Maybe Elon Musk doesn’t want a court battle with Twitter? After having his lawyers spin up a 165-page argument about why he no longer wants to go through with his $44 billion deal to buy the platform, Musk suggested hashing things out in public — perhaps before a jury of the Tesla fans, Dogecoin hodlers, and potential Mars colonizers among his Twitter followers — to get to the bottom of Twitter’s so-called bot issue.
“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage,” Musk proclaims to all 102 million members of his forum. “Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!”
@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!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 6, 2022
Musk promptly pinned the tweet to his profile, and then polled his followers on whether they believe Twitter’s argument that less than five percent of its monthly daily active users are “fake/spam.” The two options are “Yes” with three robot emojis (so cleverly implying that any users who pick that option are also a bot) or “Lmaooo no.”
So far, 67.2 percent of users picked the “Lmaooo no,” option. The poll concludes on Sunday, and its results will almost inevitably be skewed in Musk’s favor. It seems unlikely that this latest stunt draws a direct response from Agrawal or Twitter chairman Bret Taylor, since the actual dispute (in front of a real judge and jury) is scheduled for a hearing in court in just a couple of months.
Twitter’s lawyers already laid out what the company thinks of Musk’s bot accusations (which Twitter claims Musk got from some site called Botometer) in a hefty filing of its own, that heavily referenced tweets of his and may be updated to include today’s selection. Of course, they’re merely experts in corporate laws and contracts — they might not have what it takes to swing an argument executed through memes, quote tweets, and polls.