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Disney desired to buy Twitter but found ‘significant’ variety of bots – to Elon Musk’s delight


Disney didn’t purchase Twitter because a “substantial portion” of its users “weren’t real”, the entertainment giant’s former chief executive has said.

The anecdote comes as Elon Musk is attempting to back out of his bid to purchase Twitter for $44 billion. Mr Musk has consistently claimed that the number of pretend users on Twitter should allow him to renege on the deal.

“Interesting”, the SpaceX chief tweeted in response to Mr Iger’s story – but it surely may not help him pull out of his offer in court.

Twitter would have been “a world distribution platform” for Disney if the corporate had purchased it in 2016, which it planned to do. “The world was changing fast. And at the identical time, we heard that Twitter was contemplating a sale”, Bob Iger recalled on the Code Conference.

“We were viewing it as something completely different. We could put news, sports, entertainment, [and] reach the world. And admittedly, it might have been an exceptional solution, distribution-wise.”

Nevertheless, Mr Iger said that he was not “taking a look at this as fastidiously as I want to take a look at it”, concerned that Twitter got here with “so many other challenges and complexities” and that he couldn’t afford a “major distraction and having to administer circumstances that weren’t even near anything that we had faced before.

“We did look very fastidiously at the entire Twitter users — I suppose they’re called users? — and we at that time estimated with a few of Twitter’s help that a considerable portion — not a majority — weren’t real.

“I don’t remember the number but we discounted the worth heavily. But that was built into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was pretty low-cost.”

Disney eventually ended its dealings without buying the social media company due to “all of the hate speech [on the platform] and potential to do as much harm pretty much as good.”

Nevertheless, while Mr Musk is using bots as a public reason to tug his offer, it might not be an efficient strategy. Firstly, Mr Musk was aware that Twitter was filled with bots, explicitly mentioning it in his press statement announcing the acquisition of the social media company. Mr Musk didn’t do due diligence before making his bid.

“I also need to make Twitter higher than ever by enhancing the product with latest features, making the algorithms open source to extend trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans”, he said on the time.

Secondly, Mr Musk’s argument to the Delaware Court of Chancery where a trial between him and Twitter will happen in October, is that Twitter was misleading in its US Securities and Exchange reporting regarding spam.

Yet what Twitter reports to the SEC is how much spam is probably going included of their “monetizable every day average user” number, which is a segment of the entire Twitter population defined as a “valid user account that may click through ads and truly buy a product.” Mr Musk is conflating “spam on your entire platform” with “spam remaining within the mDAU”, Techdirt editor Mike Masnick argues.

Bloomberg commentator Matt Levine, meanwhile, has also suggested that Elon Musk has simply “modified his mind about buying Twitter and now wants his merger agreement to go away” and that “the stuff about bots, the stuff concerning the whistle-blower, allegations of covenant breaches and material opposed effects and fraud — is just lawyers attempting to justify that.”

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