Twitter Reaches 500 Million Users...Maybe

James Johnson

When it comes to revealing the number of users on their platform Twitter tends to error on the side of caution and only slowly reveals website numbers. Twitter executives are slow to reveal actual numbers because of the incredible number of bots and spam accounts found on the social network. On the other hand outside firms love to analyze Twitter accounts to determine the websites size.

French firm Semiocast on Monday predicted that the social network reached half a billion users in June 2012.

Semiocast says its own findings have revealed 140 million users in the United States but it does not discuss the difference between active and inactive users.

In September 2011 Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said Twitter has 100 million active users who log in at least once a month and 50 million who log in every day. In May 2012 Twitter revealed 140 million active users.

If Semiocast's numbers are even close to correct that could mean Twitter has nearly 360 million accounts that are hardly ever used or that are being used as spam and bot accounts.

Taking the company's claims at face value is not easy, even some of the top computer scientists in the world have admitted that determine the difference between a one-off Twitter user and a regular Tweeter is very hard. Some company's in the past have used services such as Topsy to pull Twitter data numbers, services that are unlikely to provide exact user numbers based on engagement standards.

Some data was easier for Semiocast to pull, for example location-based tweets have shown that users in Indonesia tend to tweet more often than anywhere else in the world.