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Musk might seek to cut price for Twitter buy

Elon Musk said that he suspects they make up at least 20 percent of users – compared with Twitter's official estimates of 5 percent.
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Musk might seek to cut price for Twitter buy

This illustration photo taken May 13 displays Elon Musk's Twitter account with a Twitter logo in the background in Los Angeles.

Elon Musk suggested on Monday that he could seek a lower price for Twitter Inc, saying that there could be at least four times more fake accounts than what the company has said.

"You can't pay the same price for something that is much worse than they claimed," he said at a conference in Miami.

Musk, who on Friday said his US$44 billion deal to buy Twitter was on hold pending information on spam accounts, said that he suspects they make up at least 20 percent of users – compared with Twitter's official estimates of 5 percent.

When asked at the conference whether the Twitter deal is viable at a different price, Musk responded, "I mean, it's not out of the question."

"The more questions I ask, the more my concerns grow," he said at the All-In Summit 2022 conference.

"They claim that they've got this complex methodology that only they can understand ... It can't be some deep mystery that is, like, more complex than the human soul or something like that."

Twitter shares extended losses in late afternoon trading following Musk's comments.

The stock dropped more than 8 percent to close at US$37.39, lower than its level the day before Musk revealed his Twitter stake in early April, sowing doubts that the billionaire entrepreneur would proceed with his acquisition of the company at the agreed price.

Twitter Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal tweeted earlier on Monday that internal estimates of spam accounts on the social media platform for the last four quarters were "well under 5 percent," responding to days of criticism by Musk of the company's handling of phony accounts.

Twitter's estimate, which has stayed the same since 2013, could not be reproduced externally given the need to use both public and private information to determine whether an account is spam, he added.

Musk responded to Agrawal's defense of the company's methodology with a poop emoji.

"So how do advertisers know what they're getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter," Musk wrote.

Musk has pledged changes to Twitter's content moderation practices, railing against decisions like the company's ban of former President Donald Trump as overly aggressive while pledging to crack down on "spam bots" on the platform.

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