TX AG Paxton Eyes Twitter Over Fake Bot Accounts
June 7, 2022
Today Attorney General Ken Paxton launched an investigation against
Twitter for potentially false reporting over its fake bot accounts in
violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
On Twitter, “bots” are automated, non-human accounts that can do
virtually the same things as real people: send tweets, follow other
users, and like and retweet others’ posts. Spam accounts like these
inflate followers and reach, and often push deceptive and annoying
activity. Bot accounts can not only reduce the quality of users’
experience on the platform but may also inflate the value of the company
and the costs of doing business with it, thus directly harming Texas
consumers and businesses.
Twitter has received intense scrutiny in recent weeks over claiming in
its financial regulatory filings that fewer than 5% of all users are
bots, when they may in fact comprise as much as 20% or more. The
difference could dramatically affect the cost to Texas consumers and
businesses who transact with Twitter.
address this concern, Attorney General Paxton issued a Civil
Investigative Demand (CID) to investigate whether Twitter’s reporting on
real versus fake users is “false, misleading, or deceptive” under the
Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The CID requires Twitter to turn
over documents related to how it calculates and manages its user data
and how these numbers relate to Twitter’s advertising businesses.
Twitter has until June 27 to respond to Attorney General Paxton’s
“Texans rely on Twitter’s public statements that nearly all its users
are real people. It matters not only for regular Twitter users, but also
Texas businesses and advertisers who use Twitter for their livelihoods,”
said Attorney General Paxton. “If Twitter is misrepresenting how many
accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect