Billionaire Elon Musk said Friday that his pending acquisition of Twitter is on hold as he awaited information about the prevalence of fake accounts.
He later added that he remains committed to the $44 billion deal.
“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Mr. Musk said on Twitter.
Less than two hours later, Mr. Musk wrote: “Still committed to acquisition.”
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said he anticipates the deal will still happen but he is focused on improving Twitter regardless of who owns the social platform.
“While I expect the deal to close, we need to be prepared for all scenarios and always do what’s right for Twitter,” Mr. Agrawal said on Twitter. “I’m accountable for leading and operating Twitter, and our job is to build a stronger Twitter every day.”
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Twitter acknowledged challenges measuring its numbers of active users and engagement in a regulatory filing earlier this month. Twitter said in the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it estimated the number of fake or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its daily active users during the first quarter of 2022. The company also acknowledged that its guess about the number of fake users could be inaccurate.
Mr. Musk, whose takeover of Twitter was announced last month, made fighting spam a top priority. In Twitter’s announcement of the planned acquisition, Mr. Musk listed “defeating the spam bots” and authenticating humans on the social media platform as prime concerns.
Whether Mr. Musk’s tweets materially change anything about the pending acquisition remains to be seen, but Twitter’s stock dropped 18% in premarket trading after his first tweet saying the deal was halted, according to CNBC.
“No one at Twitter is working just to keep the lights on. We take pride in our work,” Mr. Agrawal said on Twitter. “Regardless of the company’s future ownership, we’re here improving Twitter as a product and business for customers, partners, shareholders, and all of you.”