Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has revealed that his office is launching an inquiry into Twitter’s bot reporting as it might violate the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
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The social media company claims that the bot accounts on its platform are less than 5%, but the AG’s office says this might be false as bots accounts could be as high as 20%.
Now, we know we aren’t perfect at catching spam. And so this is why, after all the spam removal I talked about above, we know some still slips through. We measure this internally. And every quarter, we have estimated that <5% of reported mDAU for the quarter are spam accounts.
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022
According to AG Paxton, he has to protect Texans from Twitter if it is “misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue.”
The social media site has until June 27 to produce documents on how it calculates and manages its user data and connects these numbers to Twitter’s advertising businesses.
In his words:
Texans rely on Twitter’s public statements that nearly all its users are real people. It matters not only for regular Twitter users but also Texas businesses and advertisers who use Twitter for their livelihoods.
Elon Musk and Twitter bots
Twitter, in recent times, has faced increased scrutiny over the number of bots accounts on its platform. Its refusal to provide information on this issue has led to a standstill in Elon Musk’s attempt to purchase the firm.
According to a securities filing released on June 6, Musk’s lawyers wrote that the social media giant was “actively resisting and thwarting (Musk’s) information rights” — an action that can be described as a “material breach.”
The billionaire also threatened to walk away from the deal if the firm refused to provide the requested data.
Meanwhile, data from SparkToro suggests that 70% of Elon Musk’s followers on Twitter may be bots.
Twitter shares tank
Since Elon Musk revealed his intention to buy Twitter at $54.20 per share, the shares of most tech companies have tanked. For context, Twitter shares fell by 5% in the early trading hours of June 6.
This shows that if Musk goes ahead with the deal at the current share prices, he would be overpaying for the company.
There is little to no wiggle room for him to walk away from the deal as the offer has been accepted by the Twitter board, meaning it is legally binding.
However, if he insists on ending the deal, Musk might still have to pay a $1 billion termination fee.
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