Fellow Patriot: The voluntary financial generosity of supporters like you keeps our hard-hitting analysis coming. Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today. Thank you for your support! —Nate Jackson, Managing Editor

Thomas Gallatin / May 19, 2022

Musk’s Twitter Deal Bot Blowup

Just how many fake users are there on the platform he aims to buy?

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter has been put on hold following his concern that the social media giant hasn’t been honest about the percentage of accounts that are fake.

In a telling back and forth on the platform with current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, Musk said that, according to his own people’s estimates, at least 20% of Twitter accounts are fake users or “spam bots.” Musk said Twitter is grossly undercounting its number of fake accounts.

Indeed, the gulf is a wide one. “Our actual internal estimates for the last four quarters were well under 5%,” Agrawal responded. “The error margins on our estimates give us confidence in our public statements each quarter.” Agrawal then interestingly added: “Unfortunately, we don’t believe this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share). Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs [monetizable daily active users] on any given day.”

In other words, Agrawal is saying that Musk cannot know the genuine number or percentage of fake accounts without Twitter’s internal data, and evidently he cannot have that data until the sale is complete. Musk, for his part, has drawn a line in the sand. “My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” he said. “Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Agrawal obviously dismissed external estimates, but a recent audit by software firm SparkToro found, for example, that 49.3% of Joe Biden’s Twitter followers are fake. (No doubt all of this 81 million votes are real, though!) OK, to be fair, roughly the same was estimated for Donald Trump in 2017, and it’s likely true for any number of popular accounts. That certainly doesn’t support Agrawal’s argument.

So, has Twitter been lying to its investors and the Security and Exchange Commission, or is Musk raising the objection in an effort to renegotiate the price? Since last week, Twitter’s stock value has dropped nearly 10% because investors are clearly worried that Musk may back out.

If Musk were to back out, he’d be on the hook for $1 billion — not a small chunk of change even for him. But if it saved him from seriously overpaying for a social media company that’s possibly one-fifth smaller than advertised, then it would save him a lot of dough.

No matter how one slices it, Musk has Twitter’s board on its heels. It can either see the deal scuttled and face the wrath and maybe lawsuits of shareholders, or it can reveal that Musk is right and undermine the company’s value.

Some are even wondering if Musk’s plan from the beginning was not to acquire Twitter at all but rather to expose it and break it. If anyone budges, it will likely be the Twitter board, as Musk clearly has the upper hand.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.