Image Source: Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
Elon Musk hinted on Monday that he would try to negotiate a cheaper price for Twitter Inc, claiming that there are at least four times as many false accounts as the firm claims.
At a seminar in Miami, he stated, “You can’t pay the same price for something that is considerably worse than they claimed.”
Musk, who put his $44 billion offer to buy Twitter on hold on Friday pending details on spam accounts, believes spam accounts account for at least 20% of users, compared to Twitter’s official estimates of 5%.
“I mean, it’s not out of the question,” Musk said at the conference when asked if the Twitter transaction might be made at a lower price.
He declared during the All-In Summit 2022 conference, “The more questions I ask, the more my fears increase.”
“They claim to have developed a complicated process that only they comprehend… It can’t be some deep mystery more complicated than the human soul or something similar.”
Following Musk’s remarks, Twitter shares fell further in late afternoon trading.
The stock fell more than 8% to settle at $37.39, lower than the day before Musk announced his Twitter stake in early April, raising worries about whether the billionaire entrepreneur would complete the deal at the agreed price.
Responding to days of criticism by Musk of the company’s treatment of false accounts, Twitter Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal tweeted earlier on Monday that internal estimates of spam accounts on the social media network for the last four quarters were “far under 5%.”
Given the requirement to use both public and private information to evaluate if an account is spam, he noted, Twitter’s estimate, which has remained the same since 2013, could not be replicated elsewhere.
Musk responded with a feces emoji to Agrawal’s defense of the company’s procedures.
“So, how do marketers know what they’re paying for? This is critical to Twitter’s financial stability “Musk wrote something.
Musk has promised to make improvements to Twitter’s content moderation policies, describing choices like the company’s ban of former President Donald Trump as “overly aggressive” and promising to crack down on “spam bots” on the platform.
Musk has proposed that random sampling of Twitter users be tested to identify bots. “There’s a chance it may be more than 90% of daily active users,” he added.
According to independent analysts, anything between 9% and 15% of the millions of Twitter profiles are bots.
Twitter currently does not need users to register with their real names and explicitly allows automated, parody, and pseudonymous profiles.
It does, however, prohibit impersonation and spam, and penalizes users whose objective is to “deceive or manipulate others” by engaging in scams, coordinating abuse operations, or increasing engagement artificially.
Musk’s remarks to a private gathering could exacerbate concerns about his market-moving information dumps.
Musk, who is known for his honest Twitter rants, has a long history of clashes with the Securities and Exchange Commission; most recently, a US judge scolded him for attempting to avoid an SEC settlement requiring control of his Tesla tweets.