Elon Musk has been in talks to acquire Twitter for what feels like years now if you’ve been following along the entire time.
And there might be one more hurdle to clear before he becomes the owner of the social media platform.
Elon Musk has recently said that his $44-billion offer would not move forward until Twitter shows proof that spam bots account for less than 5% of its total users.
Musk wants to be sure most of Twitter’s active users are real people.
And he said this hours after suggesting he could seek a lower price for the company.
“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5% (spam accounts). This deal cannot move forward until he does,” Musk said in a tweet.
We’ll try to take a look at what this all means below.
What Are Spam Bots?
Spam bots on Twitter are automated accounts that can do the same things as real human beings.
These accounts can send out tweets, follow other users, and like and retweet postings by others.
However, many people feel like these inauthentic accounts are bad for Twitter and the American population as a whole.
Many spam bots engage in deceptive, harmful, and annoying activities.
Spam bots often have ulterior motives.
For example, bots with a commercial motivation might tweet incessantly to drive traffic to a website for a product or service.
People can also use them to spread misinformation and promote harmful and downright untrue political messages.
During the 2016 presidential election, many people were concerned that Russian bots helped influence the race in favor of Donald Trump, who won it.
Spam bots can also share deceitful links to fake giveaways and other financial scams.
Shortly after announcing his plans to purchase Twitter, Musk said one of his top priorities is to crack down on spam bots that promote scams involving cryptocurrencies.
The Prevalence Of Spam Bots
Twitter has continued to downplay the spread of fake accounts on its platform.
They maintain that “false or spam” accounts make up less than 5% of their user base.
However, several independent researchers said their estimates of spam accounts could be three times higher.
The discrepancies could affect the outcome of Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter bid after the billionaire tweeted on Friday that the takeover bid was “temporarily on hold.”
Musk is seeking information about the number of phony Twitter accounts.
This might just be a negotiating tactic by Musk. Still, nothing is certain when it comes to how these accounts are defined or dispensed with, according to current employees and independent social media researchers.
Estimates are anywhere from 9% to 15% (or more) of the millions of Twitter profiles are automated accounts or bots.
Fake accounts significantly boost Musk’s own follower count.
Of Musk’s current 87.9 million followers, some researchers estimate that roughly 48% are fake.
Musk Wants The Facts
Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media company “cannot move forward” until he sees more information about the prevalence of spam accounts.
A series of tweets from Musk appeared to cast more doubt on the $44 billion deal.
Musk has declared the deal is “temporarily on hold,” but he’s “still committed to acquisition.”
Many people assume the sudden pivot from Musk is just him using the debate over bots to secure a better price for Twitter.
This is either a clever negotiating tactic, or he’s doing it out of necessity.
The bot issue feels like a reason for Musk to bail on the Twitter deal or talk down a lower price.
Even if he’s given the requested information, Twitter’s leaders are skeptical of Musk’s ability to use the data to find previously undetected information.
Twitter’s data stream has been available to companies that pay Twitter to analyze it for years.
Those companies, along with analysts and Silicon Valley insiders, contend that Musk is using the data requests to wiggle out of the deal or negotiate a lower price.
Twitter Agrees To Cooperate
The Twitter vs. Musk Cold War may finally end as Twitter’s board plans to comply with Elon Musk’s demands for internal data.
They are offering Musk access to its massive data stream comprising more than 500 million tweets posted daily.
This is according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking, who spoke anonymously.
The move seeks to end the battle over spam accounts with the billionaire.
The information should be provided very soon, according to the anonymous source.
About two dozen companies currently pay for access to the trove, including the numbers of phony accounts.
These companies get a real-time record of tweets, the devices they tweet from, and information about the accounts that tweet.
Musk and his legal team contend the data stream is needed to better understand the amount of spam and bot activity on its platform.
They insist that figure could influence the company’s potential ad revenue.
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