Elon Musk Says Deal To Buy Twitter Is Temporarily ‘On Hold’, Surprising No One

Elon Musk Says Deal To Buy Twitter Is Temporarily ‘On Hold’, Surprising No One
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is having second thoughts about buying Twitter. (Photo: Patrick Pleul/Pool/AFP, Getty Images)

After bullying Twitter employees, building a shithouse Elden Ring character, and saying he wants the former president of the swamp, and the U.S., Donald Trump back on the platform, Tesla CEO Elon Musk did what everyone thought he might do anyway. He thought long and hard about what it meant to really buy Twitter, and is apparently having second thoughts.

Early on Friday, Musk tweeted that his $US44 ($61) billion deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold” because he was waiting for confirmation that the amount of spam and fake accounts on the platform did indeed represent less than 5% of users.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted.

He included a link to a May 2 Reuters article that reported on Twitter’s estimated fake and spam accounts in the first quarter of the year, which it reported to be 5% of its monetizable daily active users. According to Reuters, the blue bird social media network had a total of 229 million users who were served ads in the first quarter.

While taking a moment to investigate whether the platform you’re buying indeed has enough users to make it worth your while is no doubt sensible, it seems a bit off that Musk is bringing this up now, or more than two weeks after he announced his intention to buy the company. Plus, it’s not as if Twitter were hiding this information. It reported the numbers in filings on May 2.

Furthermore, it’s not as if Musk wasn’t aware of the spam accounts on the platform. He has frequently rallied against them and made “defeating the spam bots” one of his priorities in the very press release announcing his deal on April 25.

Considering cryptocurrency’s recent nosedive — Musk is a big crypto fan and owns crypto, though how much isn’t publicly known — and Tesla losing 20% of its value since its CEO announced that he was going to buy his favourite digital toy, Musk’s pause is not surprising from a financial standpoint. It is ironic from his personal standpoint though, since he’s said he “doesn’t care about the economics at all” when it comes to buying Twitter.

This story is developing.


Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.

Comments

  • I like Musk – well, the public persona that we see, rather.

    Is buying Twitter really a great move? It could really be troublesome for Musk in the long term.

    When shit hits the fan, and Twitter is in the frame, it’s he who’ll bear the brunt of blame.

  • The fact musk wants to buy Twitter and make it more open has you all so deathly terrified is very telling.

    • “The fact that storing the oily rags next to the dynamite has you all so deathly terrified is very telling”

      When you’ve seen the tragic effects of “free speech absolutism” on social media – as everybody should have before thinking to comment on it – it takes minimal imagination to see what a horror it would most likely be.

      • You are the exact kind of person I’m talking about lol

        Why are you so deathly terrified of open conversation. It’s almost as if you want groupthink that only agrees with you

      • Except it isn’t ‘free speech absolutism’, even Musk himself said as much.

        You sure you dont work for a media outlet? Perhaps one of the ones going on talking about how this would allow EVERYTHING on the platform despite Musk explicitly saying it would only allow everything allowed under law, which absolutely does NOT include all the heinous shit some of those media outlets were listing off. And that if people want other things banned they should have their respective groups lobby to get it put into law.

        The ‘problem’ is that an awful lot of the utter nonsense certain Twitter mobs want banned would get them laughed out of a room in the real world, and they know it. Because claims of “Oh this person said something I find offensive.” leads most people in reality to respond with, “So? Ignore the idiots and get on with your life like the rest of us do every day.”

        So the best they have is the current system where they slam people with false reporting, false claims of harassment, etc, and a biased moderation system caves.

    • What is it telling?

      Sure, some left-wing nutters might cry foul when the algorithm serves them content they don’t like, or provides more of a platform for opposing views.

      Musk has a seemingly noble and progressive agenda with the platform – however, will that good intent deliver socially positive outcomes, or result in a more hatred-driven notice board, like many other online communities.

      Free speech is wonderful. Providing a more open platform for idiots, may not be.

      • Given how wide the birth is for what’s classed as “hate speech” these days I think speech should be more open, not closed off because someone might find something offensive.

        Pro tip, if you find what someone says is offensive you don’t have to read or listen to them. Wonderful idea huh?

        • Isn’t it funny though how that exact same position apparently no longer applies when it comes to US-origin content hosted on this website.

    • It sure isn’t terrifying to me, but I do think it’s worth distinguishing the posts themselves from the algorithm that promotes those posts to wider audiences. Specifically, that polarizing, controversial material is inevitably circulated into mass distribution while sane, fact-based content is not.

      Banning extreme content is nothing more than a workaround to create the appearance of doing something while the underlying algorithms are allowed to remain untouched and in place.

      And don’t be all cute getting yourself all worked up into a lather about censorship of Trump and anti-vax content. Conservatives wrote the book on cancel culture when it comes to taking a knee; burning a flag; refusing to swear on the Bible or sing the national anthem; criticizing Israel, the military or the police; promoting tolerance of gays and transsexuals; ‘politics’ in games; university Liberal Arts faculties; unions; or just for being tangentially associated with a friend of a friend who might or might not have been a member of the Communist Party when they were studying at university.

    • I’d say it’s more the fact that nobody is buying that though, given his career and history at least.

    • Making the algorithm public and wanting to make Twitter into the digital town square by only banning what is against the law can only be a good thing. The way Twitter does things now is behind a cloak, enforcing their (possibly purposely) vague guidelines arbitrarily.

  • The dog pawed at the steering wheel and whined in frustration, wondering why it had been so eager to catch this thing in the first place. It just wanted to go home.

  • Musk is an unwitting ChiCom asset who will be forced to censor the platform lest he risk the status of Tesla’s interests in China. A “gigafactory” isn’t something that can easily be relocated, let alone rapidly training new skilled labour.

    Much like AmeriKKKan darling Apple, who astutely stays within the guidelines to protect their cultivated relationship with the CCP – no AmeriKKKan company sees massive success in China or any other party-dominated nation without working with the government t0 some degree.

  • Or it could have something to do with the fact that he has to repay those huge bank loans he’s using to buy Twitter with if the Tesla stock drops 40% which it has

    • Or more of the fact he keeps breaching the NDA he signed with Twitter while the deal is pending. For his part Elon Musk hasn’t been keeping Twitters own shareholders (he plans to buy the company from) very happy with his public remarks and behaviour.

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