Elon Musk says $44 billion Twitter deal will complete if it shows bot-counting method,...

midian182

Posts: 8,160   +97
Staff member
What just happened? Elon Musk says his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter could still go through, on the condition that Twitter shows exactly how it counts the number of fake accounts on the platform. The Tesla boss has long insisted that the company lies about the number of bots on the site, and he is now challenging CEO Parag Agrawal to "a public debate" on the issue.

The latest incident in Musk/Twitter saga saw the world's richest person tweet that he is willing to complete the deal for the original $54.20 per share price—Twitter's share price is currently $42.52. All the company needs to do is provide its method of sampling 100 accounts and how they're confirmed to be real.

Twitter has long said that less than 5% of accounts on the site are fake. Musk, however, believes the actual number is more like 20%. He says the issue is what derailed his takeover bid, and a recent filing claims the company purposely hides the true bot figures. Twitter, on the other hand, claims Musk is simply trying to weasel out of the deal or renegotiate it for a much lower price.

"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," Musk tweeted in a reply to Cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa's summary of his countersuit against Twitter.

Not wanting to leave things there, Musk followed up with a challenge for Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, asking for a public debate to prove the fake bot count really is as low as Twitter claims. The billionaire also tweeted a poll to his 102.8 million followers asking if they believed less than 5% of platform users were spam. Almost 65% voted for "lmaooo no."

Musk's lawyers recently said that using a tool called Botometer, designed by Indiana University to measure inauthentic accounts, analysts proved Twitter was lying about the number of fakes on the platform. Twitter pointed out that Botometer at one point identified Elon Musk's own account as a bot with 80% certainty.

Expect the insults and allegations between Musk and Twitter to last for a while. The trial date is set for October, and the platform is reportedly "willing to go to war" if that is what's needed to complete the deal.

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kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,212   +879
Ok let's make our guesses - myself at least 10 % ( never used twitter - but given spammers . botfarms - and the more links/sources spammers can use on different platforms aids their spam proliferation - I'm sure META & Google analyse twitter for boosting "content" )
 

MaitieS

Posts: 170   +186
Imagine if it would backfire on Musk and it would show that he also bought multiple bots so he could manipulate overall market and his PR. Damn that would be such a good day for humanity.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,224   +2,762
TechSpot Elite
I love it when people challenge someone to a "public debate" as that's one of the best PR stunts around. The only person so "wins" is the one with a bigger mouth and can make quick quips to make the other person look slow and unsure. Has nothing to do with any topic being discussed at all and doesn't "settle" anything except in the court of public opinion.

Because it's just a PR strategy.
 

someOtherGuy

Posts: 39   +24
I love it when people challenge someone to a "public debate" as that's one of the best PR stunts around. The only person so "wins" is the one with a bigger mouth and can make quick quips to make the other person look slow and unsure. Has nothing to do with any topic being discussed at all and doesn't "settle" anything except in the court of public opinion.

Because it's just a PR strategy.

It is a good one, though. Who really knows how many bots live in the platform?

If the CEO proves, somehow that the claim is valid (<5% bots) then the public perception of Twitter improves, a lot, and with it its valuation, under the new ownership (Musk wins). If it fails, then the public can safely assume that there are a bunch of bots on Twitter, the valuation goes down, and supposedly the deal can be canceled according to the contract, which would probably lower Twitter's value and a new price could be proposed (Musk wins). The public aspect of it just puts pressure on Twitter, which would otherwise be a niche operation (over some court proceedings).
 

waclark

Posts: 577   +359
Imagine if it would backfire on Musk and it would show that he also bought multiple bots so he could manipulate overall market and his PR. Damn that would be such a good day for humanity.
Imagine that Musk is right, that Twitter has totally fabricated their numbers. Proving that would be a good day for humanity because these social platforms have run unchallenged for too long. Can't wait for Musk to own Twitter.
 

waclark

Posts: 577   +359
I love it when people challenge someone to a "public debate" as that's one of the best PR stunts around. The only person so "wins" is the one with a bigger mouth and can make quick quips to make the other person look slow and unsure. Has nothing to do with any topic being discussed at all and doesn't "settle" anything except in the court of public opinion.

