Skip to content
Opinion
Matt Levine

Elon Has a New Bot Excuse

Also a Citi fat finger, a different Citi fat finger, PAWABML and ape theft.

No, come on, stop it. Six weeks ago, Elon Musk signed a merger agreement in which he made a legally binding promise to buy Twitter Inc. for $54.20 per share. A few weeks later, he decided he didn’t want to pay $54.20 per share anymore, perhaps because he had grown bored of Twitter, or perhaps because the prices of social-media stocks, and of Musk’s company Tesla Inc., had fallen, and $54.20 looked pretty expensive.

The merger agreement does not, however, allow Musk to walk away because he changed his mind. He needed some pretext for walking away. He came up with what he thought was a good one: Twitter says, in its public filings, that no more than 5% of its “monetizable daily active users” are “false or spam” accounts, and Musk has a vague sense that there are more spam bots than that. (To be fair, a lot of his followers are bots.) He floated the idea that he could walk away from the deal because Twitter was lying about the spam bots.