Elon Musk pulls out of Twitter deal in 'bot and spam account' dispute

The Tesla CEO alleged Twitter had not been accurate in their estimation of the number of active 'bot accounts' on their platform.

Elon Musk pulls out of $44bn deal to buy Twitter in row over number of ‘bot and spam accounts’ iStock

Elon Musk has accused Twitter of “breaching multiple agreements” after abandoning his $44bn bid to buy the social media platform.

The Tesla CEO announced plans to purchase the company in April, but a dispute over “spam” accounts threatened to derail the deal.

In a court filing, Musk, 44, said the firm had “not provided its process for auditing the inclusion of spam and fake accounts,” despite his requests.

Twitter said it may now pursue legal action to make him fulfil the takeover agreement – which includes a $1bn “break fee”.

“Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr Musk incomplete or unusable information,” lawyers for the SpaceX founder wrote on Friday.

“Mr Musk is terminating the merger agreement because Twitter is in material breach of multiple provisions of that agreement, appears to have made false and misleading representations upon which Mr Musk relied when entering into the merger agreement, and is likely to suffer a Company Material Adverse Effect.”

Twitter has previously argued that only 5% of its 200 million users are so-called “bot” accounts designed to manipulate information on the platform.

However Musk, who had promised to relax content restrictions and rid the social network of fraudulent users, said he believes the figure is actually closer to 20%.

He demanded proof of Twitter’s metric before the sale could proceed as planned in April but has alleged that information has not been forthcoming.

The latest developments could lead to a protracted legal fight over ownership of the firm.

Twitter president Bret Taylor wrote: “The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement.

“We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.”

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