The LA Times recently ran an article about Elon Musk of lower than normal editorial standards. The article by Russ Mitchell titled, “Twitter bots helped build the cult of Elon Musk and Tesla. But who’s creating them?” is solely based on “preliminary research” by David A Kirsch. This article is adapted from the below video. Kirsch, is an Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at The University of Maryland. He has a Ph.D. in history and has published a fair number of academic papers, but absolutely none of those papers are about social media bots. This paper the LA Times wrote about doesn’t seem to exist, at least in the ways that count. The paper is not yet peer-reviewed, is not publicly available in preprint, and (at the time of recording) some of professor Kirsch’s Tweets lead me to believe the paper isn’t something that could be shared, as it still seems to be developing. After recording, Kirsch made other statements on Twitter regarding the paper’s status that were, to my mind, incompatible. One Tweet says, “[s]till in the early days with analysis.” another said, “The paper is under review.” and that the unnamed journal’s editor asked him not to distribute it. It seems weird that while Kirsch was able to speak about the paper to the LA Times, he’s prohibited from answering basic questions about his bot detection methodology. I and others have serious doubts about the validity of Kirsch’s data. Based on both the LA Times article and…Did Twitter Bots Create An Elon Musk Cult?