Twitter's prospective buyer is going about his acquisition in a rather unusual way. Elon Musk took to Twitter (naturally) on Monday to argue with CEO Parag Agrawal over the company's bot account estimates and during a conference Monday said renegotiating the deal for a lower price wasn't "out of the question." Does Musk actually want to buy this company?
Agrawal on Monday shared a Twitter thread defending the company's estimate that less than 5% of reported daily active users for the quarter are spam accounts. Agrawal said the internal estimates for the past four quarters were "well under 5%," but can't share that data due to the "critical need to use both public and private information" to collect it. Monitoring for spam is also a difficult task, said Agrawal, given that tons of accounts that are backed by real people "look fake superficially."
"Our estimate is based on multiple human reviews (in replicate) of thousands of accounts, that are sampled at random, consistently over time, from *accounts we count as mDAUs*," Agrawal tweeted. "We do this every quarter, and we have been doing this for many years."
To this, Musk responded with a very Musk tweet: a poop emoji (which of course, received thousands of retweets, replies and likes).
He then questioned Agrawal on how advertisers will know if they're getting the full benefit of placing ads on Twitter without that information.
"This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter," Musk tweeted.
Given that Musk thinks this issue is "fundamental," it's curious as to why he's tweeting at the CEO instead of doing due diligence behind the scenes, but then again, this is Elon Musk.
The public spat comes after Musk announced Friday that his bid for Twitter was "temporarily on hold" while the company provided details supporting the calculation of whether or not spam made up less than less than 5% of users, adding hours after his first tweet, that he was “still committed to [the] acquisition.” (That said, what does "on hold" really even mean, since the deal must be consummated by Oct. 24? Not much.)
Musk doubled down on his disbelief of the amount of bots on Twitter at the All-In Summit in Miami on Monday, estimating that fake users make up at least 20% of all Twitter accounts, Bloomberg reported.
Agrawal, notably, did not engage with Musk's tweets.