Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal today posted a long thread on spamNew Delhi:
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal today posted a long thread on spam amid Tesla boss Elon Musk's proposed acquisition of the microblogging website. Mr Agrawal explained Twitter's process of "human review" of potential spam, to which Mr Musk shot back, "Have you tried just calling them?"
Mr Musk has said he would like to see bots removed from Twitter, among a host of changes he recommended in recent times.
In the thread today, Mr Agrawal said he would discuss the matter of spam "with the benefit of data, facts and context".
"First, let me state the obvious: spam harms the experience for real people on Twitter, and therefore can harm our business. As such, we are strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong," the Twitter CEO said.
"Next, spam isn't just 'binary' (human / not human). The most advanced spam campaigns use combinations of coordinated humans + automation. They also compromise real accounts, and then use them to advance their campaign. So - they are sophisticated and hard to catch," Mr Agrawal said.
"Some final context: fighting spam is incredibly dynamic. The adversaries, their goals, and tactics evolve constantly - often in response to our work! You can't build a set of rules to detect spam today, and hope they will still work tomorrow. They will not," he said in the long thread.
"The hard challenge is that many accounts which look fake superficially - are actually real people. And some of the spam accounts which are actually the most dangerous - and cause the most harm to our users - can look totally legitimate on the surface," Mr Agrawal said.
The hard challenge is that many accounts which look fake superficially - are actually real people. And some of the spam accounts which are actually the most dangerous - and cause the most harm to our users - can look totally legitimate on the surface.— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022
The Twitter CEO's long thread on spam comes amid Mr Musk sending mixed messages on his $44 billion takeover, which has been put "temporarily on hold," pending questions over the social media company's estimates of the number of fake accounts or "bots."
While the reliability of user figures is an important benchmark for assessing revenues of Twitter and other social media companies, analysts generally interpreted Mr Musk's messages as an attempt to pull out of the deal or to try to force a lower price.
Have you tried just calling them?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 16, 2022
Mr Musk is currently listed by Forbes as the world's wealthiest person, with a fortune of some $232 billion, much of it in Tesla stock. Seen by his champions as an iconoclastic genius and by his critics as an erratic megalomaniac, Mr Musk surprised many investors with his pursuit of Twitter.
Mr Musk has described his motivation as stemming from a desire to ensure freedom of speech on the platform and to boost monetisation of an Internet site that is influential in media and political circles but has struggled to attain profitable growth.
On Tuesday, Mr Musk said he favoured lifting the ban on Donald Trump, who was kicked off the platform in January 2021 shortly after the former US President's efforts to overturn his election defeat led to the January 6 assault on the US Capitol.