Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a bot debate
Centi-billionaire Elon Musk provocative Twitter and challenged the company’s CEO Parag Agrawal in a “public debate” over fake accounts and spam amid a controversial legal battle over a $44 billion acquisition.
Musk filed a tender with the Stock Exchange and Exchange to acquire Twitter in April of this year. After the companies agreed to proceed with a privacy settlement, Musk said he was terminating the acquisition and accused Twitter of misrepresenting numbers, including in SEC filings, regarding the amount Daily active users can monetize and the number of spam accounts and bots on social networks.
Twitter then sued Musk in Delaware treasurer court to make sure the deal went as promised, and Musk filed an objection and an outfit there on July 29.
In a series of tweets that Musk began posting just before 1 a.m. on Saturday, August 6, Musk interact with a fan who summarized his accusations about Twitter, including that it was stoning him and giving him, “outdated data” and “a fake dataset” when he asked the company provides details on how it tabulates mDAUs and estimates for spam and bot accounts.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO wrote“Good summary of the matter. If Twitter only provided a sampling of 100 of their accounts and how they were verified as real, the deal would proceed on the original terms. However, if their SEC filing is seriously wrong, it shouldn’t be.”
Just after 9 a.m. Saturday, Musk start a poll on Twitter ask his followers to vote”[l]essays more than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake/spam. Respondents to the informal poll can choose one of the responses provided by Musk, which could be ‘Yes’ followed by three robot emojis or ‘Lmaooo no. “(short for slang “lmao” stands for “laughs off of me.)
Musk also wrote Saturday morning: “I challenge @paraga for a public debate about Twitter bot rates. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% daily fake or spam users! "
A source close to the company said an argument would not take place outside of the pending trial.
Attorneys for Musk did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday, and an attorney for Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s Saturday tweets.
Twitter’s attorneys argued in court filings that Musk only gave the company 24 hours to accept his offer before he presented it directly to Twitter shareholders, while also waiving liability. The program includes the opportunity to find more information about fake or spam accounts.
They wrote in the court filing, “Repeated and misrepresented Musk of the merger deal cannot change its simple wording.”
At Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting on August 4, Musk was asked to speak about Twitter in a question-and-answer session that followed a proxy vote.
He say, drawing laughter from the audience in attendance, “I obviously have to be a little careful with what I say about Twitter because of this lawsuit and other things.” He confirmed that the only two publicly traded securities he owns are Tesla and Twitter.
And then he spoke as if he still wanted to be the owner of the social media company, in stark contrast to Musk’s argument through his attorney in legal filings in Delaware, in Musk argued that he didn’t need to make the deal.
At Tesla’s 2022 general meeting, Musk said: “I think in the case of Twitter because I use it a lot, shoot myself in the foot a lot, you know, dig my own grave, etc. I think that – I understand. the product is pretty good, so I think I’ve understood the position of the engineering team at Twitter to make it completely better.”
He added that Twitter will “help drive” a “fairly large vision” he has to build a business he’s had in mind since his early years as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X. Corporation.
“Obviously that can be started all over again,” he said, “but I think Twitter is going to help accelerate that for another three to five years. So it’s kind of like something I think it’s going to be. going to be pretty useful in the long run. I know what to do with it. Twitter doesn’t necessarily have to be for that but, like I said, it’s probably at least a three-year accelerator and and I think it’s something that will be very useful to the world.”
Musk didn’t go into any detail during that meeting. However, he said in a town hall met with Twitter employees in June this year that he wants to grow Twitter’s user base to one billion and sees Twitter as a platform that can grow into an app like China’s WeChat, a ” superapps”, combining everything from messaging, video and social media, to mobile payments and point of sale, with a robust app ecosystem.
Unless they reach an agreement in advance, Twitter and Musk will advance to a five-day trial in Delaware, which begins on October 17. The judge who ruled on the case was Prime Minister Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.