Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal talks about spam and facts, Elon Musk replies

Agrawal said that the estimate can not be reproduced externally given the need to use both public and private information, to which the Tesla chief responded with a ‘pile of poo’ emoticon.
Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal and Tesla chief Elon Musk.
Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal and Tesla chief Elon Musk.
Published on May 16, 2022 11:49 PM IST
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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Monday posted a lengthy thread on spam accounts on the micro-blogging platform – an issue that Twitter's would-be owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been critical of – and tweeted that the internal estimates of such accounts on the service for the last four quarters were "well under 5%".

Agrawal said that the estimate can not be reproduced externally given the need to use both public and private information, to which the Tesla chief responded with a ‘pile of poo’ emoticon.

Parag Agrawal, who has been defiant of Twitter's recent takeover talks, in a series of tweets explained the process of “human review” that the company undertakes to identify spam accounts. He said that the process used both public and private data to determine the same, to which Musk riposted saying: “Have you tried just calling them?”

Fighting fake accounts has been a cornerstone of Musk’s bid to reform Twitter, his primary reason to buy the platform. In a statement announcing his deal, Musk had revealed he wanted to defeat spam bots, authenticate all humans, and make its algorithms open source. 

Bots are currently allowed on Twitter, though under the company’s policy such accounts are supposed to indicate that they’re automated. The platform has even launched a label for “good” bots, such as @tinycarebot, an account that tweets self-care reminders. Spam bots, however, are not permitted, and the company has policies meant to combat them.

Musk has also said he’d like to make the platform a bastion of free speech, taking the guardrails off of content moderation.

The much-talked-about Twitter deal, however, fell flat last week when the Tesla chief said the takeover was “on hold” but he’s still committed.

Agrawal, in a series of tweets on Friday afternoon, had said while he expected the deal to close, the company needed to be “prepared for all scenarios.”

“I won’t use the deal as an excuse to avoid making important decisions for the health of the company, nor will any leader at Twitter,” the CEO had said.

(With Agency inputs)

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