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Musk hints renegotiation of deal with Twitter can’t be ruled out if bot problem is bigger

Musk hints renegotiation of deal with Twitter can’t be ruled out if bot problem is bigger
Elon Musk  |  Photo Credit: Reuters
17 May, 2022
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Elon Musk has hinted that a new deal at a lower price point cannot be ruled out if Twitter fails to convince that the actual number of fake and spam accounts on its platform are under 5%. This was first reported by Bloomberg. This comes days after Musk made a $44 billion bid to acquire Twitter and then put it on temporary hold last week after a disagreement over the accurate estimate of bot accounts on the microblogging platform. 

Musk was speaking virtually at a summit in Miami, US, where he pointed out that anyone who uses Twitter is aware that the common threads are full of spam. "It seems beyond reason for Twitter to claim that the number of really unique humans is above 95%. I think the number is at least 4 or 5 times that number. The lowest estimate would be probably 20%," he added. 

Musk also said, "I'm going to agree to buy your house. You say the house has less than 5% termites. That's an acceptable number. But if it turns out that the right percentage is 90% termites, that's not okay."

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Last week, Musk said in a Twitter post that the deal was put on temporary hold "pending details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users."

Twitter on its part maintained in a filing on May 2 that the number of spam accounts on the platform was estimated to be less than 5% of the monetizable daily active users in the first quarter. Twitter has 329 million users in 2022, according to Statista. Out of which, 229 million users were served advertising in the first quarter. 

Also read: Musk-Twitter deal: What has happened so far

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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal also underlined the measures taken by his company to tackle fake accounts in a Twitter thread on May 16. 

Agrawal said, spam harms the experience for real people on Twitter, and therefore can harm our business. "We are strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong," he added. 

Agrawal also claimed that Twitter suspends over half a million spam accounts every day.  

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He further said that Twitter locks millions of accounts each week that are suspected to be spam – if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc).

In April, Musk had said that "defeating" fake accounts was a top priority for him if his bid to acquire Twitter was successful.