Elon Musk is asking the SEC to evaluate Twitter user numbers

Elon Musk, during an event at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, on Thursday, October 10, 2019.

Bloomberg/Getty

In the middle of his deal to take over Twitter, Elon Musk has asked the US Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate the number of users on the social network.

Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, wrote in an informal Twitter poll Tuesday: “Twitter claims that >95% of daily active users are real, unique people. Has anyone had this experience?” He then said in response to a follower who suggested the SEC start an investigation, “Hi @SECGovis anyone at home?”

The SEC has been aware of Twitter’s dismal metrics for years.

Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion last month but said the deal has since been on hold as it deals with bots, spam and fakes. Twitter has said it still expects the transaction to go through at the agreed price of $54.20 per share.

Investors dumped the shares over concerns that Musk will abandon his agreement, which would force him to pay a $1 billion break-up fee. Twitter stock has given up all of its gains since Musk first announced his 9% stake in the company earlier last month.

Shares of Twitter rose more than 3% on Tuesday to $38.76, below the close of $39.31 on April 1, the last trading session before Musk announced his minority stake.

In its financial report for the first quarter of this year, Twitter acknowledged that there are a number of “fake or spam accounts” on its platform, alongside legitimate monetizable daily active usages or users (mDAUs). The company stated that the average fake or spam accounts accounted for less than 5% of mDAUs during this period.

Twitter also admitted to overstating user numbers by 1.4 million to 1.9 million users over the past three years.

“In March 2019, we launched a feature that allows people to link multiple separate accounts together for convenient account switching,” Twitter announced. “At this point, an error was made such that actions taken through the primary account resulted in all linked accounts being counted as mDAU.”

Musk has repeatedly expressed his contempt for the SEC, including on Twitter in October 2018when he called the agency the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission,” and in July 2020 when he wrote: “SEC, three letter acronym, middle word is Elons.”

The SEC previously charged Musk with securities fraud in 2018 after he tweeted that he was considering privatizing his auto company for $420 a share and that “funding was secured.” They have reached a settlement agreement to settle the matter. But Musk has said the Financial Regulator’s ongoing investigation amounts to harassment.

WATCH: Elon Musk doesn’t appear to have any evidence to support his bot claims

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/17/elon-musk-calls-on-sec-to-evaluate-twitter-user-numbers.html Elon Musk is asking the SEC to evaluate Twitter user numbers

Jane Marczewski

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