Elon Musk responded with a poop emoji after Twitter’s chief executive insisted that the social media platform is doing everything it can to stamp out spam and bot accounts.
Just days after the Tesla boss said the issue forced him to put his $44 billion acquisition of the site “on hold,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal defended his company’s handling of spam and bots and denied claims that Twitter wasn’t doing enough to purge automated accounts.
He tweeted on Monday that spam “harms the experience for real people on Twitter” and that the company is “strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can, every single day.”
“Anyone who suggests otherwise is just wrong,” Agrawal tweeted.
Musk appeared to be unimpressed, tweeting a poop emoji in response. He then commented: “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.”
Last week, Musk claimed that there is “some chance” the actual number of fake accounts on Twitter “might be over 90% of daily active users.”
Agrawal said that operators of spam and bot accounts are becoming ever more sophisticated — which makes it harder for Twitter to identity and eliminate them.
Nonetheless, Agrawal claims that less than 5% of all of Twitter’s “monetizable daily active users” — or mDAUs — are spam.
Agrawal declined to reveal how the company came up with the data, though he said: “We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him, and all of you.”
Over the weekend, Musk tweeted that Twitter’s legal team accused him of violating a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was just 100 account.
“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” the Tesla CEO tweeted. “This actually happened.”
Twitter shares were trading down some 6.5% on Monday. Twitter stock was selling on Wall Street for just over $38 a share — well below the $54.20 that Musk offered to buy out the firm’s stakeholders and take the company private.
Analysts like Dan Ives of Wedbush believe that Musk’s seizing on the bot issue is a pretext to get the company to agree to sell itself at a reduced price.
Ives said that several factors, including the changing stock market as well as financing issues, “has caused Musk to get cold feet” and that the hang-up over “bots” is “likely more of a scapegoat to push for a lower price.”
Twitter’s board knows that nobody will come close to making an offer similar to scope, and that Musk, whose electric car maker Tesla has lost $300 billion of its market capitalization since the deal was announced last month, is fully aware of this.
“The elephant in the room for the Twitter board is Musk can walk away for a $1 billion as a small breakup fee (for Musk-all relative) and likely cite the bot/fake account issue as the reason, even though this likely would be contested by Twitter in the courts,” according to Ives.
“If a revised deal does get done by Musk and Twitter, it will likely will be at a lower price once negotiations take over and the diligence happens around Twitter DAU and algorithms hot button issues.”
Twitter has been thrown into turmoil since the company’s board of directors announced last month that it had accepted Musk’s $44 billion buyout offer.
Agrawal on Thursday fired two top executives after he told staffers that the company failed to hit growth and revenue goals.