Elon Musk May Not Buy Twitter After All, Because Of All The Bots

He believes the company is lying about the number of fake accounts out there.

Elon Musk threatened to walk away from the deal he struck to buy Twitter on Monday, June 6. He accused the social media company of breaching their merger agreement. His lawyers said as much in a letter to Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, Vijaya Gadde.

In May, Musk asked for data on fake and spam accounts, which he didn’t get. He asked for the data to get Twitter to support its claims that bots make up less than 5% of its active user base. Musk believes the true number of bots on the platform is higher than that.

What are bots?

Bots are programs that post automated tweets for entertainment or information. The US government has a bot, nicknamed “quakebot,” that tweets details on seismic events. Musk’s quarrel is with “spam bots,” which inflate the influence of a cause or person.

Bots have become a problem for celebrity Twitter users like Musk. Fake accounts have used their likenesses and names to promote any number of things. (Cryptocurrency scams are the most common.) Musk says bots also interfere with advertising, and he has a point. When advertisers take out ads on Twitter, they’re based on how many real people they hope to reach.

What Twitter is saying

“Twitter has and will continue to share information with Mr. Musk,” the company said in a statement. “We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement.”

Sean Edgett, Twitter’s general counsel, also emailed employees. In the email, he reiterated the company’s commitment to closing the deal.

What happens if Elon Musk doesn’t buy Twitter

A deal is expected to close by Oct. 24. If it doesn’t, both sides have the option to walk away. If regulatory approvals delay the transaction, they get six more months to close it.

Experts say Musk can’t decide to place the deal on hold. But he still acts like he can. If he insists on walking away, he would have to pay a $1 billion breakup fee. Twitter can also sue Musk to force him to go ahead with the acquisition.

READ Twitter Bans Bot Account for Wordle Spoilers

That said, the sale agreement does allow Musk to get out of the deal. But only if Twitter suffers a “material adverse effect.” If its business or financial conditions take a hit, Musk has the option to walk away. Experts say that may be why he’s making a lot of noise about spam bots.

Twitter stands to lose more if Musk walks away. The company has had a rough time lately. It has failed to deliver consistent financial results and increase its users.

Featured Image Daniella Sison

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