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Elon Musk Says Twitter Deal Is "On Hold" Over Fake Account Details

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Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter is “temporarily on hold,” the Tesla CEO announced earlier today. The multi-billionaire who inked a deal to buy the social network last month wants more information on the proportion of spam/fake accounts on the platform.

In a filing Monday, Twitter had stated that fake accounts comprise less than five percent of its monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) during the first quarter of the year. So out of the reported  229 million average daily users during Q1 2022, only about 11 million accounts should be fake or spam.

But Elon Musk seemingly doesn’t buy this. It appears he was expecting a lot more fake accounts on Twitter than the company has reported. Musk is now awaiting “details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than five percent” of the platform’s current user base. Until then, the deal is on hold.

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From the very beginning, Musk has stressed that the removal of “spam bots” from Twitter would be one of his priorities should the deal complete. He wants to develop the platform as an open place for free speech where everyone can have their voices heard. Musk has even suggested that he would reverse the ban on former US President Donal Trump, who was permanently banned from the social network over tweets that violate the company’s policies.

But this high-profile privatization of Twitter is far from over. Elon Musk is already under investigation by the Federal regulators. The proposed buyout may encounter more such legal hurdles in the future. That’s if Twitter can supply Musk with enough details on fake accounts and he decides to proceed with the deal.

Twitter has made calculation errors multiple times in the past

Elon Musk asking for more details regarding the calculation of the fake accounts from Twitter may have something to do with the company’s history in this area. The social network has made calculation errors multiple times in the past.

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In its Q1 2022 earnings report, Twitter revealed that it has been miscalculation its mDAUs since 2019. It reported up to 1.9 million more mDAUs each quarter than it had for three straight years. The company also made a similar calculation error between 2014 and 2017. It counted certain non-active accounts as monthly active users (MAUs), overstating average MAUs by up to two million.

Twitter has been in turmoil following the announcement of Musk’s $44 billion buyout. Several top-level executives have left the company. It will be interesting to see what’s next for the social network.