Austin tech billionaire Elon Musk has caused trouble with lawyers for the online service with his tweets about the planned Twitter takeover. They accused him of breaking a confidentiality agreement, Musk wrote on Sunday night. From the point of view of the legal department, he had revealed too much about Twitter’s approach to the investigation of automated tweeting accounts.
Musk had previously made such bot accounts a topic of his own. He said on Friday that the deal to acquire Twitter had been provisionally suspended. He wanted to wait for calculations to show that accounts that have no real users actually made up less than five percent.
Twitter’s stock subsequently plummeted. About two hours later, Musk then assured that he was still interested in the acquisition.
Any random sampling process is fine. If many people independently get similar results for % of fake/spam/duplicate accounts, that will be telling.
I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2022
Musk’s action raised a lot of questions. On the one hand, his takeover agreement with Twitter does not provide for a temporary suspension. On the other hand, Twitter cited the estimate of less than five percent bot and fake accounts not only in the latest quarterly report – but for years.
Industry observers wondered whether Musk wanted to try to get out of the expensive deal or at least push the price. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, the 50-year-old billionaire sent the second clarifying tweet only after pressure from his lawyers.
On Saturday, Musk followed suit. His team will randomly select 100 followers of the Twitter account of the online service and check how high the share of fake and bot accounts will be among them. The number of 100 accounts is rather low for such a survey.
And Musk obviously also wanted this to be noticeable: he chose them because Twitter also uses a test group of this size, he stressed afterwards. The Twitter legal department then complained that this figure was subject to a confidentiality agreement, Musk later wrote.
The head of the electric car manufacturer Tesla had agreed with the Twitter Board of Directors on a deal worth about $ 44 billion. However, he is still dependent on the fact that enough shareholders want to cede their shares to him. Twitter and Musk have so far wanted to complete the acquisition by the end of the year. In recent months, he has already bought a share of a good nine percent of Twitter on the stock exchange.