Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has been put on a temporary pause as the billionaire wants to check Twitter's estimates of "spam/fake" accounts, Reuters has learned.
According to Twitter's filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), around 5% of its 229 million daily active users are bots and fake accounts. But that might be further from the truth as Musk apparently wants to be sure about those estimates.
The thing is that Twitter doesn't account all bots equally, suggesting the real number of bots might be higher. Last year, the social network even created a dedicated policy called "About automated account labels" about how it labels bots. Here's how Twitter explains that differentiation:
Examples of automated accounts you might see on Twitter include bots that help you find vaccine appointments and disaster early warning systems.
Although Twitter declined to elaborate in the filing about the accounting mechanism, reports hint that the real number of bots is higher than what Twitter wants it to be. For instance, CNET reported back in 2017, citing a study released by the University of Southern California and Indiana University, that between 9% and 15% of Twitter's active monthly users were bots.
While the number might have changed significantly since those revelations, Musk's decision to pause the deal might indicate that the Tesla CEO is really concerned about how truthful Twitter's statements are. Reuters reports, citing researchers, that Twitter's real estimate might be "anywhere from 9% to 15%" of automated bots.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post has learned that Musk's efforts to recount the number of bots are nothing else than just a bluff. According to anonymous sources close to the matter, Musk wants with the move to lower the acquisition price from $44 billion as the stock market tanked in recent weeks.