Elon Musk’s $44B Twitter Deal ‘Temporarily on Hold’


Elon Musk’s $44B deal to buy Twitter is temporarily on hold, the tech entrepreneur tweeted on Friday, alongside a link to a Reuters article about spam accounts. The article reported that Twitter had said in a filing that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter of 2022.

In another tweet two hours later, Musk confirmed that he’s “still committed to the acquisition.” In the intervening period, Twitter share prices took a significant hit, tumbling over 20% in premarket trading.

In Musk’s original tweet in the early hours of Friday morning, he said that the deal was on pause “pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.” When Twitter released the figure as part of its quarterly results in late April , it acknowledged the number was an estimation and the actual number of fake accounts “could be higher.”

Defeating spam accounts has been a central facet of Musk’s plans for the social network. The Twitter super user, who has almost 93 million followers, has been critical of Twitter’s moderation policies, especially its inability to get a handle on the number of bots. One his ideas to tackle the problem is to authenticate all human users of the platform. He has also expressed his hope of making Twitter a bastion of free speech, a plan that includes reinstating the account of banned user Donald Trump.

Musk’s deal came together in a something of a hurry, but under the agreed terms, if either Musk or Twitter walks away, they must pay the other party $1 billion in termination fees. 

The deal comes at a tumultuous time for Twitter. The company has struggled to grow both its user base and its ad sales as it competes with bigger social media companies, and on Thursday it announced the departure of two senior executives alongside a hiring freeze. 

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment following Musk’s announcement on Friday.


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