Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to ‘public debate’ on ‘bots’ as various broadcasters vie for rights

Elon Musk has seemingly proposed settling his dispute with Twitter in a public debate rather than in court, and several media outlets are reportedly ready to make it must-see TV.

Musk and Twitter are now suing each other over the on-hold $44 billion deal in a controversy over the extent of fake, bot accounts on the social media platform. Musk has tried to back out of the complex transaction, and Twitter wants a court to order the sale to go through.

The case is set to go to trial beginning on October 17 in a Delaware courtroom (assuming it doesn’t settle by then).

On Saturday, the quirky and visionary Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who has attempted to add Twitter to his portfolio in the name of free speech, issued this challenge to Parag Agrawal, the CEO of the platform that, in the end, he may or may not buy.

“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!,” Musk wrote.

According to the Daily Mail, “Musk has been approached by one unnamed network and two unnamed cable channels to air his proposed debate” with Agrawal.

It seems unlikely that the Twitter boss will accept the one-on-one public conversation, however, given the pending litigation. Although you never know, Agrawal — who apparently may not necessarily be a big First Amendment fan — would probably turn it down even in the absence of the legal wrangling for other reasons.

The Bloomberg financial news network explains that “More than 60% of Fortune 500 companies are now incorporated in Delaware, drawn by its director-friendly laws, some tax breaks and the prowess of its courts in handling business disputes.”

Musk is also surveying Twitter users about whether they accept the less-than-five-percent premise. As of this writing, with 700,000-plus votes, about 65 percent of users have voted “no” in the poll.”

As part of the same thread in which he approvingly cited a data analyst’s summary of the ongoing controversy, Musk also acknowledged that “If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms. However, if it turns out that their SEC filings are materially false, then it should not.”

Analyst Andrea Stroppa had claimed, in part, about the billionaire’s countersuit that “When [Musk] requested more information about spam and fake accounts; Twitter provided a vague response. Then provided outdated data; then offered a fake data set (not real ‘firehose’); then provided a cleaned data set where they already suspended the malicious accounts.”

Stroppa concluded her Twitter thread by asserting that “For years, most researchers affirmed that Twitter’s estimates about its spam and fake accounts were inaccurate. Nobody cared. But now [Musk] opened Pandora’s box, and there is still a story to write.”

The Daily Mail noted, “Musk’s filing indicates he believes that during the first week of July, spam bots accounted for 33% of visible accounts on the platform and about 10% of Twitter’s monetizable daily active users, or mDAU.”

Separately, apparently in response to former inflation hawk Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) caving to his party’s demands for an additional federal spending spree, Musk tweeted: “Thank goodness for Senator Manchin.”

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