Because it's just a PR strategy.
Well, I don't think you can shout your way out of explaining how you get to such a low bot number on Twitter. Musk wouldn't have to say much at all, just watch Paraga implode as he tries to explain their foggy math.
 

Kirby1

Posts: 175   +285
He's never gonna buy it unless somehow he's forced to, he's just manipulation the stocks. He does this all the time. How is there even any question as to his real intentions anymore?
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 764   +1,204
Imagine if it would backfire on Musk and it would show that he also bought multiple bots so he could manipulate overall market and his PR. Damn that would be such a good day for humanity.
If that was the case, he’d need over 10 million bots to attempt fraud by causing the number to be over 5%, but Twitter mDAU is increasing at a steady rate not skyrocketing.

That said, showing a limited number of demonstration bots are easily served ads would damage confidence in Twitter’s methodology. It wouldn’t be market manipulation because it would be noticeable to just a handful of users, and it would be considered evidence.
 

MaitieS

Posts: 170   +186
Imagine that Musk is right, that Twitter has totally fabricated their numbers. Proving that would be a good day for humanity because these social platforms have run unchallenged for too long. Can't wait for Musk to own Twitter.
Imagine unironically thinking that the only reason why musk is going to buy it is so he could make a twitter a better place... The only reason why he didn't want to buy it and was BSing is because his stocks dropped like almost by -50% and now TSL is almost back to 900$ which is why he is again saying "I will buy it"...
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
If any of us manipulated this deal like Musk is doing we would be in jail.
What statute do you mistakenly believe he's violated?

He's never gonna [sic] buy it unless somehow he's forced to, he's just manipulation [sic] the stocks.
So your theory is he bought 10% of Twitter, then intentionally drove down the value of his own shares?
 

umbala

Posts: 693   +1,266
1. Didn't Musk originally say he was buying Twitter in order to fix the huge bot problem? Now he won't buy it because there are too many bots. This almost sounds like circular Trump logic on the surface.

2. Counting bots on any large platform is not as easy as people think. Not being able to accurately count bots doesn't necessarily mean Twitter was lying. Does Twitter have more than 5% bots? Almost certainly, but Musk should've looked into that more closely before signing onto the deal.

3. Musk is only as rich as the value of Tesla stock, since most of his riches are tied to that company. When he bought his original stake in Twitter he had to sell Tesla stock, which caused Tesla's values to drop considerably (especially when Tesla traders got worried he would be more focused on Twitter in the future rather than Tesla)

4. Now if he were to actually pay the $44 billion for the rest of Twitter it would probably cost him closer to $100 billion overall when you factor in how much his net worth would drop after selling a ton of Tesla stock to get the money for it.

5. Considering everything I listed it's no wonder Musk wants to weasel his way out of the deal, and wants to do it in a way that makes him look like he's in the right/hero and makes Twitter look like they lied/villains.

At the end of the day, his offer was astronomical in the first place. Twitter was way, way overvalued and still is now, even though its stock price dropped considerably since April when Musk made his offer.

My guess is that once Musk got more access to the company's internals he realized his offer was crazy and Twitter isn't worth even a fraction of what he offered. He can flap his gums all day and throw as many Twitter tantrums as he wants, he won't be getting out of this mess easily or without a huge penalty.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 850   +618
Imagine unironically thinking that the only reason why musk is going to buy it is so he could make a twitter a better place... The only reason why he didn't want to buy it and was BSing is because his stocks dropped like almost by -50% and now TSL is almost back to 900$ which is why he is again saying "I will buy it"...

Imagine being this fragile^

Everyone knows twitter is 30%+ bots... and Elon is conservatively using 20% to be legally within reason... which will still embarrass the CEO... when he comes clean.

Nobody is going to buy Twitter when you see how many fake accounts are following Joe Biden. If you havnt bother to scroll through them... then the joke is on you.

The deal isn't going through because Twitter can not prove to the buyer, that their numbers are realistic...

If Twitter was legit, it would already been sold.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 2,224   +2,762
TechSpot Elite
It is a good one, though. Who really knows how many bots live in the platform?

