Twitter’s CEO argues with Musk over bot accounts (update – Musk says deal cannot move forward!)
UPDATE: Elon Musk now stated the Twitter deal cannot move forward until accurate numbers on the bot accounts are provided. Here’s his most recent tweet on the topic. From what it seems, Musk may decide to not move forward with the deal:
20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher.
My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.
Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%.
This deal cannot move forward until he does.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022
Our original story continues below.
Twitter CEO and Elon Musk are in what looks like a dispute over bot accounts on Twitter
As we already reported, on Friday Musk tweeted that the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter was put on hold while he requested details supporting the claim that fake accounts (generated by bots and not by real people) represent less than 5% of Twitter’s active users. In response to that, Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, stated that Musk’s suggestion to measure the problem by performing a random sampling of 100 accounts cannot work. He added that the estimation for the last four quarters is that bot accounts are way below 5%.
Additionally, Agrawal stated that in order to perform an external check of which accounts belonged to bots and not real people, they would need to use private information and Twitter doesn’t share it, so it was impossible to do it.
Well, Elon Musk was not really happy with this answer, and his response was… well, eloquent:
Despite being unhappy with this response, Musk has previously stated that he is still committed to the acquisition but did not share any more details about the status of the deal.
Twitter’s CEO, on the other hand, listed other reasons why the way monitoring for spam and bot activity could be a challenge. He stated that many accounts that are run by real people might look fake superficially.
Elon Musk maintained that the estimate and its legitimacy are actually very important. He added that advertisers need to know what they’re getting for their money, and underlined that the estimate is fundamental to the financial health of the social media platform.
Previously, Musk has reportedly told investors he wants to change Twitter and make it rely less on advertising money and more on subscriptions, and that most of its revenue should instead be coming from subscriptions.
We will see how this conversation will unfold, but it sure does seem that the acquisition deal of Twitter might not happen immediately. Of course, when conversations like that are held publicly, there are bound to be speculations on what it all means. Some of the speculations following Elon Musk’s tweet on Friday suggest that his goal may be to complete the deal at a lower price or try to find a way to walk away from it.
However, it is unclear what the ultimate goal is. Twitter’s CEO, nevertheless, seems committed to standing behind the company’s reported numbers.
Twitter acquisition deal: a quick recap of the events for the curious
Okay, if you’ve not been following the situation with Twitter’s acquisition deal, worry not – here’s a quick recap of what happened.
On April 5, 2022, Elon Musk was appointed to Twitter’s board (this was before he proposed a bid to buy Twitter) and was welcomed by Agrawal in a tweet.
However, not long after that, on April 11, Musk announced he won’t be taking a seat on the Board of Twitter, surprising most of the internet.
And then, on April 14, Musk bid $41 billion to buy the entirety of Twitter and make it a private company, in an attempt to ensure free speech (and whatever else his agenda is, nobody knows)
Then, on April 25, Twitter agreed to be bought out by Musk for $44 billion or $54.20 a share in cash. And then, on May 13, Musk put the deal on hold for the mentioned above concerns.