film “Justice League: Snyder Cut” got a major boost on social media due to activity by what appears to be inauthentic spam accounts. The report said Director Zack Snyder was actively pushing Warner Brothers for his version of the film to come to fruition as a legion of fans mobbed the studio to the same end on social media.
However, the movement was not entirely organic as two reports from Warner Media found bots constituted 13 percent of accounts actively promoting the “Snyder Cut” across the Twitterverse. Although it was apparent Snyder’s fan base was largely human, bots were a contributing factor in pushing a studio to spend $100 million on a re-cut of a film that had bombed at the box office in 2017.
Fake accounts also helped prop up the Biden-Harris presidential campaign’s presence on social media, according to a Newsweek report. Within two weeks of Biden selecting Harris to be his running mate in August of 2020, his follower count eclipsed 730,000. This was more than a 9 percent jump. Before November of that year, Biden was sitting at more than 11 million followers. Not only was the rise unusual, but a disproportionate number of accounts were linked to users in rural India.
Furthermore, a Zenger News investigation found a large portion of new accounts inflating Biden’s social media presence during his candidacy were linked to troll farms based in India. Such entities manage multiple accounts and provide a number of analytics-skewing services such as increasing follower counts or flooding comments sections.
All of this adds to the debate of bots on social media right after Musk terminated the deal to acquire Twitter. Musk said the number of bots on its platform is at least 20 percent while the company claims it’s only 5 percent, in turn, sparking a legal dispute.
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
Although the the social media giant claims it has “bent over backwards” to be transparent, Musk is accusing the platform of not being upfront with crucial user data. Musk will face off against Twitter over his cancelled acquisition of the company in a Delaware courtroom this October.