Elon Musk publicly challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a debate over the weekend over Twitter’s claims that less than 5% of the accounts on the platform are spam accounts.
The challenge comes as Twitter and Musk engage in a legal battle over the company as Musk attempts to back out of his $44 billion purchase of the company. He alleges that the company withheld key information on how many accounts are spam accounts, which Musk’s team argues has created a “material adverse effect.”
Musk’s team conducted an analysis of the accounts on Twitter using a publicly available tool called “Botometer,” which was created by researchers at the University of Indiana.
Musk’s team alleges that spam accounts make up approximately one-third of the accounts on the platform and comprise roughly 10% of the platform’s monetizable daily active users (mDAU).
Musk issued the debate challenge in response to a Twitter thread from cybersecurity researcher Andrea Stroppa.
“Clearly, from Twitter SEC filings, mDAU is the key metric. It is the key metric for its business rev. And its market value; mDAU is an ad hoc metric, created to protect Twitter’s interests. No competitor uses something similar,” Stroppa tweeted. “When @elonmusk requested more information about spam and fake accounts, Twitter provided a vague response. Then provided outdated data; Then offered a fake data set (not real “firehose”); Then provided a cleaned data set where they already suspended the malicious accounts.”
“Furthermore, Twitter, refused to say to @elonmusk and his team, who reviews for spam, how those reviewers are trained, the criteria it uses, the process it follows, the standards it applies, or how Twitter verifies the accuracy of the reviewers’ results,” Stroppa added. “Why does a multi-billion company invest little in these analyses? Why most of the things related to this topic are vague and incomplete? Why is that hard to provide data, criteria, and methods to the public? Many of you hated FB for little transparency, but Twitter is worse.”
“Good summary of the problem,” Musk tweeted. “If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”
“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage,” Musk added. “Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!”