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Elon Musk’s $44B Twitter Deal ‘Temporarily on Hold’ Over Bots

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Elon Musk’s is «temporarily on hold, the tech entrepreneur tweeted early Friday, alongside a link to a . 

In  two hours later, Musk confirmed that he’s «still committed to the acquisition.» In the intervening period, Twitter share prices took a significant hit, tumbling over 20% in premarket trading. When markets closed Friday, shares were down nearly 10% to around $40.72, a steep discount from the .

The Reuters article reported that Twitter had said in a filing that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter of 2022. 

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In Musk’s original tweet early Friday morning, he said the deal was on pause «pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.» When Twitter released the figure as part of its  in late April, it acknowledged the number was an estimation and the actual number of fake accounts «could be higher.»

In a , later Friday, Musk said, «To find out, my team will do a random sample of 100 followers of @twitter. I invite others to repeat the same process and see what they discover.» In , he said, «Any sensible random sampling process is fine. If many people independently get similar results for % of fake/spam/duplicate accounts, that will be telling.» 

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Elon Musk vs. Twitter Bots: How Big Is the Problem?


Musk, DigitalMiddle who has almost 93 million followers, has been critical of Twitter’s moderation policies, especially its inability to get a handle on the number of bots. One of his ideas to tackle the problem is to authenticate all human users of the platform. He has also expressed his hope of relaxing Twitter rules that curb certain speech, a plan that includes .

Musk’s deal came together in a hurry. But under the agreed terms, if either Musk or Twitter walks away, they must pay the other party $1 billion in termination fees. However, the widening gap between the offer price and Twitter shares has led some investors to speculate whether Musk might seek a lower price, . 

Twitter didn’t respond to a request for comment. In a , Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said he «expects the deal to close» but added the company will be «prepared for all scenarios.»

Agrawal followed up on Monday with a without «inadvertently suspending real people,» noting that Twitter removes over half a million spam accounts every day. He added that the company’s internal estimates on the number of spam accounts on the platform were «well under 5%» for the last four quarters. 

Musk responded to the thread on Monday with a poop emoji and by questioning how bots impact advertisers. «This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,» . 

The deal comes at a tumultuous time for Twitter. The company has struggled to expand both its user base and its ad sales as it competes with bigger social media companies. On Thursday, it announced the alongside a hiring freeze. 

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