So Twitter now plans to give Mr. Musk access to much of his data, possibly right up to the very last tweet.
The social media company has agreed to give Mr. Musk direct access to its “firehose,” the stream of millions of tweets that flow through the company’s network daily, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. Whether Mr. Musk will have full or partial access to that “fire hose” is unclear.
The information would give Mr. Musk the tools to discern how many accounts on the Twitter platform could be fake. But it probably won’t help him come to the conclusion that Twitter’s 5 percent of its active accounts are fake, as the company uses a different method using proprietary data and human analysis to arrive at that figure. Mr Musk has said he does not believe that only 5 percent of active Twitter accounts are fake.
Twitter’s move could make it harder for Mr Musk to end the deal. On Monday, his lawyers sent a letter to the company accusing the company of hindering its efforts to obtain information essential to closing the acquisition. For weeks, Mr. Musk has also been tweeting increasingly tantalizing comments about Twitter’s fake accounts, which appear to be laying the groundwork for either renegotiating or getting out of the deal.
Mr. Musk agreed to buy Twitter in April for $54.20 per share. If the deal falls apart, there’s one $1 billion breakup fee† But the deal includes a “specific performance clause,” which gives Twitter the right to sue him and force him to close or pay the deal, as long as the debt financing he has amassed remains intact.
A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on giving Mr. Musk access to the stream of tweets, but referred to a previous statement.
“Twitter has and will cooperate in sharing information with Mr. Musk to complete the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement,” Twitter said. “We believe that this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to complete the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms.”
Mr. Musk did not respond to a request for comment. The Washington Post previously reported that Mr. Musk got access to the Twitter fire hose.
A company often shares confidential data with its acquirer, negotiating the parameters around data sharing before signing an agreement. But Mr Musk waived due diligence when he agreed to buy the social media company and Twitter began sharing confidential information with him last month.
One of Twitter’s concerns about information sharing has been Mr. Musk’s previous statements, both publicly and to the company, that he was considering starting a rival social media service, The New York Times reported. Typically, such matters are addressed by restricting who has access to such information.
Mr. Musk said in his letter this week that he would ensure that anyone viewing confidential data from Twitter is bound by a nondisclosure agreement. He has also said he would not keep or share sensitive information on Twitter if the deal fails.
Once Mr. Musk gains access to the Twitter stream of tweets, he will likely need a team of experts to analyze the data, as well as the computing power to process and store the vast amount of information, company insiders said.
How Elon Musk’s Twitter Deal Unfolded
A blockbuster deal. Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, put an end to what seemed an unlikely attempt by the famed mercurial billionaire to Buy Twitter for about $44 billion† Here’s how the deal unfolded:
While the information would provide Mr. Musk with insights into the number of fake Twitter accounts, it would also provide him with the data needed to plan for the company once the acquisition closes. Mr Musk has told investors that he wants to reduce Twitter’s reliance on advertising revenue and introduce a new payment company.
For years, Twitter calculated the number of users in the same way as many of its peers, reporting the number of people actively using the service on a monthly basis. But in 2019, the company switched to what it claims to be a more accurate metric to measure the company’s health: “daily active users to monetize” — the number of people who are active on the site each day and can be used to ads to generate revenue.
From April, Twitter reported that it had 229 million monetized daily active users. Twitter estimates that 5 percent is fake.
On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also said he… open an investigation into fake accounts on Twitter and how they affect citizens in the state. The move was seen by strategists as a politically appropriate way to align with Mr. Musk. Tesla, Mr. Musk’s electric car company, is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Mr. Musk has also moved to Texas from California and his SpaceX rocket company has a facility in the state.