Understanding Elon Musk's war on Twitter's bots – Axios





Twitter bots are a big problem for Elon Musk, or so he claims — so big that he says he'll blow up his deal to acquire the social media platform if the company doesn't agree with his diagnosis.
Yes, but: Whether Musk really means it or he's just got buyer's remorse, his bot-phobia is a head-scratcher for many Twitter veterans, who see bots as a big part of what makes the platform useful and fun.
The big picture: Twitter bots are programs that post to Twitter based on coded instructions (written by humans). There are:
Here are four things to know about Twitter bots.
1. Bots aren't new. "Bots are hot. In online environments, they are both popular and pestiferous, the cause of constant comment and debate… They are proliferating. They are increasingly complex. They cause as many problems as they solve. They will not go away."
2. Many bots are good. Bots have been enriching my Twitter experience for over a decade, adding levity and serendipity to an otherwise too-often-bleak feed. Bots provide me with everything from random quotes from "Moby Dick" or the Mountain Goats to mashups of Brian Eno's maxims and emo lyrics.
3. Some bots are truly evil. They harass people or promote fraud. But eliminating them is not a simple problem.
4. No one knows for sure what it is about bots that bugs Musk. One good guess is that crypto scammers have swamped his replies with automated come-ons because they view his 90-million-strong following as full of easy marks.
Between the lines: Musk is a big believer in robots, too.
The bottom line: Many smart observers believe Musk's bot fight is simply an excuse for him to blow up his Twitter deal in the middle of a stock market rout that has made the original terms a lot less attractive to him.
Our thought bubble: Bots are simple — it's people that are complex.

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