New analysis revealed on Wednesday that nearly half of President Joe Biden’s 22.3 million Twitter followers are fake.
The report comes as Tesla founder Elon Musk has injected breaks into his $44 billion purchase of the social media platform over concerns about the amount of bots active on the site.
Non-authentic Twitter accounts, colloquially known as bots, simulate human interaction on the platform in order to achieve a specific goal.
Some were designed to give people real-time data on things like stock market and traffic updates, while others were used for more sinister applications like spreading misinformation online or scamming people out of money.
Nearly 11 million followers of the US President’s official Twitter account, @POTUS, are either bots or inactive accounts, according to an analysis by Spark Toro.
This represents 49.3 percent of Biden’s total followers on his White House account.
Spark Toro’s metric takes into account “accounts that can’t be reached and won’t see the account’s tweets (either because they’re spam, bots, spam, etc., or because they’re no longer active on Twitter).”
Biden’s longtime boss, former President Barack Obama, was the first commander-in-chief to use a POTUS account as a way to directly connect with millions of Americans online.
When he left office, the account was transferred to former President Donald Trump. Obama’s profile is archived under @POTUS44.
A review of former President Donald Trump’s archived account, @POTUS45, shows that 42.4 percent of his followers are fake. His personal handle cannot be audited because Spark Toro’s metrics do not take into account pending accounts.
Elon Musk shot President Joe Biden at a convention in Miami on Tuesday, telling All In podcast hosts he would vote Republican in 2024.
But Biden’s personal Twitter account isn’t much better than the presidential handle.
Over 32 million people follow the boss at @JoeBiden, 43 percent of them are fake.
They have more fake followers than those associated with a @POTUS account – approximately 14.6 million.
Twitter has about 229 million daily users, according to the company’s own data. The platform has long considered that no more than five percent of its accounts are bots or spam.
Musk challenged that assertion on Tuesday, claiming that up to 20 percent of Twitter accounts are inauthentic and accusing CEO Parag Agrawal of refusing to provide evidence of the company’s 5 percent claim.
My offer was based on the accuracy of Twitter’s SEC filings. Yesterday, the CEO of Twitter publicly refused to show evidence of <5%,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
He threatened, “This deal cannot go forward until he does.”
Analysis finds more than 11 million followers of Biden’s official @POTUS handle on Twitter are either fake or inactive
Late last month, Twitter announced that its board had reached an agreement with the billionaire engineer to take the site private.
He bought the entire platform for $54.20 per share, for a total of almost $44 billion.
But Musk reiterated his concerns about bot activity on Twitter at the All In Summit in Miami later on Tuesday, claiming that it “seems unbelievable” that at least 95% of the accounts are genuine.
He also took aim at assertions that he was making a “right-wing takeover” of Twitter, calling the site “very far left biased”.
Musk also saved a jab for Biden himself – suggesting the Democrat will not have Musk’s support in 2024.
I have voted overwhelmingly Democratic historically. I probably never voted Republican, just to be clear. “Now this election, I will.”
Twitter shares fell 8.2 percent after Musk’s comments.
Analysts alleged that his comments could be an attempt by Musk to try to lower the price or withdraw from the deal.
But Twitter canceled that today by saying they had filed an initial proxy statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying they intended to proceed with the transaction at the agreed upon price of $54.20.
The Tesla CEO, who last month offered $44 billion for the tech platform, disputes their claims that robots account for about five percent of its users.
The shares closed Monday at $37.39. In today’s pre-market trading, they continued to drop to $36.20
The company filed the document, which updates the Securities and Exchange Commission on significant changes ahead of shareholder meetings, saying they are committed to completing the transaction at the agreed-upon price and terms “as soon as practicable.”
One of those terms also includes a $1 billion breakup clause for Musk if he chooses to walk away from the deal.
The sudden tweet about the bot’s activity on Twitter caused stocks to continue falling since his deal was announced, with analysts speculating that Musk is trying to negotiate a lower price for the deal or pull out altogether.
Although Twitter’s board of directors approved the purchase last month, it has yet to be approved by shareholders, and it was not expected to close for at least several months. The legal and practical implications of Musk’s tweets remain unclear.
The shares closed on Monday at $37.39, continuing the downward trend.
On Friday, they opened at $40.40, in a major slump after Musk’s morning announcement that his trade was on hold pending an investigation into the bots’ accounts.
“You can’t pay the same price for something much worse than they claimed,” Musk said at the Miami summit.
Asked if a deal was viable at a different price, Musk said, “I mean, that’s not out of the question at all. The more questions I ask, the more concerns I have.”