Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a bot debate

Centennial billionaire Elon Musk provoked Twitter and challenged company CEO Parag Agrawal to a “public debate” about fake accounts and spam amid a controversial legal battle over a $ 44 billion acquisition.

Musk made an offer to the Securities and Exchange to acquire Twitter in April of this year. After the companies agreed to pursue a take-private deal, Musk said he was finishing his acquisition and accused Twitter of presenting fake numbers, including in its SEC filings, relating to the amount of monetizable daily active users and the number of spam accounts and bots on the social network.

Twitter then sued Musk in a Delaware chancellery court to ensure the deal went through, and Musk filed counter-arguments and cross-suit on July 29.

In a series of tweets that Musk began posting just before 1am on Saturday, August 6, Musk interacted with a fan who summed up his allegations on Twitter, including the fact that he was hindering him and providing him with “stale data” and “a fake dataset” when he asked the company for details on how to tabulate mDAUs and estimates for spam and bot accounts.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO wrote“Good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply provides the method to sample 100 accounts and how they are confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC documents are materially fake, then it shouldn’t. “.

Shortly after 9 on Saturday morning, Musk started a poll on Twitter asking his followers to vote if “[l]Less than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake / spam. “Respondents to the informal survey may choose one of Musk’s answers that read” Yes “followed by three robot emojis or” Lmaooo no. “(The slang abbreviation” lmao “” stands for “laughing at– off.)

Musk also wrote Saturday morning: “I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate on Twitter’s bot rate. Let me prove to the public that Twitter has less than 5% fake or spam daily users! ”

A source close to the company says a debate will not take place outside of a pending trial.

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

Twitter’s attorneys argued in court documents that Musk only gave the company twenty-four hours to accept his offer before submitting it directly to Twitter shareholders and waived due diligence, including the ability to search for more information about fake or spam accounts. .

They wrote in court documents: “Musk’s repeated characterization errors of the merger agreement cannot change its simple words.”

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

He said, drawing laughter from the audience, “Obviously I have to be a little careful with what I say on Twitter because there is this cause and things like that.” She has confirmed that the only two publicly traded stocks she owns are Tesla and Twitter.

And then he spoke as if he still wanted to become the owner of the social networking company, in stark contrast to the arguments put forward by Musk via his attorneys in legal documents in Delaware in which Musk argues that he shouldn’t go through with the deal.

At the Tesla 2022 Shareholders’ Meeting, Musk said, “I think in the case of Twitter, since I use it a lot, I shoot a lot in the foot, you know, I dig my grave, etc. I think it is – I understand that. produced quite well, so I think I have a good idea of ​​where to direct Twitter’s engineering team to make it radically better. ”

He added that Twitter would “help accelerate” a “pretty grand vision” that he had to build a business he had thought of since his early years as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X Corporation.

“Of course you could start from scratch,” he said, “but I think Twitter would help speed it up by three or five years. So it’s kind of like something that I thought would be useful enough for a long time. I know what to do. Not. you need to have Twitter for that but, like I said, it’s probably a three-year accelerator at least and I think it’s going to be something that will be very useful for the world. ”

Musk did not go into further details in that meeting. However, during a city hall meeting with Twitter employees in June of this year, he reportedly said he wanted to increase Twitter’s user base to one billion people and saw Twitter as a platform that could evolve. in an app like China’s WeChat, a “super app,” which incorporates everything from messaging, video and social media, to mobile and point-of-sale payments, with a robust ecosystem of apps.

Unless they reach a deal first, Twitter and Musk are headed for a five-day trial in Delaware that will begin on October 17. The judge who decides on the case is Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.

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