Tech billionaire Elon Musk said Tuesday his deal to buy Twitter Inc. “cannot go ahead” until the company clarifies how many of its hundreds of millions of active users are actually spam bots.
The development is the latest escalation in an ongoing feud between Musk and Twitter executives, who last month agreed to let the Tesla founder buy the social platform outright for around $44 billion after much talk.
However, Musk has since put the deal “on hold” as he seeks more information from the company about its true user base.
The presence of spam accounts on Twitter is widely recognized as a major problem. But in recent weeks, Twitter has claimed that fake or spam accounts account for less than 5% of its total number of users. However, many observers, including Musk, remain highly skeptical of this provision — especially since the company itself noted that the number was essentially a loose estimate.
“We used significant judgment in making this decision, so our estimate of false or spam accounts may not reflect the actual number of such accounts, and the actual number of false or spam accounts may be higher than we estimated,” the company said said in an April 28th quarterly report.
In a Tuesday tweet, Musk claimed, without citing a source, that at least 20% of Twitter users are fake, before suggesting the number could be much higher. He then dropped the gavel, declaring his acquisition withdrawn pending further clarification on the matter.
“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk said, adding, “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to provide <5% proof."
“This deal can’t move forward until he does,” he concluded.
Musk’s claim was bolstered by a recent study that found that 49.3% of the followers on President Biden’s official @POTUS Twitter account are “fake followers.” The study, conducted using an audit tool from software company SparkToro, analyzed Biden’s followers’ accounts based on a number of factors, including location issues and default profile pictures. according to Newsweek.
Market Watch reports This week, many market analysts believe Musk is using the spam bot discrepancy to negotiate a lower price on the deal or pull out altogether. But in response, Twitter confirmed his intention to close the deal on its original terms.
Musk has raised the issue before, however.
In April he has explained“If our Twitter bid is successful, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
Then in May, he added“Twitter has so much potential to be the most trusted and inclusive forum in the world! That’s why we need to eliminate bots, spam and scams. Is something actually public opinion or just someone running 100,000 fake accounts? Right now, you can’t tell.”
https://www.theblaze.com/news/musk-twitter-deal-cannot-move-forward-over-bots Elon Musk says the Twitter deal “cannot move forward” until the platform discloses how many users are really just bots