Elon Musk put his $44 billion purchase for Twitter Inc on hold temporarily on Friday, citing outstanding evidence to support the assumption that spam and bogus accounts comprise fewer than 5 percent of Twitter’s users.
In premarket trading, shares of the social network firm plunged 17.7 percent to $37.10, their lowest level since early April, when Musk declared his ownership in the company and later made a “best and last” bid to take it private for $54.20 per share.
Twitter estimated earlier this month that bogus or spam accounts accounted for less than 5 percent of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter, when it served advertisements to 229 million users.
Musk tweeted on Friday, “Twitter deal temporarily on hold for details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts constitute fewer than 5% of subscribers.”
Musk, the richest man in the world and a self-proclaimed absolutist of free expression, stated that one of his top priorities would be to eliminate “spam bots” off the platform.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment immediately. Musk’s representatives and Tesla Inc. were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
The social media business stated that until the transaction with Musk is finalised, it faces a number of risks, including whether advertisers will continue to spend on Twitter in the face of “possible uncertainty over future intentions and strategy.”
Musk has criticised the moderation policy of Twitter. He has stated that he wants Twitter’s algorithm to emphasise tweets that are public and that he opposes giving companies too much power on the service.
This week, he stated that he would remove Twitter’s ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump if he were to acquire the social media platform, suggesting his goal to reduce site regulation.