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What are bots and why Elon Musk doesn’t want them on Twitter

Elon Musk (Reuters)
Elon Musk (Reuters)

The programs of “bots” (robots) that operate artificial accounts on Twitter they put the suspense on Elon Musk’s offer by the platform due to the billionaire’s questions about these controversial lines of code.


This type of software is so common and can be such a big problem that tech giants like Meta, Google, and Twitter have teams dedicated to removing bots and cybersecurity firms to combat them.

Here’s a closer look at what a “bot” is:


Human or software?

At a basic level, the bots are programs that interact with online platforms, or their users, by pretending to be a real userexplains Tamer Hassan, co-founder and head of cybersecurity company HUMAN.


Malicious bots have become highly sophisticated and are among the biggest cyber threats of the decadesays Hassan, whose firm specializes in distinguishing real people from online software.

The term “bots” on Twitter is often used to describe fake accounts powered by some artificial intelligence that it can launch posts and even react to what is posted by other accounts, says independent analyst Rob Enderle.

Bots on Twitter. (photo: BrandMe)
Bots on Twitter. (photo: BrandMe)

Concert tickets, social chaos

Bots are used in more than three-quarters of online fraud incidents, and can spread socially polarized posts to hoard concert tickets and serve as hacking tools, Hassan explained to the Times. AFP.

“The question is, what would you do if you could look like a thousand humans?” explains the expert.

“Across all social platforms ‘bots’ can be used to spread content in order to influence people’s opinion, direct reactions and can even lead to cybercrimes”.

Bots can be used on networks to spreading fake news, misinforming real users, leading people to deceptive websites, and making deceptive posts look popular using the “share” or “like” functions. They can even lead users to financial scams, Hassan added.

“Social networks have had ‘bots’ for a long time,” said analyst Enderle. “The ‘bots’ have been connected with attempts to influence US elections or even shape opinions about the war between Russia and Ukraine.”

Twitter shares had a sharp ups and downs in recent weeks due to Elon Musk's offer and the countermarches in the purchase operation (REUTERS / Brendan McDermid)
Twitter shares had a sharp ups and downs in recent weeks due to Elon Musk’s offer and the countermarches in the purchase operation (REUTERS / Brendan McDermid)

The deal with Twitter

Twitter makes money from advertising, and marketers pay to reach real people, not artificial accounts. “Advertising to bot accounts is not going to have a good close rate because bots don’t buy products,” Enderle said.

If advertisers pay on Twitter a value based on how many people see the ad, and these numbers are inflated because the “bots” simulate online audience, then there is a premiumEnderle added.

If Twitter has a lot more “bots” than it seems, your revenue may take a nosedive when these accounts are exposed and shut down..

Parag Agrawal, chief executive of Twitter, said that less than 5% of active accounts at any given time are “bots”, but such an analysis cannot be replicated independently as it compromises the need to maintain user privacy.

Musk published that the real number of “bots” may be four times higher and he said that if he becomes the owner of the platform one of his priorities would be to get rid of them.


Twitter has rules on automated account actions, including a ban on posting about controversial topics, firing spam trying to influence online conversations and operating through multiple accounts.

The “bots” are known as a problem in social networks to the point that they have made Musk make them a problem in the acquisition process that seems to be “a vehicle to escape the purchase or to get a better price”, he concluded. Ender him.

(With information from AFP / by Glenn Chapman)

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