Musk even showed Agrawal a “pile of poo” emoji on his Twitter feed.
Agrawal attempted to dispel concerns about the presence of fake/spam accounts in a Twitter feed, with data, facts and context, as Musk questioned Twitter’s fake/spam removal data last week.
“Our actual internal estimates for the last four quarters were all well below 5% – based on the methodology described above. The margins of error on our estimates give us confidence in our public statements each quarter,” said Agrawal.
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He responded to Musk who said he doesn’t believe Twitter’s findings that fake accounts or spam accounts for less than 5% of its monetizable daily active users (229 million).
Musk said his team was busy discovering the presence of fake/spam accounts with the random sampling process.
Agrawal replied: “Unfortunately, we do not believe that this specific estimate can be done externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we cannot share). Externally, it it is not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on a given day”.
To which, Musk said, “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? It’s fundamental to Twitter’s financial health.”
Agrawal also detailed how spam is not just “binary” (human/non-human).
“The most advanced spam campaigns use combinations of coordinated humans and automation. They also compromise real accounts and then use them to advance their campaign. So they’re sophisticated and hard to catch,” he said. -he explains.
“The difficult challenge is that many of the accounts that appear superficially fake – are actually real people. surface,” said the Indian-born CEO.
He admitted that they are not great at catching spam.
“And that’s why, after all the spam suppression I talked about above, we know that some are still getting through. We measure this internally. And each quarter, we’ve estimated that <5% of mDAUs reported for quarter are spam accounts,” he added.
“Our estimate is based on multiple (replicating) human reviews of thousands of accounts, which are randomly sampled, consistently over time, from *accounts that we count as mDAUs*. We do this quarterly, and we have been doing it for many years,” Agrawal noted.
Musk, whoever it was, was unconvinced by Agrawal’s arguments.
“There are A LOT of details that are very important under this high level description. We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and we look forward to continuing the conversation with him and all of you” , added Agrawal.