Centi billionaire Elon Musk provoked Twitter, challenging the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, to a “public debate” about fake accounts and spam amid a controversial legal battle over a $44 billion takeover.
Musk submitted an offer to the Securities and Exchange in April of this year to take over Twitter. After the companies agreed to go ahead with a private deal, Musk said he was closing his acquisition and accused Twitter of presenting false numbers, including in SEC filings, regarding the number of daily active users monetized and the number of active users. number of spam and bot accounts on the social network.
Twitter then sued Musk in a Delaware court to ensure the deal would go through as promised, and Musk filed counterclaims and a counterclaim there on July 29.
In a series of tweets that Musk began posting just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, Musk wrote: interacted with a fan who had summed up his accusations on Twitter, including that it countered him, giving him “outdated data” and “a fake dataset” when he asked the company for details on how it tabulates mDAU and estimates for spam and bot accounts.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX wrote:“Good summary of the issue. If Twitter simply gives their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they are confirmed to be genuine, the deal should go through on the original terms. However, if their SEC filings are found to be materially false, then shouldn’t.”
At just after 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Musk started a Twitter poll to ask his followers to vote on whether “[l]ess than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake/spam.” Respondents to the casual poll could choose one of the answers provided by Musk that read “Yes” followed by three robot emoji or “Lmaooo no.” (The slang abbreviation ” lmao” stands for “laughs at me.)
A source close to the company says there will be no debate outside of a pending lawsuit.
Musk’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday, and a Twitter attorney declined to comment on Musk’s tweets from Saturday.
Twitter’s attorneys have argued in court files that Musk gave the company just twenty-four hours to accept his offer before presenting it directly to Twitter shareholders, and waived due diligence, including a chance to seek more information about fake or spam accounts.
They wrote in court files, “Musk’s repeated mischaracterizations of the merger agreement cannot change the plain words.”
At an annual shareholder meeting for Tesla on Aug. 4, Musk was asked to speak on Twitter during a question-and-answer session that followed a proxy vote.
He said with a laugh to the audience: “Obviously I have to be a little careful about what I say about Twitter because there’s a lawsuit and all that.” He confirmed that the only two publicly traded securities he owns are Tesla and Twitter.
And then he spoke as if he still wants to become the owner of the social networking company, a stark contrast to the arguments Musk is making through his attorneys in Delaware legal files, where Musk argues that he shouldn’t go through the deal.
At Tesla’s 2022 shareholder meeting, Musk said, “I think in the case of Twitter, since I use it a lot, it shoots myself in the foot a lot, you know, dig my grave, etc. I think it — I get it. the product is pretty good, so I think I have a good idea where to point the tech team on Twitter to make it radically better.”
He added that Twitter would “help accelerate” a “pretty grand vision” he had to build a business he’d been thinking about since his earliest years as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X. Corporation.
“Of course that could be started all over again,” he said, “but I think Twitter would help accelerate that by three to five years. So it’s kind of like something that I thought would be really useful for a long time. I You don’t need Twitter for that, but like I said, it’s probably an accelerator for at least three years and I think it’s something that will be very useful to the world.”
Musk did not go into further details during that meeting. However, he reportedly said during a town hall meeting with Twitter employees in June this year that he wanted to grow Twitter’s user base to one billion people and saw Twitter as a platform that could evolve into an app like WeChat in China, a ” super-app,” which spans everything from messaging, video and social media to mobile and point-of-sales payments, with a robust app ecosystem.
Unless they reach a settlement first, Twitter and Musk are heading for a five-day trial in Delaware beginning October 17. The judge deciding the case is Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.