Elon Musk asks SEC to investigate number of fake ‘bot’ accounts on Twitter

Elon Musk has asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate his assertion that as much as one-fifth of Twitter accounts might be spam bots.

According to Fox News, the billionaire tech mogul was told that the social media company was made up of less than 5% spam accounts, which is what Twitter submitted in its official SEC filings.

Musk, however, believes the number is closer to 20%, and he recently created a call to action in the form of a poll where he asked his 97 million Twitter followers whether they believe that 95% of the Twitterverse was authentic.

At the time of Fox’s reporting, both the SEC and Twitter declined to comment on the issue, leaving the public to form its own opinions about why Musk might have come to his conclusions.

Musk made headlines weeks ago when he made a move on purchasing stock in the company, eventually turning down an offer to sit on Twitter’s board while offering to buy the company for $44 billion and take it private at $54.20 per share.

That deal is temporarily on hold as the issue of authentic user accounts is investigated, and Musk said just days during the All In Tech Conference in Miami that he believes the figure could be “much higher” even than his 20% estimation.

“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” he added. “Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

In a lengthy Twitter thread on Monday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said it would be difficult to conduct an external review to determine the percentage of spam and fake accounts on the platform.

“Unfortunately, we don’t believe that this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share),” Agrawal explained. “Externally, it’s not even possible to know which accounts are counted as mDAUs on any given day.”

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