Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a debate on bots

centi-billionaire Elon Musk caused Twitter and challenged the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, to a “public debate” over fake accounts and spam amid a contentious legal battle over a $44 billion takeover.

Musk submitted an offer to the Securities and Exchange to acquire Twitter in April this year. After the companies agreed to go ahead with a privatization deal, Musk said he was rescinding his acquisition and accused Twitter of submitting false numbers, including in its SEC filings, related to the number of monetizable daily active users and the amount of spam and bot accounts in the social network.

Twitter then sued Musk in Delaware chancery court to ensure the deal went through as promised, with Musk filing counterclaims and a counterclaim there on July 29.

In a series of tweets that Musk began posting just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, Musk interacted with a fan who had summarized his accusations about Twitter, including that it was obstructing him and giving him “outdated data” and “a false data set” when he asked the company for details on how it tabulates mDAU and estimates for spam and bot accounts.

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX wrote“Nice summary of the issue. If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they are confirmed to be real, the deal should continue on the original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then should not”.

Just after 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, Musk started a twitter poll asking his followers to vote yes”[l]Less than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake/spam.” Respondents in the informal poll could choose one of the answers provided by Musk, which was either “Yes” followed by three robot emojis, or “Lmaooo no.” ( The slang abbreviation “lmao” means “laughing my a– off”.)

Musk also wrote Saturday morning: “Challenge @paraga to a public debate about the percentage of Twitter bots. Prove to the public that Twitter has less than 5% fake/unwanted daily users!”

A source close to the company says no debate will take place outside of a pending trial.

Musk’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday, and a Twitter lawyer declined to comment on Musk’s tweets on Saturday.

Twitter’s lawyers argued in court papers that Musk gave the company just 24 hours to accept his offer before submitting it directly to Twitter shareholders and waived due diligence, including the opportunity to seek more information about fake or hacked accounts. spam.

They wrote in court papers: “Musk’s repeated mischaracterizations of the merger agreement cannot change his plain words.”

At an annual Tesla shareholder meeting on Aug. 4, Musk was asked to speak on Twitter during a question-and-answer session that followed a proxy vote.

He said, eliciting laughter from the audience present, “Obviously I have to be a little careful about what I say about Twitter because there’s this lawsuit and stuff.” She confirmed that the only two publicly traded securities she owns are Tesla and Twitter.

And then he spoke as if he still wanted to become the owner of the social media company, a stark contrast to arguments made by Musk through his lawyers in legal filings in Delaware in which Musk argues he shouldn’t have to go through with it. the deal

At the 2022 Tesla shareholder meeting, Musk said: “I think in the case of Twitter, since I use it a lot, I shoot myself in the foot a lot, you know, dig my own grave, etc. I think it’s… I get it”. the product pretty well, so I think I have a good idea of ​​where to direct the Twitter engineering team to make it radically better.”

He added that Twitter would “help accelerate” a “big vision” he had for building a business he had been thinking about since his early years as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X Corporation.

“Obviously that could start from scratch,” he said, “but I think Twitter would help speed it up three to five years. So it’s like something that I thought would be pretty useful for a long time. I know what to do. No need to have Twitter for that, but like I said, it’s probably an accelerator of at least three years and I think it’s something that will be very useful for the world.

Musk did not go into further detail at that meeting. However, he would have said during a town hall In a meeting with Twitter employees in June this year, he said he wanted to grow Twitter’s user base to one billion people and saw Twitter as a platform that could evolve into an app like China’s WeChat, a “super application” that incorporates everything from messaging, video and social networks, mobile payments and points of sale, with a robust ecosystem of applications.

Unless they reach an agreement first, Twitter and Musk are headed for a five-day trial in Delaware that begins Oct. 17. The judge who will rule on the case is Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.

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