Elon Musk says Twitter told him he violated NDA with bot disclosure

Elon Musk says Twitter’s legal team told him he violated NDA by revealing social media giant’s sample size during bot review was 100 – as he maintains commitment to $44 billion takeover

  • The South African mogul says Twitter isn’t happy about his recent disclosure
  • He revealed that the tech company used a sample size of 100 accounts to determine that five percent of them are fake, spam or bot profiles
  • Lawyers for the company then warned him that he was violating their contract
  • On Friday, Musk said his $44 billion buyout offer was ‘temporarily on hold’
  • The Tesla founder has vowed to rid the platform of junk accounts 

Elon Musk says Twitter’s legal team called him out after he revealed the company’s process for checking fake accounts.

On Friday, the Tesla founder said the company used a sample size of 100 to determine that five percent of its accounts are either fake, spam or duplicates.

The social media giant did not take the disclosure well, Musk said.  

‘Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100! This actually happened,’ he tweeted on Saturday.

Musk has made eliminating bot accounts, which promote a particular product or point of view incessantly using similar messages across various profiles, a cornerstone of his pending $44 billion takeover.

The South African-born mogul threw a wrench into the acquisition on Friday, when he said he wanted to pause the deal to verify that fake or spam accounts represented fewer than five percent of the company’s 229 million users during the first quarter.

Banned Twitter user Donald Trump, meanwhile, speculated that the deal won’t go through because of Musk’s concern about the bots at a rally in Texas – Musk’s home state – on Saturday.

Elon Musk says he got a call from Twitter’s lawyers warning him that he was violating a non-disclosure agreement after he revealed their process for checking fake accounts

The revelation was part of a thread in which the SpaceX founder said his $44 billion takeover was ‘temporarily on hold’ as he works to assess just how many fake accounts Twitter has

Twitter shares are down 1.68 percent from last month, continuing a downward trend since Musk’s takeover bid was accepted by Twitter’s board on April 25

Musk seems to be worried that the company he agreed to buy for $44 billion may, in fact, be littered with fake or automated accounts.

‘Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,’ he tweeted on Friday.

He then sent out instructions urging his followers to conduct their own bot checks.

‘Any sensible random sampling process is fine. If many people independently get similar results for % of fake/spam/duplicate accounts, that will be telling,’ he wrote.

‘I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.’

Backpedaling a few hours later, Musk tweeted that he was ‘still committed’ to the acquisition 

On Saturday, the tweet-happy mogul said the company was upset that he revealed their process for checking fake accounts.

Musk’s surprise tweets early Friday sent Twitter stock plunging in the pre-market, as analysts speculated that Musk is trying to negotiate a lower price for the deal or pull out completely. 

Twitter shares are down 1.68 percent from last month, continuing a downward trend since Musk’s takeover bid was accepted by Twitter’s board on April 25. 

Musk seems to be worried that the company he agreed to buy for $44 billion may, in fact, be littered with fake or automated accounts

If he walked away from the deal, the entrepreneur – worth a reported $232.5 billion – would likely be on the hook for a $1 billion termination fee.

Though Twitter’s board agreed to the purchase last month, it still has not been approved by shareholders, and was not expected to close for at least several months. The legal and practical implications of Musk’s tweets were unclear.   

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has predicted that Musk will not buy Twitter and urged people to flock to his own social media platform Truth Social.

Trump told a rally in Texas on Saturday: ‘I don’t believe he is going to buy Twitter. Because you have so many fake accounts with the bots… all of the different things I think it is going to be very interesting.

‘And he’s got some problems ’cause he bought some stock that he shouldn’t have bought, he’s got a a lot of problems with Twitter. But Twitter has a lot of problems.’

Trump predicted that Elon Musk would not buy Twitter at a rally in Austin, Texas on Saturday

Trump then promoted his own Twitter-imitating social media platform, Truth Social. 

‘So go to Truth Social. I think you’re going to find that Truth is great. We tell the truth!’ he exclaimed. 

‘I think it’s great we got that name,’ Trump continued, referencing Musk’s belief that it’s a ‘terrible name.’

‘We’re driving the radical left crazy. We have something called truth. We don’t say we’re put out a tweet, we say, we put out a truth. They go totally crazy. So go, sign up.’

Trump launched Truth Social in 2021 after he was permanently banned from Twitter on January 8, days after his supporters stormed the Capitol and forced senators into secure rooms as they certified the election results in favor of Biden. 

On Thursday, Musk tweeted that he felt that ban should be lifted.  

‘Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,’ Musk tweeted on Thursday.  

Trump said in April that even if his ban is lifted, he will not return to Twitter, citing how he was treated in the past

Former President Donald Trump was among many who speculated that Musk put the buyout on hold in the hopes of negotiating a better deal

Musk said Jack Dorsey, who was CEO of Twitter until November 2021, agreed with him.

‘I do agree,’ Dorsey tweeted, pointing out that he supported bans for sharing content such as child sexual exploitation (CSE), but not generally. 

‘There are exceptions (CSE, illegal behaviour, spam or network manipulation, etc), but generally permanent bans are a failure of ours and don’t work, which I wrote about here after the event (and called for a resilient social media protocol).’

Last month, Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernen that he would not be returning to Twitter even if Musk allowed him to. 

‘No, I won’t be going back on Twitter,’ Trump told Kernen.

‘I will be on Truth Social within the week. It’s on schedule. We have a lot of people signed up. I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual. We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated by Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter,’ Trump said.

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