Elon Musk sparked new market chaos yesterday over his takeover bid for Twitter, first claiming that his offer was “temporarily on hold” and then maintaining that he is “still committed” to the deal, The social media giant is sending the company into a tailspin.
He initially sent out a preliminary tweet saying that the $44bn (€43bn) deal was pending until he learned more about the proportion of fake accounts on the social media site, which has affected Twitter stock. dropped up to 25pc in premarket trading. Hours later he sent out another tweet saying he was “still committed” to the deal. Twitter shares recovered some of their losses and were down 11 percent.
Musk said he was waiting for details from a recent filing from Twitter that fake accounts on the social media platform contributed to less than 5 percent of its users. “The average of false or spam accounts during the first quarter of 2022 represented less than 5 percent of our monthly daily active users during the quarter,” Twitter said in its latest quarterly results. However, this data-point has been part of Twitter’s quarterly filings for nearly a decade. Twitter said it applied a “significant decision” to its latest estimate, and the true number could be higher.
Fighting fake accounts has been a cornerstone of Musk’s bid to reform Twitter. Announcing his deal to buy the company last month, he revealed that he wanted to beat spam bots, authenticate all humans, and make its algorithms open source. Musk has also said that he wants to make the platform a bastion of free speech by removing the railing from content moderation.
Bots are currently allowed on Twitter, although under company policy such accounts indicate that they are automated. The platform has also launched a label for “good” bots, such as @tinycarebot, an account that tweets self-care reminders. However, spam bots are not allowed, and company policies are in place to combat them.
Doubts have risen in recent days that Musk will be able to back his acquisition of Twitter, and that the entrepreneur may be considering dropping his bid price for the micro-blogging site.