Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a debate on bots

Centi-billionaire Elon Musk provoked Twitter and challenged the corporate’s CEO Parag Agrawal to a “public debate” about pretend accounts and spam within the midst of a contentious authorized battle over a $44 billion acquisition.

Musk filed a bid with the Securities and Exchange to purchase Twitter again in April this yr. After the businesses agreed to transfer forward with a take-private deal, Musk mentioned he was terminating his acquisition, and accused Twitter of presenting false numbers, together with in its SEC filings, pertaining to the quantity of monetizable every day energetic customers, and the variety of spam and bot accounts on the social community.

Twitter then sued Musk in a Delaware chancery court docket to make sure the deal would undergo as promised, and Musk filed counterclaims and a countersuit there on July 29.

In a collection of tweets that Musk started posting simply earlier than 1 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6, Musk interacted with a fan who had summarized his accusations about Twitter together with that it was stonewalling him and giving him, “outdated data,” and “a fake data set” when he requested the corporate for particulars about the way it tabulates mDAU, and estimates for spam and bot accounts.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO wrote, “Good summary of the problem. If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

By simply after 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Musk began a Twitter ballot asking his followers to vote on whether or not “[l]ess than 5% of Twitter daily users are fake/spam.” Respondents to the casual ballot may select one among Musk’s supplied solutions which learn both “Yes” adopted by three robotic emoji, or “Lmaooo no.” (The slang abbreviation “lmao” stands for “laughing my a– off.)

Musk also wrote Saturday morning: “I hereby problem @paraga to a public debate concerning the Twitter bot share. Let him show to the general public that Twitter has <5% pretend or spam every day customers!"

A source close to the company says a debate is not going to happen outside of a pending trial.

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

Twitter’s attorneys have argued in court filings that Musk gave the company just twenty-four hours to accept his offer before he would present it directly to Twitter shareholders, and waived due diligence including a chance to seek more information on false or spam accounts.

They wrote in court filings, “Musk’s repeated mischaracterizations of the merger settlement can not change its plain phrases.”

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

He said, drawing laughter from the audience in attendance, “I clearly have to be a little cautious what I say about Twitter as a result of there’s this lawsuit and stuff.” He confirmed that the only two publicly traded securities he owns are Tesla and Twitter.

And then he spoke as if he still wants to become the owner of the social networking company, a stark contrast to arguments made by Musk via his attorneys in legal filings in Delaware in which Musk argues he should not have to go through with the deal.

At the Tesla 2022 shareholders’ meeting, Musk said: “I feel within the case of Twitter since I exploit it a lot, shoot myself within the foot a lot, , dig my grave, and so on. I feel it is — I do perceive the product fairly effectively, so I feel I’ve bought a good sense of the place to level the engineering crew at Twitter to make it radically higher.”

He added that Twitter would “assist speed up” a “fairly grand imaginative and prescient” he had to build a business he’d been thinking about since his earliest years as a tech entrepreneur, X.com or X Corporation.

“Obviously that may very well be began from scratch,” he said, “however I feel Twitter would assist speed up that by three to 5 years. So it is form of like one thing I’ve thought can be fairly helpful for a very long time. I do know what to do. Don’t have to have Twitter for that however, like I mentioned, it is in all probability no less than a three-year accelerant and I feel it is one thing that might be very helpful to the world.”

Musk didn’t go into any further details at that meeting. However, he reportedly said during a town hall meeting with Twitter employees in June this year that he wanted to grow Twitter’s user base to a billion people and saw Twitter as a platform that could evolve into an app like China’s WeChat, a “tremendous app,” that comes with all the things from messaging, video and social media, to cell and point-of-sales funds, with a sturdy app ecosystem.

Unless they attain a settlement first, Twitter and Musk are headed for a five-day trial in Delaware that begins on Oct. 17. The decide ruling on the case is Chancellor Kathaleen St. J. McCormick.


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