Elon Musk has put his $44 billion (£35 billion) proposal to buy Twitter on hold, citing concerns over the number of bogus or spam accounts on the platform.
He stated that he was awaiting facts “to support [the] calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed comprise less than 5 per cent of users”.
Mr Musk has been super vocal about the need to eliminate spam accounts. Analysts believed that he may be attempting to reduce the price or perhaps run away from the acquisition.
In pre-market trade, Twitter’s stock dropped as much as 25 per cent in response to Mr Musk’s remark. Later, he stated that he remains “dedicated to acquisition”.
If either Twitter or Mr Musk decides to leave, they must pay the other party a $1 billion termination fee.
Fake accounts accounted for less than 5 per cent of Twitter’s daily active users in the first three months of this year, according to a report released more than two weeks ago.
However, the corporation admitted that it used significant judgment in calculating the number of spam accounts, thus “our estimation of fraudulent or scam accounts may not precisely represent the real number of such accounts”.
“The actual number of false or spam accounts could be higher than we have estimated. We are continually seeking to improve our ability to estimate the total number of spam accounts,” it said.