Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on Monday worked to bolster confidence in the company’s estimate of how many automated accounts, or “bots,” exist on the platform after Elon Musk drew attention to the number, challenging Twitter’s analysis and saying he was putting his $44 billion takeover on hold because of it.
Musk, meanwhile, seems to be having none of it.
Over the past year, the company has found that “well under” 5% of all Twitter profiles belong to such spam accounts, Agrawal said in a tweet. He also said any external analysis would be impossible “given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share),” he wrote. In response, Musk replied to one of Agrawal’s tweets with the poop emoji.
Musk plunged the on-going drama surrounding his buyout of Twitter into fresh chaos on Friday when he indicated his bid for the company was on pause as he conducted his own review of bot research. In a tweet, he highlighted long-standing language from Twitter’s SEC filings that bots are less than 5% of users, seemingly a signal he didn’t believe the number’s accuracy. Musk later said he “still committed” to the acquisition, followed by Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor saying the company “remained to our agreement,” too.
Musk’s true intentions for raising concerns about the bots remains an open question. Is it an attempt to begin establishing a pretext for walking away from the Twitter acquisition? Or perhaps a gambit toward forcing Twitter to renegotiate the sale price amid a selloff in tech stock? Or is Musk simply being himself—and just enjoying a chance to troll the internet? Or maybe some mix of all three.
His words have further unnerved Twitter shareholders. Twitter dropped 6.2% on Monday to $38.18 a share, far from Musk’s proposed $54.20 offer. (For perspective, the Nasdaq lost 0.7% on Monday.) There’s been an unusually high gap between Twitter’s stock price and Musk’s proposal—there’s usually some separation between the two as a deal closes but not to this extent—and it continuing to widen shows how unsettled investors feel about Musk completing the deal.