Elon Musk demands guarantees on fake Twitter accounts in view of his takeover, Corporate News

May 17 (Reuters) – Elon Musk said on Tuesday his plan to buy Twitter for $44 billion could not move forward until the social network’s chief executive, Parag Agrawal, publicly proves that “spam” represent less than 5% of the number of users.

“My takeover bid was based on the reliability of Twitter documents filed with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission, the US stock market regulator). Twitter’s chief executive has publicly refused to prove (that less than) 5% of accounts are fake. The deal can’t move forward until it does,” Elon Musk said in a tweet.

After suspending the acquisition project on Friday, Elon Musk said he suspected the proportion of fake accounts was at least 20% of users and not less than 5% as Twitter claims based on an estimate.

“You can’t pay the same price for something that’s way worse than they claimed,” he told a conference in Miami on Monday.

Parag Agrawal tweeted on Monday that internal estimates of “spam” accounts on the social media platform for the past four quarters were “well below 5%”, responding to repeated criticism from the Tesla boss.

Twitter’s estimate, the same since 2013, is calculated based on public and private information, he said, adding that Elon Musk responded with a poop emoji.

“So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? It’s fundamental to the financial health of Twitter,” Elon Musk wrote in a tweet.

Independent researchers have found that 9% to 15% of millions of Twitter accounts are “bots”, computer programs that artificially simulate human activity.

Twitter does not currently require its users to register using their real identity. However, it prohibits identity theft and behavior aimed at deceiving or manipulating others, such as attempted fraud. (Report Shubham Kalia in Bangalore, French version Laetitia Volga, edited by Sophie Louet)

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