Billionaire Elon Musk provoked Twitter and challenged the company’s CEO Parag Agrawal to “public debate” about fake accounts and spam in a controversial $ 44 billion takeover legal battle.
Musk made an offer with the Securities and Exchange to acquire Twitter in April this year. After the companies agreed to a private deal, Musk said he was ending the takeover and accused Twitter of presenting false numbers, including in SEC filings regarding the number of active users who can earn per day, and the number of spam accounts and bots in the social network.
Twitter then sued Musk in a Delaware chancellery to make sure the deal went as promised, and Musk filed counterclaims and a lawsuit on July 29.
In a series of tweets that Musk began posting just before 1am on Saturday, August 6, Musk interacted with a fan who summarized his allegations about Twitter, including blocking it and giving it “stale data” and a “fake dataset” when asked the company for details on how it compiled mDAU and spam and bot account estimates.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX wrote“A good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply specifies a method to sample 100 accounts and verify that they are genuine, the transaction should be on its original terms. But if it turns out that their SEC filings are genuinely bogus, then they shouldn’t. “
Just after 9am on Saturday morning Musk started a Twitter poll by asking their supporters to vote whether “[l]less than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake / spam. ” Respondents to the informal survey could choose one of Musk’s responses which was “Yes” followed by three robot emoticons or “Lmaooo no” (the slang abbreviation “lmao” means “laughs at my … off.)
A source close to the company says the debate will not take place outside of the ongoing process.
Musk’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday, and Twitter’s attorney declined to comment on Musk’s tweets on Saturday.
Twitter attorneys claimed in court testimony that Musk had given the company just twenty-four hours to accept his offer before presenting it directly to Twitter shareholders, and waived due diligence, including the chance to get more information about fake or spam accounts.
In court papers, they wrote: “Musk’s repeated misstatements of the merger agreement cannot alter its simple words.”
At Tesla’s annual shareholders’ meeting on August 4, Musk was asked to comment on Twitter during a question-and-answer session that followed the proxy vote.
He said, causing the audience to laugh, “Obviously I have to be a little careful what I say about Twitter because there’s this lawsuit and stuff.” He confirmed that the only two securities he has publicly traded are Tesla and Twitter.
And then he spoke as if he still wanted to become the owner of the social network, in stark contrast to the arguments made by Musk through his lawyers in Delaware’s legal testimony in which Musk says he should not be forced to make a deal.
At Tesla’s 2022 shareholders’ meeting, Musk said: “I think about Twitter because I use it a lot, I shoot myself a lot in the foot, you know, I dig my grave etc. I think it – I understand the product quite well, so I think I have a good feel for it. where to pinpoint the engineering team on Twitter to make it radically better.
He added that Twitter “will help accelerate” a “pretty grand vision” that he had to build a business he had been thinking about from an early age as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X Corporation.
“Of course you can start from scratch,” he said, “but I think Twitter would help speed it up by three to five years.” So it’s something I’ve found useful for a long time. I know what to do. I don’t need Twitter for this, but as I said, it’s probably at least a three-year accelerator and I think it’s something that will be of great use to the world.
During this meeting, Musk did not go into further details. However, he reportedly said in a town hall meeting with Twitter staff in June of this year that he wants to grow his Twitter user base to a billion people and sees Twitter as a platform that can evolve into an app like China’s WeChat, a “super app,” that covers everything from news, video and social media to mobile and point-of-sale payments, with a robust app ecosystem.
If they fail to reach an agreement sooner, Twitter and Musk are headed for a five-day trial in Delaware, starting October 17. The judge in this case is Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.