Twitter is currently refuting reports that 8.5 percent of its active users are bots that post automatically.
Multiple sites reported on a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing that shows that “up to approximately 8.5% of all active users used third party applications that may have automatically contacted our servers for regular updates without any discernable additional user-initiated action," according to Twitter.
Initial reports from outlets such as Fast Company
erroneously reported that Twitter has 23 million active bots.
The filing also reported that 11 percent of active users “solely used third-party applications to access Twitter.”
The SEC filing doesn’t go into detail about the discrepancy or the types of apps used. However, Time was able to make some sense of the whole thing
We can glean something from the 11 percent figure, though, as the roughly 8.5 percent of users on third party apps that can only auto-pull is contained in that figure, Twitter said. That means the remaining chunk—as little as 2.5 percent—indicates the percentage of users using third party apps that don’t have the capacity to auto-pull, Twitter said.
So what does that mean? The users in this 2.5 percent group are using third party apps that may have the capacity to automatically post content in an authentic, non-spamming manner—friendly “bots,” if you will—such as the Earthquake Robot feed, which automatically tweets news about earthquakes.
It should be noted that false or spam accounts are not counted among Twitter’s active monthly users, so if you're trying to get a handle on just how many of Twitter's users are bots, this week's info isn't going to do a ton to help you.