Twitter said it removes 1 million spam accounts each day in a call with executives Thursday during a briefing that aimed to shed more light on the company’s fake and bot accounts as it tussles with Elon Musk over spam bots.
The Tesla CEO, who has offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, has threatened to walk away from the deal if the company can’t show that less than 5% of its daily active users are automated spam accounts.
Musk has argued, without presenting evidence, that Twitter has significantly underestimated the number of these spam bots — automated accounts that typically promote scams and misinformation on its service.
Twitter said on the call that the spam accounts represent well below 5% of its active user base each quarter.
Fake social media accounts have been problematic for years. Advertisers rely on the number of users provided by social media platforms to determine where they will spend money. Spam bots are also used to amplify messages and spread disinformation.
The problem of fake accounts is well-known to Twitter and its investors. The company has disclosed its bot estimates to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for years, while also cautioning that its estimate might be too low.
Last month, Twitter offered Musk access to its firehose of raw data on hundreds of millions of daily tweets, according to multiple reports at the time, though neither the company nor Musk confirmed this.