Tesla founder Elon Musk on Tuesday said his deal to buy Twitter “cannot move forward” without additional information on the number of bots on the platform, CNN reports.
Musk, who agreed to buy the social media giant for $44 billion, said last week that the deal was “on hold” pending details supporting Twitter’s SEC filing, which said that spam and fake accounts represent less than 5% of its users.
"My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate," Musk tweeted on Tuesday. "Yesterday, Twitter's CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does."
Musk claimed in a separate tweet that Twitter is “20% fake/spam accounts” and suggested the company misled the SEC in its filing.
Stock down as deal in doubt:
Musk’s tweets raised more doubts that he would ever actually buy the social network despite his claim last week that he is “still committed to acquisition.”
Musk in an interview this week suggested that he may only buy the company at a lower price than the $44 billion he said he lined up to buy the firm.
The company’s stock was down to about $37 a share by midday Tuesday, well below Musk’s offer of $54.20 per share.
"Twitter is committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable," the company said in a statement Tuesday.
CEO pushes back:
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal pushed back on Musk’s claims.
He said that the company suspends “over half a million spam accounts every day.”
The 5% figure, he said, is based on “multiple human reviews… of thousands of accounts.”
"The hard challenge is that many accounts which look fake superficially — are actually real people," he said. "And some of the spam accounts which are actually the most dangerous — and cause the most harm to our users — can look totally legitimate on the surface."
"We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him, and all of you," he added.