Elon Musk says Twitter purchase ‘on hold’ pending details on fake accounts

Elon Musk said his pending acquisition of Twitter is “on hold” until the social network can offer more clarity on its fake accounts.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted from his verified account on Friday. 

The billionaire Tesla CEO, who has more than 90 million Twitter followers, shared a link to a Reuters report that said Twitter estimated false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users.

Musk made a cash offer to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share last month, valuing the company at more than $40 billion. Since the Twitter board accepted the offer there has been intense speculation about the potential direction of the company under Musk’s ownership. 

Twitter’s earnings announcement earlier this month revealed that its “average monetizable daily active usage” was 229 million for the first quarter, representing a jump of 15.9% compared with the year-earlier quarter. This figure is the number of users consuming advertising on the platform on a daily basis, or the number of daily users from which Twitter can make money.

Twitter shares fell as much as 6.76% on the news in pre-market trading, while Tesla rose as much as 5.27%, according to MarketWatch data

Commentators have speculated that Musk may have a positive impact on the app regarding spam bots, an issue he addressed in a news release when his bid was accepted. 

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

This statement echoed comments Musk made during a TED talk stage appearance in April, where he referred to “eliminating the spam and scam bots and the bot armies that are on Twitter” as his top priority. 

“They make the product much worse. If I had a dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw, I would have a hundred billion dogecoin,” he said.

Addressing this issue is of particular importance to the crypto community, in which spam bots and scams have plagued users, with Musk himself being the target of several past impersonation attempts. 

Still, it is unclear what he might do to combat the issue.