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.
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
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
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
Read of copy of the CID here.