The Republican attorney general of Texas is opening an investigation into Twitter bots, a sticking point in Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s ongoing acquisition of the social media company.
Republican AG Ken Paxton (R) said he has a duty to protect Texan business owners who use Twitter from deceptive trade practices, The Daily Wire reported.
Texas investigates Twitter bots
Musk has complained that Twitter isn’t being transparent about the actual number of bots on its website, and he has signaled he may back out of his $44 billion deal to buy the company over the issue.
In a statement, Paxton echoed Musk’s claim that bots may account for over 20 percent of Twitter’s users. Twitter claims that less than 5 percent of users are fake.
Bots are not only annoying, but they may “also inflate the value of the company and the costs of doing business with it, thus directly harming Texas consumers and businesses,” Paxton said.
Paxton said he will investigate whether Twitter is violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act with “false reporting” on the number of bots on its website. Twitter’s assurances that nearly all users are human “matters not only for regular Twitter users, but also Texas businesses and advertisers who use Twitter for their livelihoods,” Paxton said.
“If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans.”
Is Musk backing out?
The news came the same day that Musk accused Twitter of violating its contract by “actively resisting and thwarting” his attempts to get some clarity on the bot issue.
“This is a clear material breach of Twitter’s obligations under the merger agreement and Mr. Musk reserves all rights resulting therefrom, including his right not to consummate the transaction and his right to terminate the merger agreement,” his lawyer said.
The left has been frothing at the mouth over Musk’s plans for a more authentic Twitter free of censorship, which would threaten the Democratic party’s monopoly on information and potentially pave a road for Donald Trump to return to power.
Trump has said he has no interest in coming back to Twitter, but Musk says Trump’s ban over the Capitol “insurrection” was wrong and should be reversed.
A recent audit found that nearly 50% of Joe Biden’s Twitter followers are fake.