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Elon Musk: Twitter Deal 'Cannot Move Forward' Until CEO Shows Extent of Bot Activity

Elon Musk said that his $44 billion acquisition "cannot move forward" until he has determined precisely how many users on Twitter are fake.

2 min read
Elon Musk in 2020. Image: Shutterstock

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said today that his planned deal to acquire Twitter for $44 billion could "not move forward" until the social media company is able to provide more information as to how many fake accounts exist on the platform.

"20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be much higher," tweeted the SpaceX and Tesla CEO on Tuesday.

During a conference in Miami on Monday, Musk also said that renegotiating the Twitter takeover was not "out of the question," adding that knowing exactly how many bots exist on the platform is "as unknowable as the human soul."

Parag Agrawal, the current CEO of Twitter, took to Twitter yesterday to explain how the company counts and monitors spam on the platform. "Our actual internal estimates for the last four quarters were all well under 5%," he wrote.

Last Friday, Musk said that his $44 billion acquisition of the social media platform was "temporarily on hold" until he could verify that less than 5% of Twitter users were "spam/fake accounts." He cited a May 2 report from Reuters for these figures.

Putting the deal on hold seemed to have a much more bearish effect on Twitter's stock price. At that time, TWTR sunk by 19% following Musk's comments.

Today, the stock is down roughly 3% premarket.

Elon Musk, Twitter, and plans for the future

This is not the first time Musk has raised concerns around bot activity on the microblogging site. When discussing his plans for Twitter once the acquisition had been concluded, the Tesla chief said that eliminating spam was one of his top priorities.

After that, he said he would make Twitter's code open-source, build an edit button, and perhaps even add Dogecoin as a payments option for the platform's premium service.

Beyond throwing Dogecoin into the media circus that has been this acquisition attempt, many within the cryptosphere have rallied around Musk's ambitions to make the internet's "de facto town square" one that promotes free speech.

Crypto's largest exchange, Binance, has, for example, backed Musk's acquisition with $500 million, according to a recent 13D filing with the SEC. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao called it "a small contribution to the cause."

The filing also included investors such as Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, both of which have been extremely active in the crypto space.

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