Elon Musk and Twitter are making news again. As Tesla and SpaceX CEO Musk already faces an uphill battle in court against popular micro-blogging site Twitter, he has now challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal to a “public debate” about fake accounts and spam on the platform he heads.
This comes two days after the eccentric billionaire accused Twitter of fraud and claimed in a legal filing that the social media platform was hiding the real number of fake accounts on its platform. These bot accounts have been a source of contention between Musk and Twitter, with the billionaire refusing to believe Twitter’s stance that less than 5% of accounts on its platform belong to bots.
I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage.
Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 6, 2022
He followed this with pinning the tweet to his profile and issuing another poll (his latest) asking whether they believed Twitter’s statement that less than five percent of its monthly daily active users are bot accounts.
The options provided were “Lmaooo no” and “Yes” with three robot emojis. So far, 67.2% of users have picked the “Lmaooo no” option. The poll will continue throughout the week and conclude on Sunday. Is it likely to be heavily in Musk’s favour? Yes, but it is unlikely to have an effect in the upcoming trial.
The challenge was issued after Musk was found interacting with another Twitter user, replying in a thread, “If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms.”
Musk’s latest stunt is yet to provoke a response from Twitter or CEO Parag Agarwal, both of whom remain committed to make Musk walk down the aisle and complete the $44 billion acquisition that he himself had proposed months ago. Musk later used the presence of bot accounts on the platform as a pretence to put the deal “on hold” for a while, before completely pulling out of it.
Unsurprisingly, this began a legal battle as Twitter sued Musk in a Delaware chancery court to ensure the deal would go through as promised, and Musk filed his own counterclaims. Later, Musk’s lawyers claimed in a 165-page document that Twitter was responsible for Musk pulling out of the deal and not being truthful about the presence of bots on its platform.
One thing is for sure – the stage is set and the pieces are moving for Twitter’s trial against Musk, which starts on October 17. Till then, things are hardly expected to be dull (it seldom is when Elon Musk is in the picture).