Musk Warns of Killing Twitter Deal over Lack of User Data Transparency
In a recent SEC filing, Twitter published a letter from Elon Musk’s legal team this morning. It expresses unhappiness with the information provided by the corporation about the amount of “spam and bogus accounts” on its service. This is the same concern that the internet mogul has stated numerous times since his Twitter agreement was made public.
Musk sees Twitter’s “latest offer to simply provide extra information concerning the company’s testing methods, either through verbal explanations or written materials, [as] tantamount to refusing [his] data requests,” which the SpaceX and Tesla CEO claims will help “facilitate his evaluation of spam and fake accounts on the company’s platform.”
More data (rather than just an explanation of how the current data was gathered) on Twitter’s non-human users — both spam and natural — is vital to reaching a financial agreement. According to the letter, “as Twitter’s possible owner, Mr. Musk has a clear right to the sought data to prepare for the transfer of Twitter’s business to his possession and facilitate his transaction finance.”
Following his many attempts to first dominate the social network and then buy it altogether, Musk has made several assertions about how Twitter counts non-human members. Musk went so far as to tweet excrement-themed emoticons at Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, after he wrote a thread about how the company deals with spam and bots.
Musk’s staff has made it plain that if he doesn’t get further information, he will go. We’ll let you judge whether Musk’s requests are realistic or not. The situation, on the other hand, presents a fascinating conundrum. If Twitter wants Musk to pay the agreed-upon amount, it may cave and reveal more information.