Tech

Twitter CEO explains why finding bots in a random sample of 100 users won't work. Elon Musk replies with poop emoji.

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Elon Musk
HANNIBAL HANSCHKE /Getty Images
  • Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal explained Monday why Elon Musk's plan to identify bot accounts is flawed.
  • Musk said Friday his team would be doing a random sample of 100 followers to find spam accounts.
  • Agrawal said such an estimate couldn't be done outside of Twitter. Musk replied with a smiling poop emoji.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Elon Musk says his deal to buy Twitter is on hold due to a proliferation of spam and automated accounts on the platform, but CEO Parag Agrawal disagrees with his plan to survey how bad the issue is.

"We don't believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can't share,)" Agrawal tweeted Monday of Musk's proposal to sample a random set of 100 users. "Externally, it's not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day."

According to Musk, disclosing his plan publicly apparently got Musk into trouble with Twitter's legal team, who said he violated a non-disclosure agreement.

"We don't believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can't share,)" Agrawal continued. "Externally, it's not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day."

Agrawal also said Twitter is "strongly incentivized" to find and remove spam and that "anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong."

Musk shortly after responded to Agrawal's thread with a smiling poop emoji.

Monday's conversation between the two parties is the latest twist after Musk said Friday that his acquisition of Twitter was on hold until he could verify that the company's estimate of fake or spam users was indeed accurate, noting that he was "still committed to the acquisition." 

The company has said previously that fake accounts represent less than 5% of users.

In the meantime, Musk also made jabs at Twitter's algorithm, advising his followers to set their timelines to chronological order.


"You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don't realize," he said. 

Twitter's cofounder and former CEO Jack Dorsey, with whom Musk has always shared a friendly rapport online, responded that the app's algorithm "wasn't designed to manipulate" but instead to save time for users that step away from the platform for a while and wish to see the content you most wish to engage with.

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