So, it’s been a couple of weeks since we heard anything new on the Elon Musk/Twitter takeover push. Let’s check in and see how things are tracking.
Oh. Not great.
Today, Twitter held a briefing with reporters in which it gave more context as to how it polices fake and spam accounts, and removes such from the platform.
As reported by Reuters:
“Twitter removes more than 1 million spam accounts each day, executives told reporters in a briefing on Thursday, providing new insight into efforts to reduce harmful automated bots as billionaire Elon Musk has demanded more details from the social media company.”
Which is the key context here – Twitter is now trying to use the media to negate another anticipated pushback from Elon Musk’s team, in regards to its claims that only 5% of its active users are fake.
To recap, early last month, Musk and Co filed an official letter with the SEC in which they asserted that Twitter had breached the terms of the takeover deal by refusing to provide more insight into the number of fake profiles on its platform. Twitter has long reported that fake/spam accounts only make up 5% of its active users figure, but Musk has loudly, and publicly, refuted this, and has called for Twitter to provide more evidence in order for the deal to progress.
Twitter has since provided Musk’s team with its ‘full firehose’ of tweets, in order to enable them to make their own assessment. But now, the sense is that Musk is about to push back on Twitter’s claims once again, which is why Twitter’s now looking to use the media to get ahead of any such move.
Though Twitter told reporters that this latest disclosure has nothing to do with the Musk deal. This is just Twitter keeping people informed, and providing a detailed explanation as to how it determines that 5% figure - not so it dilutes any subsequent reporting, which may align with Musk’s view that this is false. Just because. The two things aren’t related.
But as Platformer’s Casey Newton points out, the sense in the industry is that Musk is on the verge of launching his next public pushback, as a means to potentially wriggle out of the Twitter deal.
Here’s how this is gonna go:— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) July 7, 2022
- Elon asks for “more” info
- Twitter gives more info
- Elon asks for even “more"
- Twitter says “we’ve already given you everything"
- Elon uses this as evidence of “noncompliance” and seeks to renegotiate deal
You can set your watch to it
That seems to be the pervading view, that Musk is having buyer’s remorse, and now wants to back out of the deal entirely, which was further solidified recently, when Musk went on an unexplained Twitter break.
Still, if Musk is planning his next move, you couldn’t tell:
A flying, electric boat would be sickkk— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 7, 2022
Musk is still tweeting about boats and socks and horrendous wordplay that he seems to think is cool. Which all just points to the fact that you probably don't want somebody like this in charge of Twitter anyway – but based on the terms of the deal, it does seem like Musk is going to be held to his Twitter offer, one way or another, and it still feels inevitable that he will become Twitter CEO sooner or later.
At least, it feels that way right now. While many legal experts have noted that Musk would have a hard time exiting the deal, it is also worth noting that Musk is super rich, and the same rules that should apply to all don’t necessarily apply to super rich folk in the same way.
In other words, while it may seem unlikely, Musk may still be able to weasel out of his Twitter takeover push, then shake it off like it was all a big joke.
Musk is known as the man who can get things done that others view as impossible, and while the legal entanglements in this case seem fairly limiting, it still seems like Musk is going to make a real go of abandoning his push to become Tweeter in chief.
So the saga continues, at least until Musk’s team files its next grievance with the SEC.