About a week ago, we reported that Elon Musk is putting his dramatic Twitter takeover on hold, due to a spam bot issue. However, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal is pushing back against Elon Musk’s concerns on Twitter—to which Musk responded with a singular poop emoji. But let’s look at how this came to be.
Here’s what you need to know
After a very long-winded buyout session between the world’s current richest man and Twitter in late April, I thought it would be the last we would hear of the situation. However, in early May, it was reported that the deal was “still pending approval from relevant authorities” and that the Orlando Police Pension Fund announced a class action lawsuit against Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
Basically, the way that Musk bought out Twitter was not exactly something a lot of people supported. In fact, Twitter employees even stated their thoughts, saying that the bid “felt like a hostage situation”. So, the Pension Fund believes that Musk “had come to an agreement with other Twitter shareholders” for their support before trying to buy out Twitter. But this wasn’t what Musk was concerned about—according to him.
“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” tweeted Musk on 13 May.
He then continued by saying that he is “still committed to acquisition” but he wants his own team to do a random sample of 100 users on Twitter to do their own research and “see what they discover”. Agrawal, however, says that his suggestion will not work.
“Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day,” tweeted Agrawal.
The Twitter CEO mentioned this under a long thread regarding the spam bot issue. Among the reasons Agrawal says monitoring for spam and bot activity is so difficult is that many accounts run by real people “look fake superficially”. However, there are reports that say that Twitter has previously been “miscalculating” the number active users.
Musk then responded to Agrawal’s explanation with a simple poop emoji. But he then added on to it, asking “how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money”?
“Our actual internal estimates for the last four quarters were all well under 5%,” said Agrawal on Twitter.
Is Musk going to give Twitter up?
There are two outcomes that can come out of this—including how Musk is looking to buy Twitter with a lower price than the initial USD 44 billion. This is if he can negotiate the deal after looking into the spam bot issue. But if the deal can’t be made, Musk could instead try to walk away from it with a USD 1 billion breakup fee. But for now, Agrawal says that Twitter “needs to be prepared for all scenarios“.