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Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

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Elon Musk's Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots

Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.

According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.

Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.

And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.

Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.

In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:

  • Total user tweets (within a given time period)
  • Data on which devices were used

As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.

It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:

  • Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
  • Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
  • Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
  • Date, time, location, device info

That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.

I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.

But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.

But still, given Musk and Co’s past history of undermining and attacking critics, sacking trouble maker employees and digging up potential dirt on rivals, it sits a little uneasy.

Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).

According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.

Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.

The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.

Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.

Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.

It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.



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Google Launches New Add-On Prompts to Guide Discovery in Search

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Google Launches New Add-On Prompts to Guide Discovery in Search

With AI technology advancing, and changing the way that people use various apps by providing more recommendations and suggestions in process, Google has today announced a new update for Search which will provide related topics to help refine your query as you go.

As you can see in these examples, now, Google will provide a listing of related topics within your Search results, providing an easy way for users to simply tap on each and hone their results.

As per Google:

You can add or remove topics, which are designated by a + symbol, to quickly zoom in or backtrack on a search. For example, if you’re searching for ‘dinner ideas’, you might see topics like ‘healthy’ or ‘easy’. Tapping on a topic adds it to your query, helping you quickly refine your search results with less typing.”

So it’s essentially Pinterest’s ‘Guided Search’ which it added back in 2014, but within the main Google Search page.

Pinterest Guided Search

Google’s actually already replicated Guided Search several times, for recipes, images and within its Shopping tab. As such, this, functionally, this, functionally, isn’t anything new, but it is interesting to consider within the context of the general Google Search process, and how it might play a role in driving future discovery trends, and maximizing the functionality of the app.

Google says that the related topic listings are dynamic, and will evolve based on your behavior.

“When you conduct a search, our systems automatically display relevant topics for you based on what we understand about how people search and from analyzing content across the web. Both topics and filters are shown in the order that our systems automatically determine is most helpful for your specific query. If you don’t see a particular filter you want, you can find more using the “All filters” option, which is available at the end of the row.”

So you’ll have a few ways to refine the results, which could make it easier to skim through different ideas, and zone in on more specific areas.

In terms of SEO, that shouldn’t have a big impact, as it’s working with existing trends, so the add-on qualifiers should relate to what people are already searching for, as opposed to guided users towards new and different areas of interest.

But it could amplify existing trends, by reiterating them to more users. For example, if people who search for ‘dinner ideas’ are regularly being shown ‘healthy’ as an add-on, that could make ‘healthy dinner ideas’ a bigger search trend over time, as more people lean into such because of these prompts, as opposed to taking whatever results they would have got without the add-on term.

So it could guide user behavior towards more common trends. Which shouldn’t have a big impact, but could, again, help to make the most common trends even more significant.

Maybe that has an impact on long-tail search terms and more specific trends, as people stop getting more granular – but that also supposes that a lot of people end up using these add-on terms, which we don’t know will happen as yet.

As noted, AI and machine learning-based systems are becoming more common elements in guiding user behavior online, with newer systems like ChatGPT potentially even besting Google for more in-depth answers to user prompts, based on various web-based inputs. Some believe that these systems could actually disrupt Google’s hold on the Search ecosystem, and as such, it’s not really surprising to see Google looking to add more guided elements into search to lean into this shift.

It’ll be interesting to see how these systems evolve, and whether they do indeed lead to the rise of a new challenger in Search and discovery.

Before that happens, you can bet that Google will add in more tools and options to enhance its processes.

The new Google add-on prompts are being rolled out to US users from this week, with other regions to follow.

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