LA Times Is Wrong About Elon Musk Twitter Bots

LA Times ran an article claiming that Elon Musk used Twitter bots to prop up Teslas falling stock price. The trouble is the article is based on flawed research from one guy, David A Kirsch. Kirsch has a flawed research methodology, and apparently an ax to grind with Tesla.

Mason Pelt from Push ROI made a video, and later an article criticizing. Kirsch’s approach to research, that used a tool called Botometer. The Botometer tool has a lot of criticism from data scientists. in several studies. 1, 2, 3 the tool has been shown unreliable.

One Twitter user even manipulated their score with Botometer.

Pelt was from the only critic, as others pointed out both flaws in the Botometer tool, and the fact that Kirsch refused to share any details about his methodology or the accounts that he identified as bots.

“The claim that Elon Musk is wielding a bot army to promote Tesla is an old conspiracy that just won’t fade away — or some people won’t let fade away. I don’t think there’s much chance Elon Musk or Tesla are utilizing a Twitter bot army to pump the stock or promote Tesla in a positive light, despite recent thinly veiled accusations from the LA Times on the matter. The approach simply doesn’t mesh with Elon Musk’s philosophy or business approach on a variety of matters.” opens an article by Johnna Crider for CleanTechnica.

Crider’s article brought my attention to the fact that Kirsch seems to have an ax to grind with Tesla.

On top of that, no one has seen the paper.

And it seems like no one is going to see it.

No one at all is arguing that bots aren’t real. We’ve all seen bots prop up crypto scams. Generally, people aren’t even arguing that Twitter bots aren’t talking about Tesla given the volume of scams impersonating Musk.

“I’m not saying no bot accounts pushed Tesla. It’s Twitter; I’m sure bots said many things. But the speculation that Elon Musk or his agents used botnets to push up tesla stock or build his cult of personality is not well supported. That claim is based on research that isn’t reviewed, isn’t published as a preprint (so it can’t be analyzed by others), uses a flawed tool for bot identification, and is orchestrated by someone whose research is not generally social bots.” concluded Pelt’s article.