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76% of Super Bowl Traffic From Elon Musk’s X to Advertisers Could Be Fake | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware | #hacking | #aihp

Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) published a press release this week in which the brand celebrated a major advertising win during Super Bowl LVIII last Sunday. The company claimed its posts and video views rose by 31%, 41% and 75% over 2023. But cybersecurity firm CHEQ released a report Friday that revealed 75.85% of that traffic to advertisers CHEQ works with appeared to be fake.

“I’ve never seen anything even remotely close to 50 percent, not to mention 76 percent,” the company’s founder and CEO Guy Tytunovich told Mashable. “I’m amazed… I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen anything even remotely close.”

CHEQ based its report on 144,000 visits to its clients’ sites throughout the weekend leading up to the game and on Super Bowl Sunday itself. The company routinely keeps tabs on fake users and bots online as part of its services. CHEQ uses information from how visitors interact with a client’s page and their operating system to determine if those visitors are fake.

Tytunovich said that when it came to measuring fake traffic, CHEQ has generally been on the more conservative end. He explained, “We protect a lot of our customers on Google Ads, YouTube, and even TikTok, which I’m not a fan of, and we’ve always said 50 percent [being fake] is a bit opportunistic.”

“I almost decided not to go out [and publish this data] because we’ve never seen anything like it,” Tytunovich added.

He also provided CHEQ traffic data from TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. Over that same period of time around the Super Bowl, the company reported that 2.56% of traffic from TikTok was fake, 2.01% of traffic from Facebook and just 0.73% from Instagram — which may be among the reasons that brands have embraced the platform. CHEQ alsoshared traffic results from January 2024, which revealed 2.8% of visits from TikTok weren’t real, 2% from Facebook and 0.96% of Instagram’s traffic — compared with 31.82% of traffic from X during the same month.

When compared to data from the 2023 Super Bowl, Tytunovich said the number of bot visitors from X was 72% lower at that point — fake visitors accounted for only 2.81% of site traffic. At the time, 2,000-3,000 users had signed up for Twitter Blue (now X Premium), and the platform was not inundated with “verified” users. Additionally, in the last year, Musk has fired 80% of the Trust and Safety engineers at the company.

Musk has not addressed the CHEQ report. On Saturday, he retweeted a post by “DogeDesigner” that claimed, “BREAKING: 𝕏 is growing faster than ever before.”

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