Elon Musk Says Deal to Buy Twitter Is Temporarily ‘On Hold’, Surprising No One

Elon Musk Says Deal to Buy Twitter Is Temporarily ‘On Hold’, Surprising No One
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is having second thoughts about buying Twitter. (Photo: Patrick Pleul/Pool/AFP, Getty Images)

After bullying Twitter employees and saying he wants the former president of the swamp, and the U.S., Donald Trump back on the platform, Tesla CEO Elon Musk did what everyone thought he might do anyway. He thought long and hard about what it meant to really buy Twitter, and is apparently having second thoughts.

Early on Friday, Musk tweeted that his $US44 ($61) billion deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold” because he was waiting for confirmation that the amount of spam and fake accounts on the platform did indeed represent less than 5% of users.

“Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk tweeted.

He included a link to a May 2 Reuters article that reported on Twitter’s estimated fake and spam accounts in the first quarter of the year, which it reported to be 5% of its monetizable daily active users. According to Reuters, the blue bird social media network had a total of 229 million users who were served ads in the first quarter.

While taking a moment to investigate whether the platform you’re buying indeed has enough users to make it worth your while is no doubt sensible, it seems a bit off that Musk is bringing this up now, or more than two weeks after he announced his intention to buy the company. Plus, it’s not as if Twitter were hiding this information. It reported the numbers in filings on May 2.

Furthermore, it’s not as if Musk wasn’t aware of the spam accounts on the platform. He has frequently rallied against them and made “defeating the spam bots” one of his priorities in the very press release announcing his deal on April 25.

Considering cryptocurrency’s recent nosedive — Musk is a big crypto fan and owns crypto, though how much isn’t publicly known — and Tesla losing 20% of its value since its CEO announced that he was going to buy his favourite digital toy, Musk’s pause is not surprising from a financial standpoint. It is ironic from his personal standpoint though, since he’s said he “doesn’t care about the economics at all” when it comes to buying Twitter.

This story is developing.

Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.