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Elon Musk says his Twitter deal should proceed if it gives proof over its fake accounts claims

Elon Musk has said the Twitter deal should go ahead if it provides proof of real accounts.
Elon Musk has said the Twitter deal should go ahead if it provides proof of real accounts.   -   Copyright  AP Photo
By Euronews  with AP and Reuters

Elon Musk said on Saturday that his planned $44 billion (€42.9 billion) takeover of Twitter should move forward if the company can confirm some details about how it measures whether user accounts are "spam bots" or real people.

The billionaire and Tesla CEO has been trying to back out of his April agreement to buy the social media company, leading Twitter to begin proceedings last month to take him to court to complete the acquisition. 

Musk countersued, accusing Twitter of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other problems he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.

"If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms," Musk tweeted early on Saturday.

"However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not".

In response to a Twitter user asking whether the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was probing "dubious claims" by the company, Musk tweeted: "Good question, why aren't they?"

Musk also challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a "public debate" about the number of fake accounts on the social media platform.

"Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5 per cent fake or spam daily users!" Musk tweeted.

The billionaire then polled his Twitter followers on whether they thought less than 5 per cent of Twitter daily users were "fake/spam". 

The poll, which garnered more than 822,000 votes, ended with 64.9 per cent of respondents voting for the "Lmaooo no" option, while 35.1 per cent voted yes.

Twitter declined to comment on Saturday. 

The company has repeatedly disclosed to the SEC an estimate that fewer than 5 per cent of user accounts are fake or spam, with a disclaimer that it could be higher. 

Musk waived his right to further due diligence when he signed the April merger agreement.

Twitter on Thursday dismissed Musk's claim that he was hoodwinked into signing the deal to buy the social media company, saying that it was "implausible and contrary to fact".

"According to Musk, he - the billionaire founder of multiple companies, advised by Wall Street bankers and lawyers - was hoodwinked by Twitter into signing a $44 billion [€42.9 billion] merger agreement. That story is as implausible and contrary to fact as it sounds," the filing released by Twitter on Thursday said.

Twitter's filing is the latest salvo in what is building up to be an increasingly acrimonious legal showdown between the world's richest person and the social media giant. Both sides are headed toward an October trial in a Delaware court.