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Musk Balks at Twitter Bots - Narrative Trends

May 17, 2022Evan Robert

Musk's Twitter purchase is once again at an impasse, this time over a dispute over the number of spam bots present on the platform. US Media has covered this narrative closely, even closer than the potential overturn Roe v. Wade. EdgeTheory's narrative intelligence brief analyzes the trends surrounding Twitter bots, who's pushing them, and how the narrative is being shaped overall.

Source dynamics in Spam Bots & Twitter

In yet another reversal, Musk has apparently halted his purchase of Twitter until he receives clarity on the exact amount of bots, or fake accounts, that are currently on the social media site. Of the 110 narratives amplified in the past 3 days, most speculate that Musk's move is to either get a better deal or walk away from the deal altogether.

Musk claims that Twitter's spam accounts could account for more than 20% of the platform's users, while current CEO Parag Agrawal (who's mentioned 70+ times in association with this narrative) claims that the bots account for less than 5% of users.

This has brought up the debate of what constitutes a spam bot versus a human, as sometimes the line between the two can be blurred online, and difficult to distinguish. Agrawal discussed this at length in a Twitter thread on May 16th, to which Musk responded with a "poop" emoji.

Media coverage of this narrative has sparked praise from some for Musk's business savvy and keeping Twitter honest. On the other hand, many believe Musk's whole affair with Twitter has been an elaborate troll from the billionaire, and that this is his way of pulling the rug out from under a platform he so heavily criticizes. Media outlets with a left-center bias have covered this spam bot the narrative significantly more (55 amplifications) compared to conservative outlets (35 amplifications).

Sources by bias in Spam Bots & Twitter

To predict where this narrative will go next is a fool's errand; only Musk knows what Twitter's fate will be in the coming weeks. But this narrative will update regularly as more develops on spam bot counts and Musk's purchase in general. You'll find that brief below.

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