New data shows that X has a bot problem unlike any other.
Credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

This week, Super Bowl 2024 set records as the most-watched televised event in U.S. history, aired on CBS.

Also gaining traction post-Super Bowl? Elon Musk’s X. Formerly known as Twitter, X released a press release celebrating Super Bowl LVIII as one of the biggest events on the platform, boasting over 10 billion impressions and 1 billion video views.

However, a significant portion of X’s traffic might be fake, according to data shared with Mashable by CHEQ, a cybersecurity firm specializing in tracking bots and fake users.

CHEQ revealed that a staggering 75.85 percent of traffic from X to its clients’ websites over the Super Bowl weekend was fake.


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“I’ve never seen anything even remotely close to 50 percent, not to mention 76 percent,” said CHEQ founder and CEO Guy Tytunovich to Mashable about the fake traffic data from X. “I’m amazed…I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen anything even remotely close.”

The data CHEQ provided for this report was based on 144,000 visits to its clients’ sites originating from X during the Super Bowl weekend in February. Although it’s not a scientifically sampled data set, it indicates a concerning trend.

CHEQ monitors bots and fake users across the web to combat online ad fraud. The company tracks how visitors from various sources, such as X, engage with a client’s page after clicking on their links. It also detects when bots pretend to be real users, mimicking behaviors like using a specific operating system to browse a site.

X users have noticed an increase in seemingly inauthentic activity lately, with bots flooding viral posts with AI-generated responses or spamming mentions with unsolicited promotions. This recent data aligns with these observations.

Advertisers too have observed X’s bot issues. In a recent article in The Guardian, a small business owner shared results of an X ad campaign. Despite X showing 350 clicks from approximately 29,000 views after a $50 ad spend, Google Analytics revealed that X wasn’t the source of any actual traffic to the website during that period.

In a conversation with Mashable, Tytunovich mentioned the common statistic that about half of internet traffic consists of bots. However, he expressed skepticism about this figure, as their data suggests it could be much higher.

Comparing X’s Super Bowl traffic with other social media platforms during the same period highlights the severity of the bot issue on Musk’s platform. Data provided by CHEQ for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok showed significantly lower rates of fake traffic compared to X’s nearly 76 percent.

Of over 40 million visits from TikTok, only 2.56 percent were fake. Similarly, Facebook had 2.01 percent fake visits out of 8.1 million, and Instagram had 0.73 percent fake visits out of 68,700.

Tytunovich noted that spikes in fake traffic during major events like U.S. elections are expected, but X’s 75.85 percent fake traffic is unprecedented.

Even beyond the Super Bowl, X’s bot issue persists. Data from CHEQ for the entire month of January 2024 showed similar fake traffic rates for TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, all significantly lower than X’s 31.82 percent fake traffic.

Musk and X have been urged to address the bot problem by Tytunovich, who highlighted that their company’s data only pertains to bots visiting clients’ sites from platforms like X, not the platforms themselves.

However, the significant presence of fake activity across various industries and markets indicates a broad issue within X.

Efforts to rein in the bot problem must extend beyond event-specific occurrences like the Super Bowl, given the consistent fake traffic patterns observed on X.

Social Media
Super Bowl
Elon Musk


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