Twitter is preparing to comply with Elon Musk’s request for data on fake accounts, after the Tesla CEO threatened to walk away from buying the company if it refused.
The social media company will provide the world’s richest man with access to a data set of more than 500 million tweets posted daily, according to the Washington Post. A number of companies have already reported paying for access to data, which includes a real-time history of tweets, devices that users tweet through, and information about accounts that tweet.
The New York Times also reported that Twitter will allow Musk to view his “hose” of daily traffic, in response to legal threats that the deal would be in jeopardy otherwise.
Musk warned Twitter on Monday that it could walk away from its $44 billion deal to acquire the company if it fails to provide data on the fake and random accounts it is looking for. The billionaire has expressed skepticism about Twitter’s claim that fake accounts and spam account for less than 5% of its 229 million user base.
In a letter to Twitter’s chief legal officer published on Monday, lawyers representing Tesla’s CEO said he believed the company was “actively resisting and frustrating” his rights to access data and information from the company under the agreement.
They said the refusal to provide the information was a “material breach” of the deal agreement, which would allow Musk to walk away without paying the billion-dollar-breaking fee written into the deal.
Access to the data may not satisfy Musk because of the sheer volume of information he will have to change, said Carl Tobias, chair of law at Williams University of Richmond. Even if Musk were to secure access to ‘fire hose data’, browsing the data would be resource-intensive and potentially unsatisfactory for Musk. In short, it now appears that the standoff is continuing.
Twitter shares rose 0.8% in afternoon trading to $40.45 after the reports, compared to an agreed-upon deal price of $54.20 per share, indicating investor pessimism that the deal will go through even if data sharing could make it difficult for Musk to close. Deal. .
When contacted for comment, Twitter referred the Guardian to a statement on Monday in which the company said it would “continue to collaboratively share information with Mr Musk to complete the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement.”
Fake or spam accounts, known as bot accounts, are automated accounts and are not managed by human users. They may use the reply function or direct messages to send advertisements or scams to users, or represent attempts to influence public debate by tweeting for political propaganda. Musk wondered if advertisers – who provide the majority of Twitter’s income – were getting value for money because of the bot problem, even though Twitter has held steady at 5% in its quarterly earnings reports since 2014.
It was also reported on Wednesday that Twitter’s chief legal officer, Vijaya Jade, told employees that a shareholder vote on the deal could come by late July or early August as both sides work to complete the acquisition.