- Elon Musk announced his desire to buy out Twitter for $44 billion in April this year.
- The takeover was put on a temporary halt owing to Musk’s concern over incorrect data regarding bot accounts and was finally suspended in July.
- Before Twitter vs Musk trial in court in Delaware on October 17th, his attorneys sent a letter to the firm bringing the deal back on.
In a final turn to the Musk vs Twitter drama yesterday, it seems that the infamous deal is back on. Musk had initially backed out of the deal in July this year.
The sequelae of events
On April 14th, historically, Elon Musk moved to acquire one of the world’s leading microblogging social media platforms, Twitter.
Musk, who offered approximately 54.20 US dollars for a share, managed to buy out the company for USD 44 billion as the firm accepted the deal on April 25th which is more or less equal to his initial offer.
Initially, Musk announced his purchase of 9.1 percent of Twitter stocks in early April. This small and trivial appearing percentage ended up having a dual effect, it made Mr Musk the largest shareholder of the enterprise and sent stock prices for the company to soaring new heights.
The company immediately offered the man a seat on the board of directors and he said yes. But, maybe when the associated clause restricting him to attain a maximum of 15 per cent of the stock being a board member came to light, Musk declined.
This move was immediately followed by Musk updating his filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC). Hence it was clear that he wouldn’t be restricted to being a passive player in Twitter’s future and was indeed here to attempt something even more impactful.
Musk exclaimed his desire to radically change the social media platform’s narrative on Twitter itself as he described the app as a “de facto town square”. A move which was also applauded by Twitter ex-CEO Jack Dorsey.
Musk claimed that Twitter must go private as an enterprise and must include additional features such as an edit feature and most importantly, an open-source algorithm that allows for less moderation while also opening the scope for removing potentially offensive content and an overall reduction in fake bot accounts.
That’s where the trouble in paradise began.
The bot bargain
Bots are essentially a short form of the term “Robots”. In the essence of Twitter, these bots are used to refer to the automated accounts created by third-party vendors which use the public API of the social media platform.
In a press conference in Miami, Musk stated that he does not believe these “official” figures provided by Twitter CEO and is confident of the fact that Twitter Bots are significantly much larger in number and operation.
He even claimed that Twitter uses a complex methodology to calculate bot accounts which may not be completely accurate either and hence data appears distorted. He exclaimed he wishes to crack down on bots involved in cryptocurrency scams.
Musk believed that these bots are real threats to the peace in society since their number is vast and the false information spread by them is henceforth amplified. One can only imagine the negative effect it will have on society as a whole.
Thus the Twitter deal was halted until Musk received satisfactory clarification on the bot issue.
The irrational solution and the final crack
Musk came up with the “perfect plan” to figure out the “actual” number of fake accounts despite Twitter’s official report. And that was to count them individually!
To put things into perspective, Twitter has about 290.5 million accounts. If the statistics given are to be believed, even the stipulated 5 percent of that number is about 14.5 million suspected bot accounts.
The method for said evaluation is formulated to be done via taking random samples of a hundred accounts each by dedicated teams who will then progress to sieve out the bots and disable their access.
However, physically counting so many accounts to single them out isn’t possible and the possibility of these numbers not being the actual ones makes this task a near-impossible one. Thus his plan faced massive backlash from the community including Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, who pointed out that the billionaire’s approach isn’t feasible at all.
After a long time of netizens wondering if the bot bargain would be the final nail in the coffin to drive Musk away from the Twitter deal which was then in the stage of a “temporary halt”, the worst did come true.
Backing out of the Twitter deal
On 8th July, Musk notified the SEC that he had terminated his painfully drawn-out effort to buy Twitter reportedly claiming “material breach of multiple provisions of the Agreement” as the cause.
It has been previously established that Musk can be charged a $1 billion fee to the SEC for pulling out of the deal, according to the terms of his purchase. However, no comment was heard back in this regard.
Twitter in turn sued Musk for his impulsive decision and in an official brief promised that it intended to fight in court till he paid them what was due. Meanwhile, the two sides faced off in lengthy court filings, private messages and bitter public spats on Twitter. In one such exchange, Mr. Musk responded to Twitter boss Parag Agrawal with an emoji for faecal matter.
Coming back home
The trial, which was scheduled to go to trial on 17 October, didn’t see the light of day as in a letter, attorneys for Mr Musk said he intended to move ahead to complete the transaction, pending receipt of the financing and an end of the legal fight.
The apparent win for Twitter sent its shares soaring more than 20% to more than $52 apiece. Later on Tuesday, Mr. Musk wrote in a tweet: “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app”.
However, there are tech enthusiasts who are still in doubt about the future of Twitter and whether Musk’s impulsive style will let the deal succeed.