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CNN Enterprise

Elon Musk escalated a public feud with Twitter’s CEO early Tuesday, saying his acquisition of the social media firm “can’t transfer ahead” till he sees extra details about the prevalence of spam accounts.

With out citing a supply, Musk claimed in a tweet that Twitter is “20% faux/spam accounts” and advised Twitter’s filings with the Securities and Change Fee have been deceptive. The corporate has mentioned that lower than 5% of its day by day lively customers are spam accounts.

“My provide was primarily based on Twitter’s SEC filings being correct,” Musk tweeted. “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to indicate proof of

Musk doubled down later within the day, publishing a Twitter poll to his greater than 93 million followers with the immediate: “Twitter claims that >95% of day by day lively customers are actual, distinctive people. Does anybody have that have?”

He additionally tagged the SEC’s verified Twitter deal with in a subsequent tweet. He appeared to ask the regulator, with whom he has clashed up to now, to look into the matter by asking, “anybody dwelling?”

The most recent tweets from Musk appeared to forged extra doubt on the $44 billion deal. Musk on Friday declared it was “briefly on maintain” however that he’s “nonetheless dedicated to acquisition.” That pivot from Musk fueled hypothesis that the world’s richest man could also be utilizing the controversy over bots to safe a greater worth for Twitter, both as a negotiating tactic or out of necessity.

Twitter’s shares have been down 1.7% in premarket buying and selling Tuesday. The inventory has erased all its positive factors within the weeks since Musk disclosed his stake the corporate and is now buying and selling at $36.80 per share — nicely beneath Musk’s provide worth of $54.20 per share.

“Twitter is dedicated to finishing the transaction on the agreed worth and phrases as promptly as practicable,” the corporate mentioned in a press release Tuesday.

On Monday, Musk exchanged a series of tweets with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal concerning the spam account problem.


(TWTR) suspends “over half 1,000,000 spam accounts on daily basis,” Agrawal wrote. He additionally reiterated the 5% statistic, saying that estimate is predicated on “a number of human opinions … of 1000’s of accounts” sampled at random. Twitter

(TWTR) has beforehand acknowledged that whereas it believes its estimates to be “cheap,” the measurements weren’t independently verified and the precise variety of faux or spam accounts could possibly be greater.

Agrawal’s preliminary 13 tweets have been met with a reply from Musk that was reflective of the weird and very on-line nature of the deal: a poop emoji.

Musk adopted up with a considerably extra considerate query. “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for his or her cash?” Musk asked “That is elementary to the monetary well being of Twitter,” he added.

Musk has repeatedly spoken out in opposition to bots and spam accounts on Twitter, as soon as describing cryptocurrency spam bots because the platform’s “single most annoying drawback.” Anybody conversant in the replies to Musk’s tweets is aware of they’re stuffed with such scams, lots of which try and leverage Musk’s title.

“The bot problem on the finish of the day … feels extra to us just like the “canine ate the homework” excuse to bail on the Twitter deal or discuss down a cheaper price,” Dan Ives and John Katsingris, analysts at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a observe on Monday.

In his Twitter thread, Agrawal mentioned most spam campaigns on Twitter use a mix of people and automation, relatively than being primarily led by bots. Parsing by way of respectable and faux accounts might be difficult, he mentioned.

“The arduous problem is that many accounts which look faux superficially — are literally actual individuals,” he said. “And a number of the spam accounts which are literally essentially the most harmful — and trigger essentially the most hurt to our customers — can look completely respectable on the floor.”

Agrawal said Twitter had been in contact with Musk on the spam problem.

“We shared an outline of the estimation course of with Elon per week in the past and stay up for persevering with the dialog with him, and all of you,” he added.

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