Elon Musk Twitter Feed ‘Attracts 23% Spam, Fake Account Rate’


At least 23.4% of Tesla boss Elon Musk’s 93 million followers on Twitter are likely to be fake or spam accounts, according to social media researchers.

The audit was prompted by Musk’s demand that Twitter prove that phoney and spam accounts constituted no more than 5% of the total.

Earlier this week, Musk said his proposed $44 billion acquisition of Twitter would not go ahead without and accurate count of fake and spam accounts.

“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,” Musk said in a tweet, which proved to be prescient about his own fake following, as well as the overall count.

The research by SparkToro and Followerwonk indicated 19.42% of active Twitter accounts are fake or spam.

A different methodology indicated that as many as 70.23% of @ElonMusk followers are unlikely to be authentic, active users who see his tweets.

“This is well above the median for fake followers, but is unsurprising (to us, at least) for several reasons,” the researchers said.

“Very large accounts tend to have more fake/spam followers than others, accounts that receive a great deal of press coverage and public interest tend to attract more fake/spam followers, and accounts that Twitter recommends to new users – @ElonMusk among them – tend to get more fake/spam followers,” they added.


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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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