In the midst of a contentious legal battle over a $44 billion acquisition, centi-billionaire Elon Musk provoked Twitter and challenged the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, to a “public debate” over fake accounts and spam.
In April of this year, Musk submitted a bid to take over Twitter from the Securities and Exchange. After the companies agreed to proceed with a take-private deal, Musk said he was announcing his acquisition and accused Twitter of providing false numbers, including in its SEC filings relating to the number of monetizable daily actives Users and the number of spam and bot accounts on the social network.
Twitter then sued Musk in a Delaware chancellery to ensure the deal went through as promised, and Musk filed counterclaims and a counterclaim there on July 29.
In a series of tweets Musk posted just before 1 a.m. Saturday, August 6, Musk said interacted with a fan who had summed up his allegations via Twitter, including asking the company for details on how it tabulated mDAU and estimates for spam and bot accounts, including bricking him and giving him “outdated data” and “a fake record.” .
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX wrote“Good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply provides their method of scanning 100 accounts and how to verify them as genuine, the deal should go ahead on the original terms. However, if their SEC filings are found to be materially false, then it shouldn’t be.”
Just after 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Musk started a twitter in urges his supporters to vote on whether “[l]Less than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake/spam.” Respondents in the informal poll were able to choose one of the answers Musk provided, which were either “Yes” followed by three robotic emojis, or “Lmaooo no.” (The colloquial abbreviation “lmao”) read “stands for” laugh my a– off.)
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 Saturday tweets.
Twitter’s attorneys have argued in court filings that Musk gave the company only twenty-four hours to accept his offer before pitching it directly to Twitter shareholders and failed to exercise due diligence, including being able to provide more information about obtain false or spam accounts.
They wrote in court filings, “Musk’s repeated mischaracterizations of the merger agreement cannot change his plain words.”
At a Tesla annual 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, which got the audience in attendance laughing, “Obviously I have to be a little careful what I say on Twitter because of this lawsuit and stuff.” He confirmed that the only two publicly traded securities he owns are , Tesla and Twitter are.
And then he spoke as if he still wanted to own the social networking company, a stark contrast to the arguments Musk made about his attorneys in legal filings in Delaware, in which Musk argues he shouldn’t go through with the deal have to.
At Tesla’s 2022 AGM, Musk said, “I think in the case of Twitter, as I use it a lot, shoot myself in the foot a lot, you know, dig my grave, etc. I think it’s — I pretty much understand the product well, so I think I have a good sense of where to direct the engineering team at Twitter to make it radically better.
He added that Twitter would help “accelerate” a “pretty big vision” he had to build a company he’d had in mind since his earliest years as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X Corporation would have.
“Of course you could start from scratch,” he said, “but I think Twitter would help accelerate that by three to five years. So it’s something like something that I thought would be very useful for a long time. I know you don’t have to have Twitter for that, but like I said, it’s probably at least a three-year accelerator, and I think it’s something that will be very useful to the world.
Musk did not go into further details at this meeting. However, he reportedly said during a town hall meeting with Twitter officials in June this year that he wants to expand Twitter’s user base to one billion people and sees Twitter as a platform that could evolve into an app like China’s WeChat, one “Super app,” which includes everything from messaging, video and social media to mobile and point-of-sales payments with a robust app ecosystem.
Unless they reach an agreement first, Twitter and Musk are heading towards a five-day trial in Delaware, beginning Oct. 17. The judge ruling the case is Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.