Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk said that the deal to buy Twitter is "temporarily on hold" until detailed information comes to light that backs Twitter's claim that bots or fake accounts make up fewer than 5 percent of users on the platform.
"We have performed an internal review of a sample of accounts and estimate that the average of false or spam accounts during the first quarter of 2022 represented fewer than 5 percent of our mDAU [monetizable daily active users] during the quarter," the company added.
Twitter's disclosure came days after Musk said one of his priorities would be to remove "spam bots" from the platform, which he has offered to buy for around $44 billion.
The Epoch Times has reached out to Twitter for comment.
'Authenticate All Real Humans'Musk has said that, if his bid to buy Twitter is successful, he intends to authenticate all real humans on the platform.
Spam bots on Twitter are automated accounts that can take actions like real humans, such as sending out tweets, following other users, as well as liking and retweeting other users' posts. Such accounts can be programmed to try and drive traffic to a product or service as part of a commercial endeavor or spread content as part of a social or political influence operation.
While Twitter allows some bots to operate on its platform as long as they are labeled as automated accounts, Twitter does not allow spam bots and has policies in place to try and eliminate them.
'Definitely Their Enemy'Musk's plans to reform Twitter include trying to clean up the platform of spam bots. In an April 25 statement, Musk spoke of "enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans."
Some prominent Twitter users have backed Musk's effort to cleanse the platform of spam bots.
"The fact that spam bots (Chinese, Russian, etc) overwhelm real conversations on Twitter degrades the platform and is designed to spread propaganda into the West. It’s time to demand authentication and delete bots," Bass added.
While reining in spam bots is sure to be hailed by users concerned about their malicious or fraudulent activity, a tougher crackdown could have an adverse impact on Twitter's total user count.
'Inclusive Arena for Free Speech'Musk has said his aim in seeking to buy Twitter is to take the company private and transform it into an “inclusive arena for free speech.”
Besides seeking to crack down on spam bots, Musk has vowed to make the algorithm open source to bolster transparency, while looking to shift the content moderation policies towards erring on the side of more free speech.
Musk has also spoken out against permanent suspensions on the platform, suggesting he would lift Twitter's ban on former President Donald Trump if his bid to buy Twitter and take it private succeeds.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake," he added.