Elon Musk: Twitter Deal ‘Cannot Move Forward’ Until Bot Data Clarified

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Twitter shares tumbled again after Elon Musk said that his $44 billion purchase of the social media platform “cannot move forward” until there is more clarity on the website’s spam bots.

“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Musk responded to a report that he might be looking for a better deal for the social network as experts believe his proposal could be too high if one-fifth of users are fake or spam accounts.

Twitter confirmed soon after that it had submitted a preliminary proxy statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pertaining to Musk’s offer of $54.20 a share.

“Twitter is committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable,” the company said.

“The preliminary proxy statement contains important information including the background of, and reasons for, Twitter’s transaction with Mr. Musk.”

“The transaction is subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in 2022,” Twitter added in a statement.

In a 13-post Twitter thread Monday, the company’s CEO Parag Agrawal attempted to counter claims that the social media outlet is filled with fake accounts.

“We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter,” Agrawal wrote. “We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam – if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc).”

Agrawal added that it is not possible to determine the total number of spam accounts on Twitter and to “know which accounts are counted as mDAUs [monetizable Daily Active Users] on any given day.”

This prompted the billionaire to respond with a poop emoji.

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” Musk wrote minutes later.

In its first-quarter earnings report last month, Twitter estimated that spam bots represented fewer than 5 percent of its mDAUs in the January-to-March period. The San Francisco-based tech giant also confirmed that it overstated user numbers by as many as 1.9 million over the last three years.

“In March of 2019, we launched a feature that allowed people to link multiple separate accounts together in order to conveniently switch between accounts,” Twitter disclosed. “An error was made at that time, such that actions taken via the primary account resulted in all linked accounts being counted as mDAU.”

When Musk posted on Friday that the Twitter takeover was “temporarily on hold,” he added that his team could conduct “a random sample of 100 followers of @Twitter,” recommending others do the same.

By Andrew Moran

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