Owning Twitter is difficult as the platform faces regulatory scrutiny and is embroiled in a debate over free speech online. Its business has also faced difficulties, particularly in a competitive market for digital advertising. After Mr Musk signed the acquisition deal, Twitter reported a 16 percent increase in revenue for the first quarter, up from 20 percent predicted.
Within weeks, Mr Musk tweeted that the deal was on hold, adding that he wanted more information about the amount of spam and fake accounts. At one point, he said that making a deal for Twitter at a lower price “wasn’t out of the question.” He also responded to a tweet by Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal, who posted details of how the company detects and fights spam, with a poop emoji.
Behind the scenes, Twitter continues to inform Musk and his team about its platform, people with knowledge of the situation said. Last month, the company agreed to allow Musk direct access to its “firehose,” a daily stream of millions of tweets flowing through the company’s network. Twitter, which has said that about 5 percent of its accounts are spam since going public in 2013, has also said the number is an estimate.
Still, the number of fake accounts continued to be a concern for Mr. Musk. Before proposing the acquisition, he complained about spam on Twitter, saying the company should do more to authenticate its users. In 2020, he appeared at a Twitter employee event and said that the company should do more to stop spam.
Last month, in a six-paragraph letter, Mr Musk’s lawyers demanded more information from Twitter about the methods of counting fake accounts and claimed the firm was “actively resisting and failing” his rights. Was. The company was “rejecting Mr Musk’s data requests” to disclose the number of fake accounts on its platform, he said. This amounted to an “apparent material breach” of the deal, lawyers continued, adding that it empowered Mr Musk to break the deal.
Twitter said on Thursday that it had stepped up efforts to detect and block spam after Russia used fake accounts to influence the 2016 US presidential election. The company has added new requirements to its sign-up process, saying it has used human auditors to match its spam accounts. It also said it deletes one million spam accounts each day, and locks millions more per week until the accounts’ operators pass anti-spam tests.