With legal jabs underway from both Twitter and Elon Musk’s legal team, it’s going to be pretty easy to lose the story. Although it may give the impression that it is, in reality the conflict between the two parties is based on important issues. It’s a Twitter bot.
Twitter also claims in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that less than 5% of its users are spam or fake accounts. Musk scoffed at the estimate, as Tesla’s CEO said on social media that he believes the number of bots on the platform is much higher. Dan Woods, F5’s head of global intelligence and a former FBI special agent specializing in cybersecurity, his recent quote suggests that Musk’s hunch is spot on.
In a post on F5’s official website, Woods, who also worked for the CIA as a technical operations officer specializing in cyber operations, estimated that more than 80% of Twitter accounts are actually bots. . Woods was able to reach this conclusion after analyzing his social media platform and its countermeasures against its automated accounts.
“Given the amount and speed of automation we see today, the sophistication of bots that a certain set of incentives are likely to attract, and the relative lack of countermeasures I see in my own research, I can only think of one Bottom line: Probably over 80% of Twitter accounts are actually bots.Of course, this is my opinion,” Woods wrote.
A former FBI agent pointed out that bots are generally designed to accomplish a goal. For Twitter, the main goal is to get followers. More followers means more influence for your account, which can be a security risk. What’s interesting is that there are ways to get bots for Twitter, with countless entities offering her Twitter account, followers, likes and retweets for a fee. Some are offered on the dark web or deep web.
For research purposes, Woods tried out these services with a Twitter account he created. And sure enough, they work. The former FBI agent paid him less than $1,000 and the account now has nearly 100,000 followers. Woods even attempted to post gibberish and pay his followers to retweet it, and they did. With this experience in mind, Woods took the test even further. The results were pretty bad for Twitter’s anti-bots.
“I started wondering how easy it would be to create a Twitter account using automation. I’m not a programmer, but I looked up automation frameworks on YouTube and Stack Overflow. .
“Taking my testing to the next level, I spent the weekend writing a script that automatically creates a Twitter account. If it is easy for people with limited skills, how difficult it is for an organization of highly skilled and motivated individuals. Imagine how easy it is,” Woods wrote.
Note that Woods stresses that bots aren’t just a Twitter problem. Almost every social media platform suffers from them. Objectively, though, Tesla CEO Elon Musk seemed right on target when he pointed out his Twitter bot quote. His social media platform might also need an explanation, especially since his own filings could very well prove to be inaccurate.
Musk commented on Woods’ findings on Twitter, joking that the price for 100,000 followers isn’t really that bad.
The former FBI Special Agent’s full post can be accessed here.
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