I have been following the news that Elon Musk had been considering hostile takeovers of Twitter since it was first reported. I don’t know if I want to see Twitter’s censorship-crazed Twitter get screwed so badly or to see Musk win again, never stopped by any doubters. It’s clear that I have decided this is a toss up.
Musk’s advisors on Friday sent a letter to Twitter notifying the company that Musk was terminating their $44 billion “merger agreement,” citing insufficient data on “fake or spam accounts,” as reported by RedState. Twitter promptly returned fire, as reported by CNBC, threatening to sue Musk if he follows through and formally attempts to end the acquisition deal. Musk has had a problem with the “fake spam accounts” issue since May. Musk claims Twitter does not provide him with correct data.
So are ‘fake spam accounts’? Bob Hoge (my colleague) reported that the bots issue goes beyond nitpicking and ado.
In late April, Twitter estimated that fake accounts and spam “accounted for less than 5 percent of its daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2021.” However, with a user base of at least 330 million, that’s still an awful lot of non-human accounts (16.5 million for the math-challenged). Musk believes the figure is much higher and Twitter denies it.
The Washington Post in a May article titled Why Spam Bots Are Top of Elon Musk’s Twitter Hit List, described “bots” thusly:
Bots on Twitter are artificial accounts that do similar things to human users: they can send tweets and follow others, like and retweet posts by other people, and even make them reply to their own. Spam bots can use this information to engage in misleading, dangerous, or annoying activities. Spam bots may tweet continuously in order to generate traffic for their product or service website. These bots can also be used to promote misinformation or political messages.
Bots on Twitter are allowed, WaPo noted, however, according to the company’s policies, these accounts are meant to indicate they are automated. Yeah, I’m gonna call BS. Given my lack of IT expertise and the professional reputations Elon Musk’s and Twitter’s respective professionals, I am going to go with Elon on this.
Let’s return to the honest question that I think is fair. Twitter sued Musk because he walked away from hostile takeovers that Big Tech tried to prevent.
Either way, Fox News host and OutKick founder Clay Travis believes Musk has Twitter right where he has wanted it from the beginning: between an “unbelievably crippling” rock and a hard place.
During a Friday appearance with Fox News host Jesse Watters, Travis laid it all out, as reported by the Right Scoop. Travis said that Musk is a huge resource. Travis said that Twitter has huge resources, enough to allow them to access data in one direction or another. This could, Travis stated, be “crippling.” Right Scoop:
The practical effect of this, even if it does not end up happening is that Jesse Musk could be very destructive to Twitter’s brand and business. He has the data analysts and engineers to look at what you can call the “firehose” of data. This allows him to see if any of these accounts are genuine, fake or spam.
What’s the difference between the “rock” and the “hard spot?” Travis said
I think that Elon Musk publishing any data he has uncovered in the course of his investigation could prove to be a huge problem for Twitter’s overall success. Remember, only 20% of Americans – even based on Twitter’s own numbers – are on Twitter. And only one in every 50 people ever bothers to actually send a tweet. This is roughly 2% of American citizens. This is not the majority of Americans.
Translation. Twitter’s advertising revenue will plummet faster than Joe Bidens approval ratings post-Musk if Elon decides to publish the real reach of his social media company.
So once again, would I rather see the Musk-Twitter deal saved, and Musk take the company private, as planned, or would I rather see Musk destroy the left-wing, conservative-censoring social media self-proclaimed “giant”?
Damn. This is something I will have to consider for quite some time.