If the CEO proves, somehow that the claim is valid (<5% bots) then the public perception of Twitter improves, a lot, and with it its valuation, under the new ownership (Musk wins). If it fails, then the public can safely assume that there are a bunch of bots on Twitter, the valuation goes down, and supposedly the deal can be canceled according to the contract, which would probably lower Twitter's value and a new price could be proposed (Musk wins). The public aspect of it just puts pressure on Twitter, which would otherwise be a niche operation (over some court proceedings).
Well, I don't think you can shout your way out of explaining how you get to such a low bot number on Twitter. Musk wouldn't have to say much at all, just watch Paraga implode as he tries to explain their foggy math.

That's the problem with a "public debate" and why they pretty much never happen. It's all posturing and making claims that nobody will be verifying (as nobody cares, it's all about rooting for 'your side') while it's happening because by the time someone's looked it up, they're 6 arguments past that. With 6 more bogus (or not??) claims from each side.

The US Presidential debates are more controlled than this and have actually strict rules, but you'll never see anyone in a debate like that outside of politics.
 

m3tavision

Posts: 850   +618
1. Didn't Musk originally say he was buying Twitter in order to fix the huge bot problem? Now he won't buy it because there are too many bots. This almost sounds like circular Trump logic on the surface.

2. Counting bots on any large platform is not as easy as people think. Not being able to accurately count bots doesn't necessarily mean Twitter was lying. Does Twitter have more than 5% bots? Almost certainly, but Musk should've looked into that more closely before signing onto the deal.

3. Musk is only as rich as the value of Tesla stock, since most of his riches are tied to that company. When he bought his original stake in Twitter he had to sell Tesla stock, which caused Tesla's values to drop considerably (especially when Tesla traders got worried he would be more focused on Twitter in the future rather than Tesla)

4. Now if he were to actually pay the $44 billion for the rest of Twitter it would probably cost him closer to $100 billion overall when you factor in how much his net worth would drop after selling a ton of Tesla stock to get the money for it.

5. Considering everything I listed it's no wonder Musk wants to weasel his way out of the deal, and wants to do it in a way that makes him look like he's in the right/hero and makes Twitter look like they lied/villains.

At the end of the day, his offer was astronomical in the first place. Twitter was way, way overvalued and still is now, even though its stock price dropped considerably since April when Musk made his offer.

My guess is that once Musk got more access to the company's internals he realized his offer was crazy and Twitter isn't worth even a fraction of what he offered. He can flap his gums all day and throw as many Twitter tantrums as he wants, he won't be getting out of this mess easily or without a huge penalty.

lol...

Twitter is overvalued, because they are lying about how many active users they have....

Elon has them over a barrel.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
1. Didn't Musk originally say he was buying Twitter in order to fix the huge bot problem? Now he won't buy it because there are too many bots. This almost sounds like circular Trump logic
Only to the logic-challenged. Twitter never denied that bots were a huge problem. Their claim was that ad revenue was unaffected, because bot prevalence was largely "an illusion", based on their outsized effect on traffic,

Not being able to accurately count bots doesn't necessarily mean Twitter was lying.
But Twitter stated they could accurately count bots. And they made public pronouncements to that effect, statements that materially affect the value of the company. If a dealer tells you a car has leather seats, walnut trim, and 500 horsepower, then, contract or not, you're not obligated to purchase when you find it's cloth and plastic, powered by a lawn mower engine.

Does Twitter have more than 5% bots? Almost certainly, but Musk should've looked into that more closely before signing onto the deal.
The deal includes several due diligence clauses. You can see the actual SEC filings on EDGAR.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 9,109   +8,147
It's almost as much fun as throwing two cats in a bag and let them fight ...... except doing it to cats is cruel .....
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 764   +1,204
4. Now if he were to actually pay the $44 billion for the rest of Twitter it would probably cost him closer to $100 billion overall when you factor in how much his net worth would drop after selling a ton of Tesla stock to get the money for it.
A correction... Elon actually needed less than $20B in cash. Most of the funding is coming from other investors and banks: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/05/lar...-binance-to-help-musk-to-pay-for-twitter.html

That's a major reason the Twitter valuation actually became important to be correct, because Elon Musk is not the only person who has to agree on a proper valuation. So if Twitter was lying about anything, it needed to be addressed otherwise the deal would fall apart because Elon was representing others too in this offer.
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 372   +246
Elon already signed the agreement to purchase Twitter the time to do due diligence was before he signed the agreement and not after. It's too late.