Elon Musk’s legal team on Friday released its official response to a Twitter lawsuit seeking to force him to complete a $44 billion acquisition deal.
In response to Twitter’s complaint, which includes counterclaims against the company, Musk’s team tried to refute the company’s accusations that the Tesla CEO was unfairly trying to get out of the deal. His team reiterated allegations that Twitter misrepresented the number of fake accounts and spam bots on its platform, a key charge Musk made to justify the termination of the takeover deal after initially citing a desire to “beat spam bots.” “as a reason to buy the company.
Musk’s response, released publicly on Friday, claims that a team of billionaires conducted an analysis of fake accounts and spam on the platform using data provided by Twitter’s “fire hose” and a public tool called Botometer. created by researchers at Indiana University. . He did not elaborate on the review process, adding that his analysis was “congested” by Twitter’s lack of time and information.
Based on this analysis, Musk claims that during the first week of July, spam bots accounted for 33% of the accounts visible on the platform and about 10% of Twitter’s monetizable daily active users, or mDAU. (Twitter, meanwhile, consistently reports that spam accounts and fake bots account for less than 5% of its mDAU.)
Twitter chairman Bret Taylor tweeted a link to the company’s response to its response and counterclaim late Thursday. (Musk’s team sent a classified version of last week’s response to give Twitter (TWTR) time to review it for company information to edit, before making it publicly available on Friday.) Taylor called Musk’s claims “totally inaccurate, not enough.” legally. “. , and is not commercially relevant.”
In response, Twitter took issue with Musk’s analysis of spam bots, saying that the “fire hose” data he uses “reflects many Twitter accounts not included in the mDAU” and that the Botometer tool you use depends on different companies. the process of determining whether an account can be a bot. He added that Botometer “earlier this year projected Musk himself very likely to be a bot.”
The tug-of-war between Twitter and Musk offers a preview of what each side will put forward when the case goes to trial, assuming they don’t reach an agreement first. The five-day trial is scheduled to begin on October 17, after Twitter pushed to speed up the process.
Musk last month decided to end his Twitter purchase deal, accusing the company of violating the deal by making misleading claims about the number of bot accounts on its platform and withholding information he said could help him assess the issue. . Days later, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the billionaire, claiming he had violated the agreement and asking the court to enforce it.
In addition to doubling down on concerns about bot accounts, Musk’s response also criticized Twitter’s use of monetizable daily active users, a metric Twitter reports to advertisers and shareholders to represent its growth.
Musk claims that his assessment shows that only a minority of Twitter users feel that mDAU actually generates significant revenue for the company by viewing and interacting with ads, claiming that the measure is not really a good indicator of growth potential. future and long-term income. performance implied in Twitter’s public presentation.
“Twitter also does not publish the methodology followed to determine the amount of mDAU or how to exclude non-monetizable accounts from this metric,” Musk’s response wrote.
Musk’s response alleged that Twitter’s leadership had incentives to report “high mDAU figures to stimulate investor interest” and because its executive compensation structure was based in part on the mDAU.
In their response, Musk’s team explained that the billionaire was concerned about the spam bot problem as “the transition from non-earning users to more active users…