Twitter finally agrees to give Elon Musk access to Spam, Fake Account Data

The social media giant has maintained that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of the platform’s overall users.

Tesla billionaire Elon Musk has apparently scored a win in his standoff with Twitter over repeated requests for access to its internal data on spam and fake accounts.

On Wednesday, June 8, Twitter has reportedly caved in and has agreed to hand over a “firehose” of data composed of over 500 million tweets posted per day, according to The Washington Post, citing an unnamed source familiar with the company’s inner workings. The data which reportedly includes account information, a real-time record of tweets, and the devices that users tweet from, could be given to Musk within this week. Currently, around two dozen companies pay in order to gain access to the data, according to the Post.

In May 2022, Musk announced that his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter would temporarily be put on hold as he await the information that supports Twitter’s claim that spam and fake accounts only make up less than 5% of the platform’s users. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, in response, said an external review to determine the percentage would be difficult, given the “critical need to use both public and private information.”

In the first quarter (January, February, March) of 2022, Twitter’s monetizable daily active user (mDAU) count increased 15.9% year over year to 229 million. This includes 39.6 million daily active users in the United States and 189.4 million daily active users from the rest of the world.

Musk, who believes at least 20% of Twitter users are spam or fake accounts, said his team will conduct their own random sampling to calculate the total percentage. He also said he is willing to re-negotiate the deal for a lower price equivalent to the total percentage.

On Monday, June 6, Musk threatened to walk away from the deal, after accusing the company of breaching its obligations under the merger agreement.

Attorneys for Musk wrote in a letter filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, “At this point, Mr. Musk believes Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr. Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover. If Twitter is confident in its publicized spam estimates, Mr. Musk does not understand the company’s reluctance to allow Mr. Musk to independently evaluate those estimates.”

A Twitter spokesperson said that the company “has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement. We believe this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”

Recently clearing the antitrust review in the USA, this merger deal would take Twitter private at $54.20 per share.

Subject to shareholder and receipt of remaining applicable regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close within this year.

To help finance the transaction, Musk has pledged $33.5 billion in equity. He is also in contact with Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss about additional financing.

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