Twitter Deal Frozen Until CEO Gives Fake Account Proof

  • Elon Musk says his Twitter takeover can’t go on until he sees evidence that less than 5% of Twitter accounts are spam.
  • Musk said Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal had “publicly refused to show proof of <5%.”
  • Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal published a thread on how the company estimates the number of spam accounts.

Elon Musk said Tuesday his proposed $44 billion Twitter buyout can’t move forward until its CEO provides proof the platform has fewer than 5% fake accounts.

“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk tweeted.

He said: “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Musk’s tweet came in response to another tweet from blog Teslerati, which reported the billionaire had said at the Miami “All In” tech conference on Monday that he believes around 20% of Twitter accounts are spam.

“20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher,” Musk tweeted. 

Musk did not give any details on how he arrived at 20%.


Musk announced Friday he was putting the Twitter deal “on hold” because he wanted to verify how Twitter calculated the proportion of spam or fake accounts. In a regulatory filing the company said less than 5% of accounts on its platform are spam or fake.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Monday posted a thread on Twitter explaining why a previous suggestion by Musk to sample 100 random accounts to figure out what proportion of accounts on Twitter are spam wouldn’t work. Musk responded with a poop emoji.

Agrawal said in his thread Twitter’s estimate of what proportion of accounts are spam is based on “multiple human reviews (in replicate) of thousands of accounts.” He added Twitter’s internal teams randomly sample from accounts the company considers to be “monetizable daily active users” or mDAUs.

It’s possible Musk is using his professed concern over bot accounts as a pretext to force Twitter back to the negotiating table and get a better price.

Musk told the All In conference renegotiating his Twitter deal to a lower price tag wouldn’t be “out of the question,” Bloomberg reported Monday.

This story is developing, please check back for updates…

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