The reason for the delay? Musk claims he wants to confirm Twitter’s claim that spam and fake accounts make up less than five percent of the platform’s users.
Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of usershttps://t.co/Y2t0QMuuyn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2022
Musk has long been railing against the amount of spam on Twitter, and has vowed to wipe out fake accounts once he takes the reins. Twitter in a filing earlier this month claimed that less than five percent of its 229 million users are inauthentic.
The delay isn’t exactly shocking considering Musk’s history as a troll. He’s often floated ideas on Twitter without following through — perhaps most notably when he wrote he was going to take Tesla public at $420, leading to accusations of market manipulation. It’s hard to take anything he does seriously, and his tweet that he’s putting the deal on hold begs questions like why he didn’t do his due diligence about something he’s repeatedly cited as a concern before agreeing to buy the platform for $44 billion, and what other reasons he might have for putting the deal on hold.
He said upon the deal’s announcement last last month that he wanted to “defeat the spam bots, and authenticate all humans,” but more than anything Musk has promised to fix what he describes as a “free speech” problem on the platform. It’s unclear exactly what this will mean, but so far it seems like he wants to eliminate or at least relax restrictions against hateful content and misinformation.
Musk’s “free speech” talk has turned him into a hero among conspiracy theorists, bigots, and conservatives who feel they have been wronged by the platform. Donald Trump is all three of those things, and though he has claimed he has no interest in rejoining Twitter after having been banned in the wake of Jan. 6, Musk said earlier this week that he would allow the former president to do so if he wished. Musk made sure to include the caveat that the sale is not official yet, though. We learned why on Friday.