Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk on Monday threatened to end his deal to acquire Twitter if the company fails to provide information about spam and fake accounts on its social media platform.
On April 26, the microblogging platform had said in a regulatory filing that Musk will buy Twitter for about $44 billion (over Rs 3,36,910 crore).
However, on May 13, Musk had tweeted that the deal was on hold “pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users”.
Musk, the world’s richest man, in a regulatory filing to the United States stock exchanges said that Twitter had declared that less than 5% of its daily active users were spam or fake accounts.
Musk, however, claimed that the actual number of spam and fake accounts could be 20%, or four times of what Twitter has declared. He added that Twitter Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal refused to show proof that less than 5% of the platform’s users were fake.
In a letter to Twitter on Monday, the legal team of Musk said that Twitter has repeatedly refused to heed to his request to provide data so that he can evaluate the spam and fake accounts.
The data on spam and fake accounts is one of Musk’s priorities for acquiring the social media company. After announcing the takeover of Twitter, Musk had said that he would remove “spam bots” from the platform.
In the letter, the legal team said Twitter wanted to provide details about its methodologies used to detect spam and fake accounts. However, the letter said that the move was tantamount to refusing the billionaire’s request.
“Musk has made it clear that he does not believe the company’s lax testing methodologies are adequate so he must conduct his own analysis,” the letter said. “The data he has requested is necessary to do so.”
It said that if Twitter was confident about its data on spam and fake accounts, Musk does not understand why the company was reluctant to give information so that he can independently verify the estimates.
The letter said that Musk believes Twitter was refusing to comply with its obligations under the acquisition deal, which is leading to suspicion that the company is “withholding the requested data due to concern for what Mr Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover”.
“This [refusal to provide data] is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement,” it added.