Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to a public debate about bot data

The data is the reason why Musk backed out of the Twitter acquisition deal.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Elon Musk (left), and Parag Agrawal (right).
Elon Musk (left), and Parag Agrawal (right).Wikimedia Commons and Twitter.
  • Elon Musk said he would proceed with the takeover of Twitter disclosed bot data.
  • He challenged Parag Agrawal to a public debate.
  • He also released a poll on the matter, asking the public to vote.

By now, we all know about Elon Musk’s opinion on Twitter’s reporting of spam bots and fake accounts. It was the reason why he backed away from buying the social media platform.

Asking for a public debate on the bots matter

This, of course, caused Twitter to sue him. Never one to be silenced, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO now says he wants a public debate to settle the matter, and he took to Twitter to announce it.

It all began with a tweet thread by cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa summarizing Musk's countersuit against Twitter. Musk responded to that threat on Saturday by saying that he would proceed with his proposed $44 billion takeover of Twitter if the social platform simply disclosed how it tracks bots and fake accounts.

"If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they're confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not," Musk wrote.

But that’s not all. The billionaire took it one step further by challenging Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a public debate. "I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!"

To substantiate his facts, he also created a poll, asking followers for yes or no answers to the following statement "Less than 5% of Twitter daily users are fake/spam."

At least 20 percent of Twitter's daily active users are fake or spam accounts

The entrepreneur has in the past said that he believes at least 20 percent of Twitter's daily active users are fake or spam accounts. Meanwhile, Twitter responded by stating that the figure is actually less than 5 percent.

Musk then stated that he hasn't received any proof corroborating that number and that he refuses to move forward with the acquisition deal until it is proven to be accurate.

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In the past, Twitter did provide Musk access with a tool that would allow him to verify the fake account numbers. However, Musk responded that the tool had an artificial 'cap' on the number of queries that could be executed, preventing his team from carrying out a complete analysis in any reasonable period of time.

If Agrawal responds to Musk’s new Tweets, it won’t be the first time the CEOs have had an interaction on the spam/bots debate. In May, the Twitter executive published a long thread explaining why fighting fake/spam accounts was difficult on the platform, to which Musk responded with a poop emoji.