ELON Musk has cast further doubts on his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, as he wonders how many of its users are spambots.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the billionaire Tesla boss said the purchase “can’t go ahead” until CEO Parag Agrawal provides “proof” that less than five percent of the accounts are fake.
Musk, 50, has publicly fallen out with Agrawal over the number of bot accounts on the platform.
He has said he believes they are higher than Twitter’s official numbers show.
It follows Musk’s revelation last week that his purchase of Twitter will be “temporarily suspended” while he seeks more details on fake accounts.
He later clarified that he “still stands by the acquisition.”
The company’s stock fell amid the confusion.
Spambots — autonomous accounts that send spam to large numbers of users — are something Twitter is aware of.
In recent figures shared with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), it estimates that less than five percent of daily active users are bots.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Agrawal sparked a heated exchange with Musk about his spam concerns.
The chief executive claimed that internal estimates were actually “well below” the reported 5 percent, adding that he didn’t think the number could be accurately scrutinized by a third party.
Musk responded to the tweets with a single poo emoji. He then asked how Twitter’s advertisers knew what they were getting for their money.
In Tuesday’s tweet, he fleshed out his feedback, claiming that up to 20 percent of accounts could be fake.
“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk wrote.
“Yesterday the CEO of Twitter publicly refused to provide <5% proof. This deal can't move forward until he does."
At a technology conference in Miami on Monday, Musk estimated that at least 20 percent of Twitter’s 229 million accounts are spambots.
According to Bloomberg, he said that percentage is on the low end of his estimate.
Also at the all-in summit, Musk gave the strongest hint yet that he wants to pay less for Twitter than his $44 billion offer last month.
He said a viable deal at a lower price wasn’t out of the question.
His recent comments have supported analyst theories that Musk is either going out of business or targeting a lower price.
His change of heart is believed to have been caused by a huge drop in the value of Tesla stock, some of which he pledged to fund the Twitter acquisition.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8808011/elon-musk-twitter-deal-cannot-move-forward-spam-bots/ Elon Musk’s Twitter deal on the brink of collapse as billionaire warns deal ‘cannot move forward’ over fake bots