X (Twitter) Seems to Be Dealing with a Prevalent Bot Verification Issue

It looks like X, the company formerly known as Twitter, has a Verified bot problem. It does appear that at least some of the bot accounts are older, according to the “join date” that’s displayed on their X profile. While a few were from real people joking about the bot problem, the majority were AI responses. It appears that the Verified bots are largely X accounts created in the November 24-26, 2023 timeframe. The company admitted last summer it had a Verified spammer problem when it announced new DM settings.

X’s Bot Problem: A Closer Look

It seems that X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, is facing a major issue with Verified bots. Despite X’s owner, Elon Musk, proposing a solution of charging users for verification to weed out bots, it appears that this problem still persists. In fact, a video gaining traction on competing platform Instagram’s Threads feature reveals search results on X where multiple Verified bots, marked with a blue check, are posting similar phrases such as, “I’m sorry, I cannot provide a response as it goes against OpenAI’s use case policy.”

This response is what X’s chatbot says when a user asks a question or requests a task that goes against OpenAI’s terms of service. In this case, it also indicates that the X account in question is using AI to generate its posts.

The video was posted on Threads by Parker Molloy, a writer from Chicago and former editor-at-large for Media Matters. Molloy remarks, “Twitter is a ghost town.” The post can be viewed by following @parkermolloy on Threads.

In a rather ironic turn of events, Musk is currently suing non-profit organization Media Matters for defamation after they published an article showing screenshots of ads appearing next to hate speech on the platform. This lawsuit was filed when X was experiencing a mass exodus of advertisers, ultimately hindering potential revenue. Musk even stated in an interview at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit that fleeing advertisers can “go f***” themselves.

If you cannot access the video on Threads, you can see the X search results for yourself by searching for the chatbot’s response in quotes, as demonstrated in this query here.

The comments on the video also reveal a user’s allegation that the bot activity may be coming from X itself. They argue that many of these blue checkmark accounts are older, abandoned accounts that were taken back over and turned into bots using AI, possibly in an attempt to boost metrics like daily and monthly active users.

The join date displayed on the X profiles of these bots does indicate that some of them are indeed older accounts. For example, you can see one such example here. These accounts also post content that reads as if it is the output of an AI query, which is most likely the case.

However, this does not prove that X itself is running these bot accounts, rather than a spammer who has taken over an abandoned Twitter handle.

Nevertheless, it is certainly suspicious and proves that paid verification alone is not the solution to X’s bot problem, which Musk had vowed to tackle when he acquired the platform over a year ago. In a more recent statement, Musk suggested that a small monthly payment from all users would help combat the “vast armies of bots” on the platform.

Although these Verified bots may be causing trouble for X, it is not the only area where the platform struggles with bot activity. X admitted last summer to having a spammer problem among its Verified users, leading to the introduction of new DM settings. These features aimed to reduce spam in users’ direct message inboxes by moving messages from Verified users who are not followed back to the “Message Request” inbox – another indication that X’s Verification system failed to weed out spammers.

X did not respond to requests for comment on this matter.

The company boasts 550 million monthly users, according to Musk, and sees 500 million posts per day including posts, replies, quote posts, and reposts, according to CEO Linda Yaccarino. However, neither executive has addressed whether bots factor into these metrics.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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