One of Elon Musk’s conditions that had to be met by Twitter’s Boards of Directors was that the social media platform reveals the number of bot accounts. As it seems, the Board is going to comply with this Musk’s demand since he threatened to cancel his $44 billion purchase of Twitter.
“The information could be provided as soon as this week,” The Washington Post reported. “Currently, some two dozen companies pay for access to the trove, which comprises not only a real-time record of tweets but the devices they tweet from, as well as information about the accounts that tweet.”
Musk’s attorney had sent a letter to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head and general counsel of policy, legal, and trust, claiming that the company was “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” despite the fact that Twitter obliged to reveal such information in the contract.
“This 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,” the letter said.
The number of false, so-called bot accounts on Twitter could inflate the company’s ad revenue, prompting Musk to revise his offer price for the company, per report.
Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, stated that his office has launched an inquiry into Twitter “for potentially false reporting over its fake bot accounts.”
In a press statement, Paxton stated that the investigation is focused on determining if Twitter has broken the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Namely, in recent weeks, Twitter has been under criticism for declaring in its financial reports that bots make up less than 5% of all users, whereas they could make up as much as 20% or more. The discrepancy might have a significant impact on the cost of Twitter transactions for Texas consumers and businesses.
Bots are accounts that were not created by real persons, but these accounts are capable of doing nearly everything a human one can – post tweets, like and retweet others’ posts, and even follow other users.
These accounts are often the ones to blame for the annoying activities that take place on Twitter and other similar social media platforms. Bot accounts can hurt Texas businesses and consumers by not only lowering the quality of users’ experiences on the platform but also by inflating the company’s worth and the price of doing business with it.
“Texans rely on Twitter’s public statements that nearly all its users are real people. It matters not only for regular Twitter users but also Texas businesses and advertisers who use Twitter for their livelihoods,” Paxton said. “If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans.”
Attorney General Paxton filed a Civil Investigative Demand to investigate whether Twitter’s reporting on real vs. phony users is false or not, and Twitter has until June 27 to answer this demand.