Twitter reportedly offered to hand over vast amounts of data associated with the platform just days after Elon Musk threatened to withdraw from his offer to acquire the microblogging service.
The previous week, a lawyer for Musk contacted Twitter to say that unless it met Musk’s demands to release data on the number of fake and spam accounts populating the platform, the Tesla CEO could end his bid to acquire the company. In April, Musk offered $44 billion for the company but later questioned Twitter’s contention that only 5% of its 229 million users are fake accounts. Musk believes the number may be much higher. Twitter’s revenue could suffer, and Musk may believe he has overpaid for the company if advertisers walk away or demand lower rates.
The Washington Post reports that Twitter failed to respond to Musk’s request for fake and spam accounts for a while, but now the company has reportedly given Musk and his team access to Twitter’s so-called “firehose,” according to an unnamed source. Firehose data consists of hundreds of millions of tweets that land on the service every day, as well as details on users’ devices and account information.
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Twitter makes its firehose data available at a cost. In the Post, it was reported that 24 companies currently pay for access to the data, which can be used for research and marketing.
According to the report, Musk waived his right to dive deep into Twitter’s finances when he signed the deal two months ago. He also stipulated that he would proceed with the takeover unless he could prove that Twitter misled him or that some event adversely impacted its value.
Skeptics have suggested that Musk may have changed his mind about the deal and is using the spat over fake accounts to get out of it. Musk says he still wants to buy the company but first wants accurate stats on how many fake or spam accounts there are.
Whether Twitter’s reported offer to hand over its firehose data to Musk’s team will be enough to keep the deal on track remains to be seen. To begin, data analysts will need to pore over the data to determine the number of fake or spam accounts. Musk has three options if they are able to identify the different types of users on the service: Walk away, lower the value of his bid, or accept the current offer.