The $44 billion sale of Twitter to Elon Musk is under threat because of an old social network problem: fake accounts and bots. “The Twitter deal is temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculations that spam/fake accounts actually represent less than 5% of users,” the billionaire tweeted on Friday.
Musk refers in a comment to a Reuters news story published on March 2. He reports that Twitter reported that the percentage of fake accounts on the social network is less than 5%. This is equivalent to the fact that more than 95% of the 229 million users that the social network announced in its latest balance sheet are “monetizable”, meaning that they consume the ads that Twitter inserts and with which the company finances itself.
At the end of April, Twitter admitted that it had made a mistake in the estimates of false accounts it had made over the past two to three years. The reality is that he had more than he communicated, but the error was not enough to cause his total number of users to fall below that 229, given the growth in recent months.
Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculations that spam/fake accounts do represent less than 5% of users https://t.co/Y2t0QMuuyn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2022
However, in a message to the US stock market regulator, he acknowledged that this new estimate could also be wrong. “We conducted an internal review of a sample of accounts and calculated that the average number of fake or spam accounts in the first quarter of 2022 was less than 5% of our monthly active users during the quarter,” he explained: “When creating this estimate, we apply serious judgment therefore our estimate of fake or spam accounts may not accurately reflect the actual number of such accounts, and the actual number of fake or spam accounts may be higher than we estimate.”
The tweet has been out for more than two weeks now, and it’s not clear why Musk is now voicing his doubts about real users of the social network. The tycoon has promised to pay some 44 billion euros for it and has already reached agreements with both private partners and investment funds to cooperate with him in financing this amount.
Twitter shares plummeted due to Musk’s tweet. Within minutes, they fell below $36 from $54.20 a share the businessman offered to buy.
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