Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to ‘public debate’ over bots

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Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to 'public debate' over bots

Elon Musk on Saturday challenged the CEO of Twitter to a “public debate” over how the social media company counts fake accounts and spam bots.

Musk laid down the gauntlet in a series of tweets responding to comments about his countersuit against San Francisco-based Twitter over his attempt to withdraw from the $44 billion deal to buy the company.

“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” wrote Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. “However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage,” continued Musk, using the Twitter handle of the company’s CEO Parag Agrawal. “Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!”

Musk, 51, reached an agreement in June to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share, a hefty premium on the stock’s price of about $38 at the time. In July, he said he was walking away from the deal because Twitter had failed or refused to provide information on fake or spam accounts on the platform.

Twitter sued days later, demanding that the courts force the deal to go through. It then won the first battle in court, gaining an expedited trial date for October after the world’s richest man tried to push the case back to next year.

Musk filed a countersuit in late July, the details of which were revealed Thursday. In the suit, he claimed Twitter held back necessary information and misled his team about its true number of users.

Parag Agrawal
Parag Agrawal has not yet responded to Musk’s Twitter challenge.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Twitter has called the accusations “implausible and contrary to fact” in its response.

Agrawal has not posted a reply to Musk’s challenge.

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