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Musk reneges on $44B Twitter bid with 'bots' baloneyMusk reneges on $44B Twitter bid with 'bots' baloney

The world's richest man blames Twitter deceptiveness after pulling out of deal, but it would allow him to focus on his space and satellite ventures.

Iain Morris

July 11, 2022

6 Min Read
Musk reneges on $44B Twitter bid with 'bots' baloney

Most people's bucket lists include things like skydiving or witnessing sunrise at Machu Picchu, but most people aren't eccentric tech billionaires with names that evoke an expensive men's fragrance. For Elon Musk, colonizing Mars and saving free speech (probably not in that order) seemingly take precedence over adrenaline highs and natural wonders. The first, oddly enough, now looks the more achievable.

As widely reported on Friday and over the course of the weekend, South Africa's most famous émigré has withdrawn his much publicized and extremely controversial $44 billion offer to buy Twitter, an unprofitable social media site known for shouty voices, angry members and trolling. Musk had been drawn to the company out of concern it had grown overly censorious (or so he claimed) and deserved a rescue. People need a place where unfettered commentary is allowed, he seemed to think, just as they need rocket ships to Mars and brain-computer interfaces.

The deal is off, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, because Musk insists Twitter has lied about how many of its shouty voices have a heartbeat. In disclosures, Twitter has repeatedly said only 5% of what it calls "monetizable daily active users" (mDAUs) are false or spam accounts generated by software bots. Musk thinks the real figure is "wildly higher."

Figure 1: (Source: Alexander Shatov on Unsplash)) (Source: Alexander Shatov on Unsplash))

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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