Billionaire Elon Musk has reiterated his decision not to proceed with the deal to acquire Twitter if he doesn’t get proof of the number of spam accounts plaguing the platform.
Gatekeepers News reported last week that Musk said the $44bn (£35bn) deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold,” citing pending details in support of the calculation that spam and fake accounts indeed represent less than 5% of users.
Following the development, analysts speculated that he could be seeking to renegotiate the price or even walk away from the takeover.
Hours after Musk reiterated his decision in an early morning tweet on Tuesday, Twitter insisted the deal push through, and without delay.
“Twitter is committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable,” the company wrote in a statement accompanying a filing to US regulators.
Then early Tuesday he pushed for more information, writing to his almost 94 million followers on the social network, “Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of 5%.” “This deal cannot move forward until he does,” he added.
Twitter chief executive, Parag Agrawal, has said the platform suspends more than a half-million seemingly bogus accounts daily, usually before they are even seen, and locks millions more weekly that fails checks to make sure they are controlled by humans and not by software.
Internal measures show that fewer than five percent of accounts active on any given day at Twitter are spam, but that analysis cannot be replicated externally due to the need to keep user data private, Agrawal contended.
Musk posted that the real number of bots may be four times what Twitter claims and “could be much higher,” and has said he would make getting rid of them a priority if he owned the platform.
“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?” Musk tweeted in a subsequent response about the need to prove Twitter users are real people.
“This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” he added.
Meanwhile, under the terms of the deal, if either Twitter or Musk walk away they must pay the other side a termination fee of $1bn.