Elon Musk has temporarily suspended his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter Inc, citing pending details that support an estimate that spam and fake accounts make up less than 5% of users.
Shares of the social media company fell 17.7% to $37.10 in premarket trading, their lowest level since Musk revealed his stake in the company in early April. He subsequently made a “best and final” offer to take it for $54.20 per share.
The implied probability that the deal will close at the agreed price fell below 50% for the first time on Tuesday, when Twitter shares fell below $46.75.
To this is added that Twitter had estimated earlier this month that the fake or spam accounts accounted for less than 5% of their monetizable daily active users during the first quarter, when it registered 229 million users who were served advertising. A figure that does not seem to fit the tycoon.
“The Twitter deal is temporarily on hold. awaiting details to support calculation that spam/fake accounts represent less than 5% of usersMusk himself tweeted.
Musk, the richest man in the world and self-proclaimed faithful defender of freedom of expressionhad said that one of his priorities would be to remove “spam bots” from the platform.
Twitter has not yet commented on this announcement, nor has more information been provided apart from Musk’s brief tweet, from the billionaire’s representatives or from his company Tesla Inc.
Twitter was aware, and had said so publicly, that it faced several risks until the deal with Musk was closed, including whether advertisers would continue to spend on Twitter amid “potential uncertainty regarding future plans and strategy”.
And it is that Musk has been very critical of Twitter’s moderation policy. He has said that he wants the Twitter algorithm to prioritize tweets to be public and is against the service having too much power for corporations that advertise.
Earlier this week, he said that would reverse Twitter’s ban against former US President Donald Trumpwhen you purchase the social media platform, indicating your intent to remove moderation from the site.