Musk has been given a golden goose to help him in his legal battle. The tech mogul is trying to cancel his $44 billion bid because he believes that there is not enough transparency about the number of bot on the platform. He went to court to get him to honor his agreement. Musk can use data from the company's former head of security, Peiter "Mudge" Zatko, to support his claim.

If Musk is still trying to find an actual number of bots, he won't find it here.

The information came from a complaint that Mudge made earlier this year to the U.S. SEC, FTC and DOJ.

There's a lot of information on the subject of bot on the complaint.

Mudge has stated that he didn't share information with Musk about the topic of bots.

According to the report,udge began preparing these disclosures in March of 2022. Bots have been a topic of discussion for at least a decade at this point in time. There is a specific reference to the spat between Musk and Twitter in the complaint published today by the non-profit. The Washington Post reported that Mudge was contacted by Musk before this report became public in connection with Musk's legal case.

A section of about 11 pages is dedicated to the bot issue in the 84-page complaint.

According to Mudge, executives are not incentivized to accurately detect or report the total amount of bot activity on the platform.

He said that the creation of a new user metric at the company was the reason for the attempt to move the discussion away from bot. The complaint notes that the number was stopped because of negative swings for a variety of reasons, including the removal of large numbers of inappropriate accounts.

Mudge complains that the mDAU metric is a subject of criticism because it is a rosier picture of the company. It could internally define the mDAU formula and report numbers that would assure shareholders and advertisers.

Advertisers use mDAU to calculate the effectiveness of ads, so executives are incentivized to not count the bots as mDAU. To present a bad picture to advertisers, it has not been disclosed or counted as part of mDAU.

The bullseye is never struck here. There are many millions of active accounts that are not considered as part of mDAU because they are not monetized.

He went on to say that Musk is correct. There is little or no personal incentive to accurately detect or measure the prevalence ofSpam.

There is an explanation for how hard it is to figure out how many bots are on the platform.

When Mudge talked to the former head of site integrity, he said they didn't know.

The company couldn't provide an accurate upper bound on the number of bots on the platform because they couldn't measure them. He claims that revealing the numbers would hurt the company.

There is a very interesting detail in the report about a tool called ROPO, short for read only, phone only. There is a script that identifies and blocks bot based on how little accounts are engaging in content If the account is just a natural lurker, it can be verified by sending a text message with a one-time code. The account is switched to read only if it is a bot.

Mudge notes that an executive during his time there proposed disabling ROPO altogether, claiming that it brought up too many errors. The Site Integrity exec teamed up with Mudge to try to prevent it from getting disabled, since “ROPO was effectively blocking more than 10-12 million bots each month with a surprisingly low rate (<1%)>

There is a lot of wordplay from the current CEO over how many bot accounts there are. The long and short is that the complaint dances around numbers but never lands on them, which shows the point that it doesn't have a grip on this number, or at least doesn't have a grip that it's willing to reveal.

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