Elon Musk responds with poo emoji after Twitter boss hits back over fake account issues | Economic news


Twitter’s chief executive has hit back after Elon Musk put his deal to buy the platform “on hold” over concerns over fake user accounts.

Parag Agrawal said he “trusts” the company’s estimates that less than 5% of users are spammers.

He said the company suspended more than half a million spam accounts every day and millions of suspicious spam accounts were locked every week if they couldn’t pass human verification challenges.

He said Twitter uses public and private data, such as IP address and geolocation, to verify accounts, with random samples reviewed every few months.

“We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him and all of you,” he added in a series of Twitter posts.

Musk tweeted on Friday that he had temporarily suspended its $44 billion Twitter takeover until he receives more supporting “details” [the] calculation that spam/fake accounts actually represent less than 5% of users”.

Tesla’s chief executive later added, “Still committed to acquisition.”

His comments sparked speculation he could try to renegotiate the deal price or backtrack.

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Musk had said his team would do its own analysis, expressing doubts about the accuracy of the numbers Twitter reported in its latest financial filings.

However, Mr Agrawal said it would not be possible for a third party to correctly estimate the figure as there is a “critical need to use both public and private information (which we cannot share)” .

“Externally it is not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAU [monetisable daily active users] any day,” he added.

Musk’s emoji response

Musk responded with a smelly poo emoji and said, “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money?

“It’s fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.”

He endorsed a comment from researcher Andrea Stroppa who said, “Parag, I’m surprised you said external researchers couldn’t estimate bots. That’s not true.

“As a researcher who worked about 9 years on these topics (I authored one of the first independent reports on Twitter bots), I can say it’s possible. BTW: open your data.”

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Twitter shares fell below $38, tumbling further after Mr Agrawal’s tweets.

They have lost all of their earnings since Musk revealed he bought a 9% stake in the company.

Musk sparked further concern among investors over the weekend by tweeting about problems with Twitter’s algorithm and other “potential bugs in the code”.

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