May 19, 2024

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Musk Links Deal Progress To Proving Annoying Bots Sharing On Twitter

Musk Links Deal Progress To Proving Annoying Bots Sharing On Twitter
  • It seeks to prove that spam bots account for less than 5% of users
  • Twitter says it’s sticking to the deal at the agreed-upon price
  • Twitter stock traded at $36.31 compared to a bid of $54.20

(Reuters) – Elon Musk said on Tuesday that his $44 billion offer wouldn’t go ahead until Twitter (TWTR.N) It shows evidence that spam bots account for less than 5% of its total users, hours after it suggested a lower price for the company.

“Based my offer on the accuracy of Twitter’s SEC filings. Yesterday, the CEO of Twitter publicly refused to provide evidence of <5% (spam accounts). Can't move forward with this deal until he does," Musk said in a tweet.

Hours later, Twitter said it was committed to completing the deal at the agreed price and terms “as soon as practicable.”

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Its stock pared its losses in pre-market trading, but was down about 3% at $36.31, lower than its price the day before Musk disclosed his stake to Twitter, raising doubts whether the billionaire businessman will continue his $54.20 share offer.

Twitter closes lower on May 16

After suspending his presentation last week of pending information about spam accounts, Musk said he suspected they account for at least 20% of users compared to Twitter’s official estimate of 5%.

“You can’t pay the same price for something much worse than what they claimed,” he said Monday at the All-In Summit 2022 in Miami.

Asked if the deal would be viable at a different rate, Musk said, “I mean, that’s absolutely out of the question. The more questions I ask, the more I fear.”

“They claim they’ve got this complex methodology that no one can understand… It can’t be a deep mystery more complex than the human soul or something like that.”

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted Monday that internal estimates of the social media platform’s spam accounts for the past four quarters were “well below 5%,” responding to Musk’s criticism of the company’s handling of fake accounts.

Agrawal said Twitter’s estimate, which has remained the same since 2013, cannot be reproduced externally due to the need to use public and private information to determine if an account is spam.

Musk responded to Agrawal’s defense of methodology with a stool emoji. “How do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to Twitter’s financial health,” he wrote.

Musk has vowed to make changes to Twitter’s content editing practices, dismissing decisions such as banning former President Donald Trump as overly aggressive while vowing to combat “spam software.” Read more

Musk called for tests on random samples of Twitter users to identify bots. He said, “There is a possibility that more than 90% of daily active users are.”

He expects the total number of Twitter users to grow to nearly 600 million in 2025 and to 931 million within six years from now.

“Given Musk believes that 80% of Twitter’s current 229 million users are human, it’s hard to believe the company can achieve its long-term goals,” Jefferies analyst Brent Thiel said.

Additional reporting by Katie Paul and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, Crystal Ho in New York, Nivedita Palu and Chobham Kalia in Bengaluru Editing by Kenneth Lee, Matthew Lewis, Bernard Orr, Aditya Soni and Aaron Koyor

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.