Twitter set to provide Elon Musk with raw daily tweet data amid his concern over fake accounts, reports say | Science & Tech News
Twitter plans to offer Elon Musk access to its “firehose” of raw data on hundreds of millions of daily tweets to push his proposed takeover forward, according to reports.
Mr Musk struck a legally-binding agreement to buy the tech giant for $44bn (£35bn) in April.
But the Tesla and SpaceX boss has threatened to pull out unless Twitter provides more information about how many fake accounts are on the social media platform.
The world’s richest man has argued, without showing evidence, that Twitter has significantly underestimated the number of “spam bots” – automated accounts that typically promote scams and misinformation – on its service.
Last month, he had said the acquisition was temporarily on hold as he wanted to confirm the company’s own figures that accounts not operated by real humans represented less than 5% of users.
He then expressed support for receiving a discount on his bid equal to the percentage of users who are spam bots.
Mr Musk, who claims to be spending less than 5% of his time on the takeover, contended in a May tweet – without providing evidence – that 20% or more of Twitter’s accounts are bogus.
He has criticised Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, for publicly refusing “to show proof” that less than 5% of accounts were “fake/spam” and wrote that he was “worried that Twitter has a disincentive to reduce spam, as it reduces perceived daily users”.
Read more: Musk says Twitter has to show spam accounts are less than 5% for takeover to go ahead
The Washington Post first reported Twitter’s plan to give Mr Musk full access to the firehose. Other reports suggested the billionaire may only receive partial access.
Twitter’s apparent offer could dent his attempts to use the spam bot issue to cast doubt on the deal’s future.
On Monday, his lawyers accused the company of refusing to surrender information about the true number of bot accounts.
Also, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton announced his office would investigate Twitter for allegedly failing to disclose the extent of its spam bot and fake accounts, adding it would look into “potential false reporting” of bots.
Fake social media accounts have been a problem for a number of years.
Advertisers rely on the number of users provided by social media platforms to determine where they will spend money.
Spam bots are also used to amplify messages and spread disinformation.