Elon Musk says Twitter deal ‘on hold’ after spam/fake account report

Elon Musk says Twitter deal ‘on hold’ after spam/fake account report

Elon Musk says his deal to buy Twitter is “temporarily on hold” after the social network reported fake or spam accounts made up less than 5 percent of its 226 million monetizable daily active users. The Tesla CEO, who offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, tweeted a link to a May 2nd Reuters Report on the filing by Twitter and said he wanted to see the company’s calculations.

“The Twitter deal is temporarily on hold pending details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts actually make up less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted.

At the time of this writing, Twitter’s share price had fallen 19 percent on the news, while Tesla was up 5 percent.

Below is the relevant portion of the Twitter submission. It notes that its calculations of the number of fake or spam accounts are an “estimate” and that the actual number “might be higher than we estimated”:

We conducted an internal review of a sample of accounts and estimate that the average false or spam accounts represented less than 5% of our quarterly mDAU in Q1 2022. False or spam accounts for a period represents the average of the false or spam accounts in the samples during each monthly analysis period during the quarter. We used significant judgment in making this decision, so our estimate of false or spam accounts may not does not reflect the actual number of such accounts and the actual number of fake or spam accounts may be higher than we estimate.

Twitter has struggled with math in the past. A few weeks ago, a results report said it had outnumbered its daily users for three straight years. The company said a technical error caused multiple accounts to be counted as active despite being tied to a single user, and that it caused it to miscount its user counts by as much as 1.9 million each quarter have.

Musk has made reducing the amount of “spam and scam bots” and “bot armies” on Twitter a key part of his bid to improve the service, alongside prioritizing free speech and open-sourcing the ranking algorithms the platform.

Putting the deal on hold represents the latest speed bump missed by Musk’s attempted takeover of the social media network. The company initially announced a so-called “poison pill” measure to prevent the acquisition before finally accepting the acquisition in late April.

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