WSJ: Elon Musk Has Access to Twitter’s ‘Firehose’ of Data, Now Comes the ‘Hard Part’

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, BNN Edit
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images, BNN Edit

Elon Musk has reportedly been given access to Twitter’s internal data to independently review the number of bot accounts on the platform — but data scientists don’t think the information will provide conclusive answers for the billionaire.

In an article titled “Elon Musk Got Twitter’s Data Dump, Next Comes the Hard Part,” the Wall Street Journal reports that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has finally gained access to the “firehose” of Twitter data he asked for in order to verify the company’s actual number of real users.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (Google Cloud/YouTube)

Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition March 9, 2020, in Washington. A federal judge in New York has denied Musk's request to scrap his settlement with securities regulators over 2018 tweets about having the money to take Tesla private. Judge Lewis Liman on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, also denied a motion to nullify subpoenas of Musk seeking information about possible violations of his settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

But determining which accounts are bots and which are real people may not be as easy as he thinks, according to a number of data scientists and experts. Twitter has claimed that spam or fake accounts make up around five percent of its daily active users, but Musk believes the number is close to 20 percent.

Micah Schaffer, a consultant for social-media companies on trust-and-safety issues who has previously held positions at YouTube and Snap Inc., said that providing Musk with the data is “more of a shut-up-and-go-away kind of thing than a major concession.”

Schaffer further noted that despite having access to a number of data scientists to review the information given by Twitter, Musk “would have to replicate their [Twitter’s] process somehow to credibly dispute their behavior.”

Rahul Telang, a professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, commented on the sheer size of the data provided to Musk, stating: “The average company would be drowning in the data.”

J. Nathan Matias, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University who researches social media and other tech platforms said that Musk would also need to agree with Twitter’s definition of a fake or spam account in order to corroborate their findings.

“If Musk and his team decide they want to find results different from Twitter, it will be very easy for them to do so,” Matias said. “But any number of others might dispute Musk and his teams’ definitions as well, because there is no standard.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address


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