- Elon Musk issued a “challenge” to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Saturday.
- The billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO called for a public debate on how Twitter reports its spam bots and fake accounts.
- Musk has repeatedly accused Twitter of having far more bots than it reports, citing this as one reason he no longer wants to buy the company.
Elon Musk is once again challenging Twitter on the data it reports on spam bots and fake accounts, and this time he wants a public debate to settle the matter.
Responding to a tweet thread by cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa summarizing Musk’s countersuit against Twitter, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO wrote on Saturday that he would proceed with his proposed $44 billion takeover of Twitter if the social platform disclosed how it tracks bots.
“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 wrote.
In a follow-up tweet, he added: “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!” He also created a poll, asking for yes or no answers to the prompt “Less than 5% of Twitter daily users are fake/spam.”
Information on the number of Twitter users that are actually bots and fake accounts has been crucial in Musk’s legal feud with the company.
When Musk said he wanted to back out of his deal to buy Twitter, one key reason he cited was his belief that Twitter has far more bots and fake accounts than it lets on. He also accused Twitter of withholding its bot information from him, which the company has denied.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has said he thinks at least 20% of Twitter’s daily active users are fake or spam accounts. While Twitter claims the figure is actually less than 5%, Musk said he hasn’t seen proof corroborating that number and that he won’t move forward with the deal until he does.
In his recent countersuit against the company, Musk accused Twitter of deliberately “miscounting” the number of spam accounts on its platform as part of what he called a “scheme to mislead investors about the company’s prospects.”