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Musk says Twitter gave little data to analyze number of bots

  • Elon Musk continues to press Twitter on user data to analyze it for bots or automated accounts.
  • He sent another letter to the company last week, Insider has learned, claiming that what had been shared so far was insufficient.
  • Twitter has been “going to great lengths” to meet Musk’s demands, one person said.
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Twitter has given Elon Musk more user data after he complained last week that the large historical database he had received was not enough to analyze the number of bots on the platform, Insider has discovered.

This new batch, according to two people familiar with the deal, includes real-time data. In turn, it likely represents the last hurdle for Musk as he seeks to find an overabundance of Twitter bots and potentially renegotiate his $44 billion acquisition.

Musk’s complaint was officially filed on Friday, when his lawyers sent Twitter’s board of directors a letter stating that the many terabytes of historical data the company sent him earlier in the week on daily active users was not adequate. or the full data “fix” he was hoping to receive, the sources said.

Musk was unhappy with the historical data because his team was unable to run its own tests for inauthentic accounts. Earlier this week, Twitter gave access to the new data — including real-time API information — to Musk’s team, which now believes it can conduct its own analysis, according to these people.

A Twitter spokesperson referred Insider to an earlier statement about the company’s dealings with Musk. “Twitter has shared and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement,” he read.

Musk’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Musk wants to show that Twitter has more bots than it says to renegotiate its purchase

Some people inside the company see the letters from the lawyers as Musk’s latest attempt to paint Twitter as noncompliant with his requests. The goal of this is to be able to claim breach of contract and force a renegotiation of the acquisition at a lower price, Insider previously reported.

Since Musk announced his intention to buy Twitter in April, he has said the prevalence of “bots” or automated accounts was a key issue on the platform. His screaming intensified as the deal dragged on.

In May, Musk claimed that the Twitter acquisition was “on hold” until the bot issue was resolved. Earlier this month, his lawyers publicly said that Twitter was breaching the deal by not providing Musk with the data to conduct his own analysis of Twitter bots.

Inside Twitter, Musk’s reaction is seen primarily as a response to external market headwinds. He had previously agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share before a broad pullback in the stock market, which has shares of the company currently below $39. Musk may also be setting the stage for pulling out of the deal altogether, something that would likely turn into a protracted legal battle.

Twitter’s board remains committed to the acquisition and will likely do its best to see the deal complete without a legal battle, people familiar with the deal previously told Insider. It is also seen within Twitter that Musk wants to acquire and run the company and said so in his first meeting with Twitter employees last week.

Twitter has been trying to meet all of Musk’s demands

The social media company has been “going to great lengths” to meet Musk’s ongoing demands, a person familiar with the matter said. This includes the latest data release.

What Musk has access to is effectively a “data stream” of tweets and activity on the platform that is also available to developers through Twitter’s developer platform.

This is considered enough for Musk to scan for bots, another person familiar with the matter said. Musk is also seen as wanting the data for more traditional purposes, such as drawing up a business plan for the company and devising specific ways to improve it, as he has said he intends to do.

Twitter’s board of directors formally recommended this week that its shareholders approve the acquisition of Musk. A special meeting of shareholders will be held to vote on it, likely in late July or early August, giving Musk several more weeks to publicly lobby Twitter about the deal and any findings he can glean from the data.

There is a recent precedent for renegotiating an agreed purchase price before the market downturn. Software company Anaplan has agreed to cut $400m from the original price of $10.7bn that private equity firm Thoma Bravo agreed to pay in March. The private equity firm “took advantage” of how much Anaplan planned to pay the new workers, saying the amount violated the terms of the merger agreement, the Financial Times reported.

During his first meeting with Twitter employees last week, first reported by Insider, Musk said the prevalence of bots is “probably my biggest concern” given their potential impact on users’ monetizable metrics. However, he admitted that those accounts are an area of ​​Twitter where he has “less understanding.”

NOW READ: Twitter shareholders to vote in August on sale deal with Elon Musk

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