It turns out that it’s not just Elon Musk who is questioning Twitter’s spam account methodologies. As per new filings, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had asked Twitter in June for information about how the company calculates the number of spam and fake accounts on the platform.
The SEC inquired about Twitter’s spam account methodologies in June. In a letter to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, the SEC asked the social media company to disclose its methodology for evaluating user accounts to the extent that it’s material. The SEC also asked for details about how Twitter reportedly found an error in its monthly daily active users (mDAU) from 2019. Twitter has admitted that it had overstated its mDAU figures in the past.
“Given that the error persisted for three years, please tell us how you concluded there was not a material weakness in your internal control over financial reporting and that your disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of March 31, 2022,” the SEC wrote.
Twitter lawyer Wilson Sonsini responded to the SEC’s questions, noting that Twitter staff manually review thousands of randomly selected user accounts out of those considered mDAUs. The evaluators were then provided with a set of rules that defined spam behavior. Accounts that violate these rules are marked as spam or fake, as noted in a CNBC report.
Twitter also noted that the company does not believe there’s a material weakness in its internal financial reporting due to its overstatement of mDAUs in the past. “The overstatement represented less than one percent of mDAU for each of the quarters from the fourth quarter of 2020 through the fourth quarter of 2021,” Twitter noted.
The SEC wrote to the Twitter CEO in late July, noting that it had completed its review of the social media company’s filings. The SEC also highlighted that “the company and its management are responsible for the accuracy and adequacy of their disclosures.”
Twitter’s spam and fake accounts have been a pain point for the social media platform, especially after prospective buyer Elon Musk questioned the accuracy of the company’s filings, which noted that less than 5% of Twitter’s mDAU are bot or spam accounts. Following a strenuous back and forth between Musk and Twitter, the Tesla CEO announced that he was pulling out of his acquisition attempt, prompting a lawsuit from the social media company.
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