Elon Musk says Twitter deal 'can’t move forward' without correct bot numbers

The statement comes after a long quarrel with the Twitter CEO.
Ameya Paleja

Elon Musk's tirade against Twitter's spam accounts continues into this week with the Tesla CEO questioning gains for Twitter's advertisers under the social media company's handling of spam accounts, Bloomberg reported.  

After making a $44 billion bid for Twitter, Elon Musk has put the deal on hold, citing worries over the number of spam accounts on the platform. In its regulatory filings, the company has pegged this number at under five percent, but Musk went on record to state that the number was around 20 percent.

Now, Musk has publicly confirmed that the deal cannot proceed unless Twitter can publicly show that its spam accounts are lower than 5 percent. 

Elon Musk's Twitter acquisition has become an ongoing saga that is also affecting the company's stock price which is now trailing at around $37.  

How to fight spam accounts - Elon style?

Musk has been vehement about fighting spam accounts from the very beginning. However, his recent tweet evoked a long thread from current CEO Parag Agarwal, who explained that fighting spam was incredibly dynamic and a set of rules made today would not work tomorrow. 

Refuting Musk's claim that Twitter used a sample set of 100 accounts to determine bot prevalence on its platform, Agarwal said that Twitter's bot estimates came after multiple human reviews of "thousands of accounts" that are randomly sampled from its monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs). 

Calling spam campaigns highly sophisticated and hard to catch, Agarwal also added that the company suspends over half a million accounts every day before others even see them on Twitter and lock millions of accounts each week on suspicion of spam

Agarwal also wrote in his thread that it wasn't possible to estimate spam accounts externally and the company used a set of public and private data internally to monitor spam accounts every quarter, a practice that has been ongoing for many years. 

Musk's mega response

Less than an hour after Agarwal's thread, Elon Musk jumped into the conversation with his mega response: a poop emoji. 

For somebody so dead against spam accounts and how Twitter handles them, one would expect Musk to raise some pertinent questions about the methodology or suggest ways to improve them. 

Musk, however, followed up with a question that a competitor or banker would ask. 

Recently, Musk also said that the company's algorithm was manipulative, prompting founder Jack Dorsey to jump into the company's defense.

Musk's continued antics against the company he wants to acquire seem to be a bargaining chip to get the board to agree on a lower price for the buyout, something we had reported over a week ago. 


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