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Twitter stock plunges as Elon Musk throws takeover bid into doubt

By Giles Turner
Elon Musk is the world's richest man and had offered to buy Twitter for $44bn

Elon Musk sewed new chaos into the market over his takeover bid for Twitter yesterday, first claiming his offer was “temporarily on hold” and then maintaining he is “still committed” to the deal, sending the social media giant into a tailspin.

The billionaire initially sent an early tweet saying the $44bn (€43bn) deal is pending until he receives more information about the proportion of fake accounts on the social media site, which sent Twitter stock tumbling as much as 25pc in premarket trading. A few hours later he sent another tweet saying he is “still committed” to the deal. Twitter’s shares recouped some of their losses and were down 11pc.

Musk said he was waiting for details on a recent filing from Twitter that fake accounts on the social media platform contributed less than 5pc of its users. Twitter said in its latest quarterly results “that the average of false or spam accounts during the first quarter of 2022 represented fewer than 5pc of our monthly daily active users during the quarter.” However, this data-point has been part of Twitter’s quarterly filings for almost a decade. Twitter said it applied “significant judgment” to its latest estimate, and the true number could be higher.

Fighting fake accounts has been a cornerstone of Musk’s bid to reform Twitter. In a statement announcing his deal to buy the company last month, he revealed he wanted to defeat spam bots, authenticate all humans, and make its algorithms open source. Musk has also said he’d like to make the platform a bastion of free speech, taking the guardrails off of content moderation.

Bots are currently allowed on Twitter, though under the company’s policy such accounts are supposed to indicate that they’re automated. The platform has even launched a label for “good” bots, such as @tinycarebot, an account that tweets self-care reminders. Spam bots, however, are not permitted, and the company has policies meant to combat them.

Doubts have grown in recent days that Musk would be able to pull off his acquisition of Twitter, and that the entrepreneur may consider dropping his bidding price for the micro-blogging site


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Dive Deeper:
Twitter takeover temporarily on hold, says Elon Musk
Tesla owner says $44bn deal has been paused until he gets more information about fake accounts
Elon Musk puts Twitter takeover on hold - but insists he's 'still committed' to bid
The billionaire Tesla owner confirmed that his bid for social media platform has been put on a 'temporary hold'.
Elon Musk 'still committed' to Twitter takeover bid after putting it on hold. Key points
Elon Musk on Friday had said that his plan to buy Twitter for $44 billion is ‘temporarily on hold’. Hours…
Elon Musk says Twitter deal on hold, sending stock down 20%
Twitter estimated that false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users during the first…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Dow Jones Jumps As Stocks Strike Back; Twitter Plunges On Elon Musk Move; Warren Buffett Stock Offers Buy Point
The Dow Jones rallied as stocks fought back. Twitter plunged on a move by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. A Warren…
How one Elon Musk tweet showed Twitter's impact on the stock market
Musk’s tweet set off a ripple effect across a slew of companies.
Get all your news in one place