There are endless reasons behind the decision people and companies make to invest in a growing company, and for the investors of Twitter, one of those reasons is the huge user base that includes hundreds of millions of people from around the world.
This user base has been a huge selling point for those interested in putting their money behind Twitter, and CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly claimed figures for Twitterbots, which are the bane of the platform’s existence, made up only a small percentage of the total active users. In 2014, it was widely-known that Twitter had around 23 million bots and that number already seemed very high; however, in Dorsey’s return to Twitter back in 2015 after the company found it difficult to snag investors, he continued to pitch this number rather than accounting for the rapidly increasing amount of bots.
Now, a new study found that as many as 15% of active users are bots, making that about 48 million bots plaguing social media regularly. In light of this information, investors are pressuring Dorsey to step down because he fed them inflated numbers about their user base to attract them.
The study was conducted by the University of Southern California and Indiana University, and the data spells trouble for both Dorsey and the popular platform because of what it means for the content that’s shared on the site. The concern is that, with so many bots, they can easily sway public opinion by posting about what their owner wants them to focus on. If they consistently post about the same thing, real people will believe that this is an important matter and other issues that are actually important might be buried.
The bots are essentially acting as creators and influencers of propaganda. They are suspected of swaying the U.S. election and countless other social and political issues since their inception.
Since Dorsey was already deep in trouble after losing advertisers, this added bad news could truly push the CEO over the edge and force him to leave—again.