After speaking badly to Twitter last week and driving stock prices — and company value — down, Elon Musk said Monday that a lower purchase price for Twitter “is not out of the question.”
But he still didn’t seem very excited about buying the social media giant, even with a discounted price.
Musk reached a deal last month to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but has recently grumbled about the company, which has damaged its value.
He put the deal on hold last Friday after speculating that bots and spam could account for more than the company’s claim of less than 5% of the operation’s accounts.
The criticism, and Musk’s apparent hesitation about the deal, caused Twitter shares to drop as much as 25% that day — a handy situation for someone looking for a purchase deal.
The Tesla CEO mocked Twitter account figures in a remote interview at the All-Summit tech conference in Miami on Monday, joking that the number of bots is “in fact as unknowable as the human soul.”
He called it “unreasonable for Twitter to claim that … the number of real, unique people” [on the social media platform] is above 95%.” He grinned, “There’s a bridge I’d like to sell you.”
He estimated, based on his theory about the ratio of popular tweets to the number of users, that spam and bots make up at least 20% of Twitter accounts. But Musk also speculated that bots could make up “possibly 80% or 90%” of accounts, which is critical to know for ads, he noted.
In response to a question, he said a cut in the purchase price wouldn’t be “out of the question” in light of concerns about the bot, but he wasn’t thrilled about it either. “The more questions I ask, the more my concerns grow. Ultimately, it should be repairable.”
“It really depends on a lot of factors here,” he said. “I’m still waiting for some sort of logical explanation for the number of types of fake or spam accounts on Twitter. And Twitter refuses to tell us. This seems like a strange thing.”
He also accused Twitter of having an “extreme left-wing bias”.
(Check out his full comments below 🙂
Also Monday, Musk responded with a poop emoji when Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal explained in a detailed Twitter thread how the company detects fake users.
Twitter shares fell 8.2% at the end of trading Monday in New York, Bloomberg reported.
Twitter has declined to comment on Musk’s latest comments.
Bloomberg columnist Matt Levine last week expressed concerns about market manipulation and securities fraud in the Twitter purchase in light of Musk’s very public criticism of his massive social media platform of a company he wanted to buy.