The whimsical entrepreneur, who took it into his head to buy Twitter and submitted a $44 billion offer at the end of April, sowed confusion about his intentions last week, claiming for a time that the operation was on hold due to of his doubts about the real proportion of spam and fake accounts on the platform.

"First, let me state the obvious: Spam hurts real people's experience on Twitter, and therefore can hurt our business," Parag Agrawal tweeted.

The social network is therefore "strongly encouraged to detect and delete as much spam as possible" and "anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong".

The group suspends more than half a million fake accounts every day and several million users every week do not meet certain verification procedures, he said, while acknowledging that it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the legitimate accounts of others.

When Twitter claims that the proportion of fake accounts is significantly lower than 5%, it is based on internal data.

“We shared an overview of the estimation process with Elon (Musk) a week ago and look forward to continuing the conversation with him and all of you,” concludes Agrawal.

Elon Musk replied to this thread of about fifteen tweets with several messages, including a simple emoji representing a turd with a smile.

He also wondered: "How then can advertisers know what they are really paying for? This is a fundamental question for the financial health of Twitter".

Since he filed his takeover offer, accepted by the social network's board of directors, Mr. Musk has shown his desire to make it a bastion of freedom of expression.

He also promised to rid Twitter of spam, better authenticate users and increase transparency, without specifying how he intended to do so.

Speaking via video at a conference on Monday, Musk estimated fake accounts accounted for at least 20% of Twitter users, according to Bloomberg and tweets at the event.

While the action of the social network fell significantly after the jump that followed his offer, the entrepreneur also raised the possibility of renegotiating the agreement at a lower price.

© 2022 AFP

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