Twitter’s Method of Calculating the Number of Active Accounts Leads to Many Questions

Twitter’s Method of Calculating the Number of Active Accounts Leads to Many Questions

Twitter claims that 5% or less of its accounts are spam/bot accounts.

pic.twitter.com/lcI1HCreNw

— Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) July 21, 2022

This is the issue of contention for Elon Musk and the main reason he backed out of the deal to purchase Twitter. Musk asked for adequate information to reperform Twitter’s work quarterly to come up with that amount and Twitter never fully complied. After a couple of months of this, Musk finally dropped out of the deal.

An individual on Twitter shared some observations in a Twitter thread on how Twitter comes up with its numbers for quarterly reporting to the SEC. (After overseeing the financial reporting on a billion-dollar block of business, I can’t tell you how important it is to have your financials perfect when reporting to the SEC. Any errors in reporting are devastation and potentially entity ending, especially if they were known.)

Here are some of these observations we first noted on Twitchy. It starts with Twitter’s measurement of monetizable daily active users (mDAUs).  There are some challenges with this reporting.

Some say Twitter’s number are BS:

pic.twitter.com/lcI1HCreNw

— Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) July 21, 2022

Gchahal showed how Twitter calculates its number of bots:

…than 5% of Twitter users were false or spam.”

Here’s a screenshot that walks you through how they determine their analysis. You really don’t have to be a data scientist right there to realize that this right here is a total downright scam. pic.twitter.com/08gZqte5Yv

— Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) July 18, 2022

The biggest question in the above data is how are the samples obtained.  Are Twitter’s sampled random or are they judgementally obtained?  If judgemental, the sample could be created using a bias that might not select problem bot accounts. 

In addition, the sample size above appears very small when considering the total number of accounts. 

The number of mDAU’s was broken down by time since last last engaged in the platform.

To drill down even further, we created a list of people with “private accounts” and sorted them by “Years Since Tweeted” because they are even more likely to be low engagers because, well, their account is private, and if they haven’t tweeted in 3-10+ years… pic.twitter.com/ou0Hutb3ur

— Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) July 18, 2022

When accounting for accounts that have no engagement in 3-years and accounts with the number of followers at 5 or less (which appear to be bots) the number of active users in Twitter may be way overstated.

But now after not providing detailed information on their sampling work, Twitter sues Musk to go through with their deal. 

 

 

 

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