A series of text messages between Elon Musk and several others have been released as part of the discovery phase of a back-and-forth legal saga between the Tesla CEO and Twitter.
Twitter is suing Musk to enforce his agreement to purchase the platform for $44 billion, while Musk is countersuing the company and says it lied about its number of bot accounts.
Text messages reveal that Musk conferred with former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about the issue of bot accounts.
“This is hard to do as a public company, as purging fake users will make the numbers look terrible, so restructuring should be done as a private company,” Musk told a Twitter board member in April. “This is Jack’s opinion too."
In March, Musk wrote that cryptocurrency spam on the platform “really needs to get crushed. It’s a major blight to the user experience and they scam so many innocent people.”
Musk later asked current Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal to help him understand the platform’s technology.
“I would like to understand the technical details of the Twitter codebase,” Musk asked. “This will help me calibrate the dumbness of my suggestions.”
Musk later said the request was fruitless, adding that “drastic action is needed” to fix the bot account problem.
Musk repeated his frustrations to Michael Grimes, head of global technology investment banking at Morgan Stanley: "An extremely fundamental due diligence item is understanding exactly how Twitter confirms that 95% of their daily active users are both real people and not double-counted,” he said.
“They couldn't answer that on Friday which is insane,” he added. “If that number is 50% or lower, which is what I would guess based on my feed, then they have been fundamentally misrepresenting the value of Twitter to advertisers and investors. To be super clear, this deal moves forward if it passes due diligence, but obviously not if there are massive gaping issues. True user account is a showstopper if actually much lower than the 95% claimed."
The texts also seem to corroborate Musk’s allegation that the company misrepresented its financials to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In June, Musk wrote to someone whose name is redacted that, "[Twitter’s] revenue projections seem disconnected from reality."
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