Twitter will provide Elon Musk with spam data as part of the deal

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After a weeks-long stalemate, Twitter’s board plans to meet Elon Musk’s demands for internal data by offering access to his full “firehose,” the massive stream of data that comprises more than 500 million tweets posted every day, according to with a person familiar with the company’s thinking, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the status of negotiations.

The move is aimed at ending a standoff with the billionaire, who has threatened to back out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter unless the company provides access to data he says is needed to gauge the number of fake users on the platform.

The information could be provided later this week, the person said. Currently, about two dozen companies pay for access to the treasury, which comprises not just a real-time log of tweets, but the devices they tweet from, as well as information about the accounts they tweet.

Musk’s legal team says data flow is essential to understanding the amount of spam and bot activity on its platform, a number that could influence the company’s ad revenue, according to a letter sent to Twitter on Monday. .

Musk said the deal is on hold until he secures the information, adding to speculation that he is trying to withdraw or renegotiate his purchase at a lower price. When he signed his initial deal to buy the company in April, he waived the right to scrutinize deeply into Twitter’s finances and inner workings. The purchase agreement requires Musk to abide by the deal, unless he can show that the company cheated on him or that a major event changed its value.

Elon Musk Threatens to Quit Twitter Settlement Over Data Retention

Twitter leaders are skeptical of Musk’s ability to use the fire hose to find previously undetected information: The data stream has been available for years to companies that pay Twitter for the ability to analyze it to find patterns and insights. in daily conversation. They, along with some Silicon Valley analysts and experts, say Musk is using the data requests as a pretext to exit the deal or negotiate a lower price.

Spam activity is important to your team because if Twitter is underestimating spam on its service, the company’s estimates for how many users might see ads would be lower, impacting revenue.

In Monday’s letter addressed to Twitter’s General Counsel Vijaya Gadde, Musk’s lawyers accused Twitter of refusing to provide information about spam and fake accounts that the billionaire, who is the richest man in the world, has been requesting since May 9th.

Musk “must have a thorough and accurate understanding of the core of Twitter’s business model – its active user base,” said company lawyers Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. “Twitter’s latest offer to simply provide additional details about the company’s own testing methodologies, whether through written materials or verbal explanations, amounts to denying Musk’s requests for data.”

Twitter spokesman Scott Bisang referred the Washington Post to the company’s statement on Monday. “Twitter has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement,” the statement said. “We believe this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”

Twitter’s challenges with bots and fake accounts have been around for almost as long as the 16-year-old platform. For years, the company has reported that bots and spam accounts account for less than 5% of the service’s users, a number the company deduced from extensive audits. But some outside researchers, based on their studies, suggest that the percentage is actually much higher — perhaps double or triple the 5%.

Bot questions are nothing new for Twitter

Musk began complaining about the bot problem shortly after he agreed to acquire and take the company private for $44 billion in April. He used his own huge megaphone on Twitter to threaten to put the deal “on hold” and insist that the deal could not “move forward” until Twitter provided more evidence of its methods for detecting spam.

Musk has committed more than $33 billion of his own fortune, which largely comes from his Tesla ownership, to complete the deal. But as the stock market has been rocked by a global downturn, Tesla’s stock values ​​have plummeted, and some analysts have speculated that Musk has buyer’s remorse.

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