Twitter will reportedly give in to data demands from Elon Musk after the Tesla founder threatened to pull out of the $61b takeover deal.
Twitter is preparing to give in to data access demands from Elon Musk, after the tech mogul threatened the $61 billion takeover deal.
Mr Musk has been in negotiations with Twitter to buy the social media platform for US$44 billion (AUD$61.3 billion), but recently claimed the deal was “temporarily on hold” after asking the social media platform to clarify how many of its users were bots or spam accounts.
The Tesla founder accused the social media giant of “resisting and thwarting” his right to information about fake accounts, something he has previously mentioned was key to the massive deal going through.
He has claimed up to half of Twitter’s 229 million users could be fake. Twitter puts that number at around five per cent.
Twitter’s board now plans to comply with Mr Musk’s demands by offering access to its full “firehose” of data comprising of more than 500 million tweets posted each day, The Washington Post reports.
A source familiar with the company’s thinking told the publication that the information could be provided as soon as this week.
There are a number of companies that already pay for access to the data, which includes real-time records of tweets, the devices they were posted from and information about the accounts attached to the tweet.
A letter sent from Mr Musk’s legal team on Monday claimed Twitter is “obligated” to provide information and data for “’any reasonable business purpose related to the consumption of the transaction”.
“Musk believes Twitter is transparently refusing to comply with its obligations under the merger agreement, which is causing further suspicion that the company is withholding the requested data due to concern for what Musk’s own analysis of that data will uncover,” the letter from Mr Musk’s lawyer to Twitter’s chief legal officer, Vijaya Gadde, read.
“As Twitter’s prospective owner, Musk is clearly entitled to the requested data to enable him to prepare for transitioning Twitter’s business to his ownership and to facilitate his transaction financing. To do both, he must have a complete and accurate understanding of the very core of Twitter’s business model – its active user base.
“In any event, Musk is not required to explain his rationale for requesting the data, nor submit to the new conditions the company has attempted to impose on his contractual right to the requested data.”
The letter added that Mr Musk reserves the right to “terminate” the agreement.
Pulling out of the deal could see the billionaire hit with a $1 billion break-up fee.
It is not clear why Mr Musk wants to know how many of Twitter’s users are fake, but he could be trying to drive down the price of the social media platform by showing it has fewer genuine subscribers.
He tweeted on May 17 that the deal “cannot move forward” until the true number of spam accounts is revealed.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in May that Twitter had explained how it works out how many of its accounts are fake.
“We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him, and all of you,” Mr Agrawal said at the time.
Mr Agrawal, who has been the chief executive of Twitter ever since Jack Dorsey stepped down in November last year, added that spammers “are sophisticated and hard to catch”.
The Twitter CEO said he was confident that only 5 per cent of accounts were fake and that they sampled thousands of accounts at random.
Mr Musk pointedly posted the poo emoji on Twitter in response.