Elon Might Lower Twitter Bid Amid New Bot Issue

By Rachel Morris | Friday, 20 May 2022 16:45
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On Monday. Elon Musk fueled speculation he could be seeking to negotiate a lower price for his suggested $44 billion buyout of Twitter, announcing to a Miami tech conference that an agreement at a lower price wouldn’t be “out of the question.”

Musk and Twitter agreed to a deal on April 25, yet it now seems that Musk could be having second thoughts. On Friday, after weeks of complaints about the company’s operations in a series of tweets, he declared he was putting the deal on hold.

He then tweeted about his surprise to learn that just 5 percent of Twitter accounts were bots or spam, and on Monday, replied with a poop emoji to CEO Parag Agrawal’s lengthy thread describing the problem in attempting to detect and eliminate bots.

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” Musk announced.

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Journalist Molly Jong-Fast answered: “You’re obviously trying to get out of the deal.”

Twitter’s shares fell 8 percent on Monday to close at $37.39 - significantly below the $54.20 a share that Musk agreed to pay last month to purchase the social media company.

Musk explained to the Miami audience that he thought around 20 percent of Twitter accounts were fake.

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According to a live-streamed video of his comments posted by a Twitter user and obtained by Bloomberg, he questioned rhetorically if the figure could be as high as 90 percent.

“Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots,” Musk announced at the conference.

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“It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.”

He told the audience that the more questions he asked, the more concerned he grew.

Musk spoke at a conference hosted by the All In podcast, run by Chamath Palihapitiya, an entrepreneur, and early Facebook executive; Jason Calacanis, an angel investor; David Sacks, former chief operating officer at PayPal, with which Musk merged his company in 1999, and David Friedberg, founder, and CEO of The Production Board, a company geared towards solving significant problems in the world.

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The $7,500-per-person event was sold out, and organizers announced that journalists were excluded from attending.

Over the weekend, Musk tweeted that he intended to do his own analysis of Twitter’s user base by using a random sample of 100 user accounts.

He said that he was then contacted by Twitter’s legal department and blamed for breaking their non-disclosure agreement by publicly sharing the company’s methodology.

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