Elon Musk is pressing the pause button for the takeover of Twitter because there is uncertainty about the number of fake accounts on the social media platform. That’s what the Tesla boss says on – how could it be otherwise – Twitter.
On his Twitter profile on Friday afternoon, Musk shared a news item from the British news agency Reuters, where the social media platform states that less than 5 percent of its accounts are fake. “Pending details to support this calculation, the agreement has been suspended,” Musk wrote.
Last month, the world’s richest man announced he would buy the US messaging service for $ 44 billion. That deal can only be completed in a few months, because Musk is still working on the financing. Oracle founder Larry Ellison, crypto firm Binance, and the major investment groups Sequoia and VyCapital, among others, have already pledged financial support, as has Qatar’s somewhat dubious state-owned investment company.
Restoring free speech to Twitter is high on Musk’s list of priorities. He therefore wants to get rid of ‘spam bots’, automated accounts that are used en masse to, for example, spread propaganda or hate messages. Musk indicated that he wants to “authenticate all people,” which is simpler said than technically done.
Currently, bots are allowed on Twitter, provided they indicate that accounts are automated. There is even a specific label for “good” bots, such as accounts that store “threads” or bots that send reminders to Twitter users. Automated accounts that tweet spam explicitly prohibit internal rules of conduct.
The deal failed?
The fact that the Tesla boss suddenly falls for the presence of bots raises further doubts about the feasibility of Musk’s plans. Earlier this week, he suggested the deal could still fail, leaving Twitter employees unsure of their jobs. Top manager Parag Agrawal also internally announced a staff shutdown as a result of no new staff being recruited and published vacancies being taken offline. Dismissals are excluded.
These cuts come after ‘disappointing results’ in recent months due to ‘global events’ such as the war in Ukraine. “At the beginning of the pandemic, the decision was made to invest aggressively to achieve great growth in the audience and revenue,” Agrawal wrote in an email to employees. He admitted that Twitter is not on track to achieve these goals.
The agreement between Twitter and Musk stipulates that one party must pay the other a $ 1 billion termination fee if the plug is pulled out of the deal.
In pre-market trading, Twitter
a decrease of 24 per cent. Tesla shares add 5 percent. Shares on Twitter are trading below the $ 54.2 per share price that Musk has auctioned for the purchase.
‘Always look at the bright side of life’
Meanwhile, shorter Nathan Anderson has a good laugh. The founder of the leading shorter Hindenburg Research announced earlier this week that he had been betting on a stock market crash for Twitter. According to Anderson, there was a good chance that Musk would lower his bid to $ 54.2.
Musk – who is known for his aversion to stock market shorts – responded to that statement a few days ago in a tweet: ‘Interesting. Do not forget to look at life through a positive lens now and then. ‘ On Friday, it did not take long before Anderson blinked that he was ‘looking at life through a positive lens this morning’.