1

Twitter users: Real or robot? Advertisers and investors need to know

We know whole lot more about Twitter today than we did yesterday. The company has taken the wraps off its plans for an initial stock offering. We know how much money it made last year, or, lost, really. We know how much its CEO makes.

And how many monthly users it has: 218 million, give or take. Give or take because some of them are what're called bots, computer programs that automatically tweet and retweet. No humans required. Problem is that some of them get counted in the user totals, posing a challenge for advertisers and investors who may be considering whether to buy in.

Bots can be tough to spot on Twitter, at least at first glance. 

“If you only see one tweet and it's constructed well, and it's kind of clever, and it's not something that all the other bots are doing, it can be hard to tell,” says Dan Zarrella, social-media researcher at HubSpot, which helps companies market online.  

In its IPO filing, Twitter estimates that 7 percent of its users have the ability to tweet automatically. In other words, they could be bots. It estimates less than 5 percent of its users are false or spam accounts.

All this matters because Twitter’s business depends on ad revenue. And advertisers want to reach real people.

“Twitter has never been a social network oriented around real world identity,” says Zachary Reiss-Davis, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Unlike Facebook and LinkedIn, with Twitter an individual person can create as many different accounts as they would like. And many do.”

I can be on Twitter as @adrienehill and @KaiSpoof and @pretty-much-any-body else. Twitter counts each one as a separate user.

Any uncertainty about who marketers are reaching when they sponsor a tweet is a question that'll likely be repeated and retweeted in the run-up to the IPO.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
Log in to post1 Comment

Twitter Inc. will not now nor will it ever sell Stock.
I Mr. Bengt Val Thulin am the Sole and Rightful Owner of Twitter Inc. as that all investment corporations that make up the ownership of Twitter Inc. are in fact owned solely by me and they are all held in my "Whitman Trust" which is on file in Jackson Michigan.
I Dismissed from employment Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Dick Costolo at my Twitter Inc. All 5 of these people are involved in Stock Fraud for filing IPO without legal Right to do so.
Twitter Inc. was created in March 2006 by me Mr. Bengt Val Thulin who hired Jack Dorsey as an employee and a person to run Twitter Inc.
Jack Dorsey does not and has never owned any part of Twitter Inc. and he never will.
Jack Dorsey does not have the Legal Right to File and IPO with the SEC. Only I do. And I have NOT filed an IPO with the SEC.
Only I Mr. Bengt Val Thulin have the legal Right to file an IPO with the SEC.
And I have NOT filed an IPO with the SEC.
The IPO that Jack Dorsey illegally filed with the SEC on September 12th 2013 was in fact pulled by the SEC on the morning of September 13th 2013 when I informed them that Jack Dorsey and the Marcoux, Allen, Schomer, Bower, Nichols, and Kendall P.C. Law Firm in Jackson Michigan which assisted Jack Dorsey in said illegal filing had no legal Right to file an IPO with the SEC as that the Law clearly states that only the Owner of a corporation has the legal Right to file an IPO with the SEC.
I filed a TCR # 1379205576662 with the Securities Exchange Commission on 09-14-2013 and I filed TCR # 1379545982572 on 09-18-2013 in regards to Jack Dorsey at my Twitter Inc and the “Marcoux, Allen, Schomer, Bower, Nichols and Kendall P.C.” and the State of Michigan and Cynthia Bates, Joanne Marshall, Gerry Greco (and or Gerry Grieg), Pam Johnston as being involved in the illegal filing of an IPO (Initial Public Offering) with the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) on September 12th 2013 as that only the owner of a corporation by Law has the Legal Right to file an IPO to sell Stock in said corporation and I am the Sole Rightful Owner of Twitter Inc which is held in my “Whitman Trust”.
I Mr. Bengt Val Thulin have never retained and or hired any Lawyer from and or associated with the “Marcoux, Allen, Schomer, Bower, Nichols, Kendall P.C.” in Jackson Michigan to represent my “Whitman Trust” & or to represent any of the assets that it consists of & or to represent myself.
On October 1st 2013 I file additional "Sworn Statement" with the SEC per their request and I filed a formal complaint with the Department Of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in regards to this matter.
Also for a matter of public Record I am the person who owns "American Public Media" and American Media Incorporated and they are both held in my "Whitman Trust" which is on File in Jackson Michigan and I think may also be on file in Lansing and Ann Arbor Michigan as well.

I have posted TCR1379545982572 on my American Media Incorporated Facebook page for all to read.

I will not hide from the public anything to do with the attempt at Stock Fraud by my former employee Jack Dorsey.

You may see for yourselves where I Dismissed from employment Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, Dick Costolo at my Twitter Inc. on my Twitter Owners account page.

Just go to @ThulinB on Twitter and see for yourselves.

I am hereby ordering as the owner of American Public Media all my employees at "Market Place" to immediately and continually publish these facts as I have given them.

You can search the SEC website at http://www.sec.gov/search/search.htm and see for yourselves that absolutely NO IPO filing currently exists.

Sincerely,
Mr. Bengt Val Thulin - Owner of Twitter Inc. and American Public Media and the "Whitman Trust"

With Generous Support From...