In a Tweet, Space X founder Elon Musk threw open the question of the prevalence of bots on the social media platform to Twitter Inc. CEO Parag Agrawal in a public discussion on Saturday, August 6.
Musk responded to inquiries regarding the countersuit against Twitter with a series of tweets in which he challenged Parag to discuss the proportion of bots on the social media platform. In a string of tweets, the Tesla CEO alleged that the social media company’s approach to estimating spam bots and accounts is flawed.
He in response to a tweet from Andrea Stroppa, a “data analyst” and “SpaceX fan,” who noted that Twitter had only provided “vague data” in response to Musk’s request for more details about spam and fake accounts. Additionally, Twitter “provided outdated data” and even “a fake set of data,” according to Stroppa. To this, Musk tweeted, “Good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”
In the same series of tweets, Musk asked Parag to hold a public debate on the percentage of bots on Twitter. He tweeted, “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!”
Later that day, Musk also started a poll asking if the social media platform has less than 5% of fake/spam daily users. Musk had to back out of the deal in July after paying a premium of $54.20 per share over Twitter stock’s then-current price of about $38.
In his defence, Musk claimed that Twitter had been unable or unwilling to offer precise information regarding the fake or spam available on social media site. Musk was sued by Twitter after it rejected his claim that he was signing a $44 billion contract. Musk defended himself by saying that the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter should proceed if the company can confirm specifics regarding how it determines whether user accounts are owned by spam bots or real people. Since then, Musk has tried to push back the October trial date to next year. However, Twitter called Musk’s demands as “implausible and contrary to fact”.