Elon Musk says $44 billion Twitter deal can't proceed until CEO proves the platform has fewer than 5% fake accounts

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Elon Musk says $44 billion Twitter deal can't proceed until CEO proves the platform has fewer than 5% fake accounts
Elon Musk.Patrick Pleul/AP
  • Elon Musk said his Twitter buyout can't proceed without evidence the platform has less than 5% fake accounts.
  • "My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate," Musk tweeted Tuesday.
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Elon Musk said Tuesday his proposed $44 billion Twitter buyout can't move forward until Twitter's CEO provides proof the platform has fewer than 5% fake accounts.

"My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate," Musk tweeted.

Musk announced Friday he was putting his Twitter deal "on hold" while assessing how the company calculates the proportion of fake accounts it harbors. In a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, Twitter says that fewer than 5% of accounts on its platform are fake.

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Musk said Tuesday: "20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher." Musk did not detail how he arrived at the 20% figure.

He added: "Yesterday, Twitter's CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does."

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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Monday posted a thread on Twitter explaining why Musk's earlier suggestion of sampling 100 random accounts to determine the proportion of fake ones wouldn't work. Musk responded to Agrawal's post with a poop emoji.

Agrawal said in his thread that Twitter's estimate of what proportion of accounts are spam was based on "multiple human reviews (in replicate) of thousands of accounts." He said Twitter's internal teams randomly sampled accounts the company considered to be "monetizable daily active users."

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

On Monday, Musk told the All In Summit in Miami that renegotiating his Twitter deal to a lower price wouldn't be "out of the question," Bloomberg reported.

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