Elon Musk revealed on Friday night how he would determine the number of spam and fake accounts on Twitter, hours after he said his bid to acquire the platform was put on hold because of possible under-reporting of bots by the company.
Musk, 50, wrote on Twitter that he would calculate the actual presence of spam on the platform by analyzing a random sample of 100 followers from popular accounts.
“Ignore the first 1000 followers, then select every 10th one. I am open to better ideas,” he said.
“Any sensible random sampling procedure is fine. If multiple people independently obtain similar results for the % of fake/spam/duplicate accounts, it would be telling,” he wrote.
“I chose 100 as the sample size number, because Twitter <5% uses it to count fakes/spams/duplicates."
Tesla tycoon withdrew $44 billion deal after Twitter users responded with “pending details that support the calculation that spam/fake accounts actually represent less than 5% of users.”
Musk sent Twitter shares down more than 25 percent in pre-market trading as investors speculated he was using fake accounts to get out of the deal.
The stock price partially rebounded from $34 to about $41 after Musk told his followers that he was “still committed to the acquisition,” but was still down ten percent from Thursday’s closing price.
Tesla’s stock, which Musk said he could use to fund the Twitter deal, went the opposite route, rising six percent to $770 on Friday. They were still well below the recent four-digit high.
The world’s richest man’s net worth fell from $240 billion to $232 billion this week amid a Wall Street roller coaster.
The Securities and Exchange Commission was already investigating Musk for tweeting material that could have affected Tesla’s share price without the permission of the company’s attorney.
The SEC was also investigating Musk’s late disclosure of his large stake in Twitter. He currently holds 9.2 percent of the company’s shares, making him its largest shareholder.
An academic study in 2017 found that up to 15 percent of active English language accounts were bots. Researchers recently claimed that Twitter is now better at catching them.
Musk has verified every human Twitter user is a tenant of his plan for the platform if his acquisition is complete.
post with wires