Twitter’s Bot-Battling Claims Don’t Add Up Based on Relative User Growth

Twitter Usage Numbers and Claims

Twitter has been reporting record-high usage numbers, both in terms of the number of users and the time spent on the app. As of Q4 2022, which ended in December 2021, Twitter had 253 million daily active users. Elon Musk also claimed that Twitter now exceeds 8 billion total user minutes per day, which means that, on average, Twitter users are spending 31.6 minutes per day on the app.

Twitter’s Previous Performance Updates

Twitter’s previous performance upgrades over the years showed steady growth in its daily active user count. The app had 237.8 million daily active users as of July 2021, before Musk took over at the app. Reports show that an average Twitter user spends about 30 minutes a day on the app. Thus, it is not surprising that Twitter’s usage statistics are increasing, given the hype and attention given to Musk’s activities at Twitter.

Elon Musk’s Claims Regarding Twitter’s Fake Profiles

Musk’s analyses reveal that Twitter wasn’t actually worth that much due to the high amount of bot profiles that were included in its active user figures. Twitter had claimed that the number of fake profiles in the app didn’t exceed 5% of its total mDAU count, based on its own sampling.

Musk claimed that it was actually much more, with around 33% of its active profiles being fakes, based on his research and analysis. Eventually, Musk settled on it being a more modest 20%, while noting that it was likely much higher. Part of Elon’s stated motivation for taking over Twitter was to rid the platform of bots, which he believed had skewed conversations in the app.

Twitter’s Bot Elimination Efforts

Since then, and following various claims that Musk has killed bots in the app, which account for at least 5% of its daily actives, Twitter has actually added 15 million more users. Twitter’s user growth has been steady, with a jump in Q2 2022 to 237.8 million mDAU, its final update before Elon took over.

If Twitter actually added 65 million more users between Q2 and Q4 of 2021, that would mean that it replicated almost three years‘ worth of growth in a span of six months, which is a very rapid acceleration. Twitter claims to be eliminating bots, which would bring down its active user count, based on previous metrics. Still, its active user figures are jumping to new highs, and something doesn’t add up.

Number of Bots still Active on Twitter

It is uncertain whether millions of bots are still active on Twitter, more bots have flocked to the platform, or more people than ever are now logging into Twitter every day. There is a mismatch in the story that Twitter is presenting, and it seems strange that Twitter claims to be eliminating bots while its active user count keeps increasing.

Elon Musk has a lot of work to do to rid the app of bots entirely. It is crucial to understand what percentage of Twitter’s mDAU count right now is actually bots. Twitter also needs to provide more transparency over its calculations and report its updates.