API rate caps at the heart of Musk’s decision to quit Twitter • The Register

A row over API rate caps is at the heart of Elon Musk’s decision to exit his proposed acquisition of Twitter.

Musk has made several public statements about his desire to know how many Twitter accounts are bot-run or otherwise inauthentic, believing that the number of shady accounts affects the company’s value. The billionaire therefore sought information on Twitter’s methods of detecting and handling fake accounts before finalizing the deal.

One of the documents [PDF] Twitter, filed after Musk pulled the plug, includes a letter from Musk’s attorneys detailing these intelligence-gathering efforts.

These APIs included a rate limit lower than what Twitter offers its enterprise customers

A section of the document alleges that Musk and his team “located a variety of board materials, including a working bottom-up 2022 financial model, a 2022 budget, an updated draft plan or budget, and a working copy of Goldman Sachs’ valuation model.” , which forms the basis of his Fairness Opinion.”

“Twitter only provided a PDF copy of Goldman Sachs’ final board presentation.”

Other disclosures, the document states, “are stringed, use restrictions, or other artificial formatting features, rendering some of the information of minimal use to Mr. Musk and his advisers.”

“For example, when Twitter finally granted access to the eight developer APIs that Mr. Musk first specifically requested in his May 25 letter, those APIs included a rate limit that was lower than what Twitter offers to its largest enterprise customers.

“Twitter only offered to give Mr. Musk the same access as some of his clients after we explained that the rate limit throttling was preventing Mr. Musk and his advisors from performing the analysis he wanted to do in a reasonable timeframe.”

“Also, these APIs contained an artificial ‘ceiling’ on the number of queries Mr. Musk and his team could run regardless of the rate limit — an issue that initially prevented Mr. Musk and his advisers from completing an analysis of the data they contained within.” a reasonable period of time,” the document said.

Musk and his team raised the issue of query limits on June 29, but Twitter didn’t change the limit until July 6 — after Musk asked a second time for it to be lifted.

Not responding to requests from electric vehicles, tunneling, AI, space-based internet access, tequila, and rocket entrepreneurs for better access to the data provided by the API led to a situation where Musk believed Twitter was violating the merger agreement.

So he pulled the plug, leaving the question of why Twitter might have allowed limited access to its APIs or why it couldn’t provide more access since it operates at a significant scale.

If the decision was a tactic, it will undoubtedly have to be looked at by courts – and Twitter chairman Bret Taylor has already indicated that the bird network intends to hear the matter in the Delaware Court of Chancery so that the deal can be closed.

For his part, Musk spent the weekend tweeting about his space internet company Starlink, implying that the twin children he acknowledged last week were part of his effort to address humanity’s population crisis. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/11/twitter_apis_elon_musk_acquisition/ API rate caps at the heart of Musk’s decision to quit Twitter • The Register

Chrissy Callahan

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