Twitter Followers: 23 Million Bots

August 29, 2014 1:00 PM

TwitterIf you are an active user of Twitter, you may be interested by its quarterly results, updated last week. Twitter announced a $312 million revenue –almost 25% more than the first quarter. Compared to the same period last year, its revenue increased up to 124.5%. Moreover, its monthly active users (MAU) reached 271 millions, above average in the quarter (+24% in one year).  In other words, Twitter is healthy and everything is fine -regarding its EBITDA and its growth in Ad revenue too.

However, when we look closely to the press release, and read between the lines, we can observe a decrease in the timeline views per user (-7% since last year). Thus,  there are more users, using less Twitter. So, the question is who are the users and how do they get relevant followers on twitter?

Sanko Seisakusyo (?????) ? Tin Wind Up ? Tiny Zoomer Robots ? FrontTwitter’s followers following… bots

In its press release, Twitter gives more information about its users.  In their figures, there are 271 million users. But almost 30 million of them used a third-party application to access the platform, such as Facebook or Instagram, and 23 million of all active users “may have” used an application that automatically updated their profiles.

These profiles that automatically get updated are indeed robots (bots)  and do not need any “user-initiated action”. However, for the most part, these bots are not friendly geeks that want to bring a funny experience on the web. Instead, they only want to sell you something, at best, or annoy you, at worst.

On twitter, being followed by this kind of bot is not really interesting as they will not interact with you.

With a growth of a quarter in just one year, it is clear that these numbers of “real users” are greatly exaggerated because of the bots. And Twitter does not host all of its users. In fact, one out of ten is actually updating his profile from another service, and almost the same number of users are not real. Alongside the profiles created and never used, it seems like twitter may be starting to go down the long road of slowly dying.