Elon Musk SpaceX
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

In a corporate setting, there’s a few things that are off-limits. Deliver the work on time, show up on time, and most importantly, do not use emojis on the company’s group chat. Professionalism 101.

As it turns out, if someone happens to be in the upper echelon of the exclusive billionaire club, these rules are fairly maleable. Elon Musk has put the entire social media food chain on the edge of their seats, as he (In a rather colorful fashion) passed the onus onto Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to present proof that the platform’s userbase consists of <5% spam/fake accounts. Musk had earlier tweeted that his Twitter acquisition deal is on hold, pending above-mentioned proof.

Responding to a story by Teslarati, Musk tweeted “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate.” He further issued an ultimatum saying “This deal cannot move forward until he does,” urging CEO Parag Agrawal to come forward with proof to back SEC filing numbers.

Agrawal had earlier explained in a series of tweets how Twitter managed spam accounts. He also conveyed the platform’s inability to allow external analysis, to avoid disclosing private information. The long Twitter thread did not garner much appreciation from Musk though, as all he had to add to the conversation was a poop emoticon. (Yes, emoticon is the real word.)

The intent is certainly difficult to pin point, but it is a reasonable inference to funnel it down to two options. Either Musk is trying to tank the deal (which would make him liable to a fine of $1 Bn), or he’s trying to bargain his way to a sweeter deal. Twitter’s share price is down around 8% at $37.39. The latter would mean shareholders might have to settle for lower than the initial offer of $54.20 per share.

Musk has been rather critical of the product he worked so hard to buy. He’s been taking his fair share of Jibes at Twitter about their leadership and the algorithm behind the app. His word holds considerable power to sway the common trader into a bearish approach. The US SEC, which has been overseeing this deal, seems to have swallowed it’s whistle around this potential market manipulation incident.

Twitter certainly wasn’t looking for buyers when Musk made his blockbuster offer, which brings in reasonable suspicion as to why this issue is of such magnitude now, but wasn’t even brought to his attention before the deal was finalized. It is still wise entrepreneurial instinct that Musk is making sure he’s getting exactly what he is paying for.