Musk is looking for evidence of the share of spam bots on Twitter to push the deal

Elon Musk said Tuesday his $44 billion bid would not go ahead until Twitter could prove spam bots make up less than 5 percent of its total users, hours after he suggested he offered a lower price for the company could strive for.

My offer was based on the accuracy of Twitter’s SEC filings. Yesterday the CEO of Twitter publicly refused to show proof of <5% (spam accounts). This deal can't move forward until it does," Musk said in a tweet.

After suspending his offer last week to await information about spam accounts, Musk said he suspects they make up at least 20 percent of users — compared to Twitter’s official estimate of 5 percent.

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

Asked at the conference if the Twitter deal was viable at a different price, Musk said, “I mean, it’s not out of the question. The more questions I ask, the more concerned I become.”

“They claim they have this complex methodology that only they can understand… It can’t be a deep mystery more complex than the human soul or something.”

The stock was down more than 8 percent on Monday to close at $37.39, down from its level on the day before Musk announced his Twitter stake in early April, raising doubts that the billionaire entrepreneur is on track with his acquisition would continue at the agreed price.

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

Twitter’s estimate, which has remained the same since 2013, could not be reproduced externally because both public and private information must be used to determine if an account is spam, Agrawal said.

Musk responded to Agrawal’s defense of the methodology with a poop emoji.

“So how do advertisers know what they are getting for their money? This is fundamental to Twitter’s financial health,” he wrote.

Musk has pledged changes to Twitter’s content moderation practices and has lashed out at decisions like banning former President Donald Trump for being overly aggressive, while pledging to crack down on “spam bots.”

Musk has called for testing samples of Twitter users to identify bots. He said, “There’s a fair chance it’s over 90 percent of daily active users.”

Independent researchers have estimated that between 9 and 15 percent of the millions of Twitter profiles are bots.

Spam bots or fake accounts are designed to manipulate or artificially boost activity on social media platforms like Twitter.

Twitter currently does not require users to register with their real identity and expressly allows automated, parodic and pseudonymous profiles.

It bans impersonation and spam, and penalizes accounts if it determines their purpose is to “deceive or manipulate others” by engaging in fraud, coordinating abuse campaigns, or artificially inflating engagement.

Musk’s comments to a private audience could raise concerns about his disclosure of market-moving information.

Musk, known for his candid Twitter posts, has a long history of skirmishes with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

A US judge recently blasted him for trying to avoid a settlement with the SEC demanding oversight of his Tesla tweets. Musk is looking for evidence of the share of spam bots on Twitter to push the deal

Fry Electronics Team

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