Elon Musk announced on Friday that the deal to purchase Twitter is “temporarily on hold.” The Tesla CEO claims that the hold-up is because he is questioning how many spam and fake accounts are actually on Twitter.
Musk tweeted, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”
He added, “Still committed to acquisition.”
Musk shared a Reuters article from May that stated, “Twitter Inc. estimated in a filing on Monday that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter.”
Twitter released its quarterly financial report on April 28, which estimated the number of false or spam accounts.
“We have performed an internal review of a sample of accounts and estimate that the average of false or spam accounts during the first quarter of 2022 represented fewer than 5% of our monetizable daily active usage or users (mDAU) during the quarter,” the report stated. “The false or spam accounts for a period represents the average of false or spam accounts in the samples during each monthly analysis period during the quarter.”
However, Twitter conceded, “In making this determination, we applied significant judgment, so our estimation of false or spam accounts may not accurately represent the actual number of such accounts, and the actual number of false or spam accounts could be higher than we have estimated.”
Twitter claimed, “We are continually seeking to improve our ability to estimate the total number of spam accounts and eliminate them from the calculation of our mDAU, and have made improvements in our spam detection capabilities that have resulted in the suspension of a large number of spam, malicious automation, and fake accounts.”
Twitter said that after it determines that an account is spam or fake, it stops counting it as part of the company’s mDAU figures.
Musk has been vocal about ridding Twitter of spam bots in the past.
Musk declared in April, “If our Twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
The SpaceX CEO proclaimed in May, “There is so much potential with Twitter to be the most trusted & broadly inclusive forum in the world! That is why we must clear out bots, spam & scams. Is something actually public opinion or just someone operating 100k fake accounts? Right now, you can’t tell.”
The world’s richest person suggested a solution: “And algorithms must be open source, with any human intervention clearly identified. Then, trust will be deserved.”