Days after Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that his $44 billion deal for Twitter Inc. was “temporarily on hold” as he looked into the prevalence of bot accounts on the service, Twitter’s current leader sought to address how the company assesses spam activity.
Musk had taken issue with Twitter’s
public disclosures that spam accounts represent less than 5% of monetizable daily active users, and he had been floating the possibility of doing his own sampling to try to gauge the extent of spam accounts among the Twitter user base.
Musk’s commentary prompted some Twitter users to agree with his assertion that bots make up a higher portion of Twitter activity than the company has been disclosing, based on their personal observations from time using the service, but Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal threw cold water on the accuracy of amateur bot audits in a series of Monday tweets.
He noted that Twitter does “multiple human reviews (in replicate) of thousands of accounts” based on random samples and while taking into account data points that external reviewers wouldn’t be able to access.
The latest explanation did not appear to sit well with Musk, who replied with a poop emoji and a suggestion that Twitter’s bot activity impacts how advertisers can measure the value of their spending.
Twitter shares declined for the seventh straight trading session Monday, amid concerns that Musk’s spam spat indicated that he could be interested in backing out of the deal or asking for a lower buyout price than the $54.20/share agreement he reached with the company’s board of directors last month.
“The stark reality for Twitter is that no other strategic/financial bidder will come near this deal and Musk knows that; which is why in a changing market and with Tesla
losing ~$300 billion of market cap since the deal we view the $44 billion Twitter deal as having less than a 50% to get done as of today,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients Monday.