Twitter lawsuit against Musk: bots at the center of legal battle

By this point, many of us have already heard about the failed acquisition and the impending litigation between Twitter, a company that did not seek to be bought, and Elon Musk, who canceled his offer to buy the company.

At the center of this conflict is bot trading. It is almost certain that the bot traffic on Twitter is far greater than what is expressed publicly and what the teams imagine internally. To be honest, this probably applies to all organizations that are the target of malicious or unwanted bots but don’t use the best technology to eliminate them.

What bot attacks have shown in recent years

In the case of Twitter, one of the main motives is the creation of new accounts. It seems that the more followers a person has, the more interesting their tweets are, and indeed, accounts with more followers tend to be more influential.

This model can be troubling when it aims to increase influence. Imagine the impact you could have by automatically controlling the millions of Twitter accounts that interact with the real accounts of public figures and individuals. This situation is likely to attract highly motivated state actors with virtually unlimited resources.

If there is an incentive and funds, there will be more bots

Twitter is not only a huge incentive, but also ways. There are countless services on the Internet (including dark/deep web marketplaces) that offer Twitter accounts, followers, likes, and retweets for a fee.

For less than $1,000, you can get almost 100,000 followers retweeting anything and everything. These accounts have names like TY19038461038 and they follow many other accounts.

Creating a Twitter account with automation is especially easy. If you look closely, you can write a script that automatically creates Twitter accounts. Without changing the IP address or account name.

Companies often underestimate the scale of the robot problem

A few years ago, an American social network deployed an anti-bot strategy and found that 99% of its login traffic was automated.

In fact, 80-99% of traffic is automated in many applications. These results are not an isolated case – they are typical for many organizations (merchants, financial institutions, telecommunications companies and fast food companies, etc.).

The news, of course, was devastating to the company. She knew that she had a problem with bots, but she never thought that everything was so serious. The consequences were felt quickly. Only a tiny fraction of their customer accounts were real customers. Most of them were robots.

For social networks, the number of daily active users (DAU), which is a subset of all accounts, plays an important role in the assessment. The realization that their DAUs were only a small fraction of what they thought led to a significant drop in their value.

Would it then be better if the shareholders of this company never found out the truth and simply claimed that their problem with bots was less than 5%? Without a doubt, yes.

This pressure extends beyond social networking sites that are rated based on DAUs. This also applies to businesses that sell limited-edition high-demand items such as concert tickets, sneakers, branded bags, or the next iPhone.

When this type of product is sold in a few minutes to robots and then resold at very high prices, this causes dissatisfaction among customers, but the company manages to quickly sell all its inventory, and then everything is fine. process.

In these cases, a company may want to give the impression that it is doing its best to stop the bots when in fact it is doing little.

It’s not just about Twitter – the problem of bots affects everyone

Based on the amount and speed of automation we see today, the sophistication of bots, and the relative lack of countermeasures, it’s easy to conclude that in all likelihood, more than 80% of Twitter accounts are actually bots.

Undoubtedly, Twitter is trying to prevent unwanted automation on its platform, like all companies. But, most likely, it will be a very complex automation of highly motivated players. Under these conditions, the fight against bots is no small feat. This requires equally sophisticated tools.

However, there is something much more important here. The problem with bots is bigger than ad revenue, share price, or company valuation. Failure to combat the use of bots threatens the very foundations of our digital world.

The multiplication of bots leads to massive fraud that is worth billions of dollars. This allows malicious states and organizations to spread false information, influence political processes, and even create potential conflicts.

If we, as a society, want to continue to enjoy all the knowledge, entertainment and other benefits that the Internet and our mobile, connected world gives us, we must do something about automated online traffic. The only way to fight bots is to implement your own sophisticated automation.

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