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Doubts cast over Musk’s Twitter bot claims -Researchers

Filings made by Elon Musk’s legal team in his battle with Twitter have been questioned by leading bot researchers. 

Botometer; an online tool that tracks spam and fake accounts was used by Mr Musk in a countersuit against Twitter.

Using the tool, Mr Musk’s team estimated that 33% of “visible accounts” on the social media platform were “false or spam accounts”.

However, Botometer creator and maintainer, Kaicheng Yang, said the figure “doesn’t mean anything”.

Mr Yang questioned the methodology used by Mr Musk’s team, and told the BBC they had not approached him before using the tool. 

Mr Musk is currently in dispute with Twitter, after trying to pull out of a deal to purchase the company for $44bn (£36.6bn). 

A court case is due in October in Delaware, where a judge will rule on whether Mr Musk will have to buy it.

In July, Mr Musk said he no longer wished to purchase the company, as he could not verify how many humans were on the platform.

Since then, the world’s richest person has claimed repeatedly that fake and spam accounts could be many times higher than stated by Twitter.

In his countersuit, made public on 5 August, he claimed a third of visible Twitter accounts, assessed by his team, were fake. Using that figure the team estimated that a minimum of 10% of daily active users are bots.

Twitter says it estimates that fewer than 5% of its daily active users are bot accounts. 

Botometer is a tool that uses several indicators, like when and how often an account tweets and the content of the posts, to create a bot “score” out of five. 

Also read; Twitter, Elon Musk deal ‘explained’

Editing by Omotola Oguneye