Over the past few weeks, Elon Musk has been expressing his displeasure over Twitter giving him misinformation about the amount of bots on the site. Now Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is joining him in pushing back against the tech giant.
A bot is defined as a non-human account that is able to do the same things as other users, often pushing ads or scams that affect the user’s experience and, ultimately, the value of the company.
Twitter estimates that a mere 5 percent of active accounts are bots. However, Musk—who announced his intention to buy Twitter in April—is threatening to terminate his agreement to buy Twitter if this information is false. Elon himself said on a recent podcast that his “lowest estimate” for how many Twitter bots there are “would be probably 20 percent.”
While some speculate that Musk is simply trying to force Twitter to offer a discount on their previously agreed price of $44 billion, others are worried that this will threaten Musk’s promise of restoring free speech to Twitter users.
Luckily for Musk, Attorney General Ken Paxton is launching a civil investigation to see if Twitter executives are really being truthful, requiring that the company turn in documents on their methods of calculating data.
If Twitter is truly reporting false data, it could cost them up to $150 million for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Texans rely on Twitter’s public statements that nearly all its users are real people. It matters not only for regular Twitter users, but also Texas businesses and advertisers who use Twitter for their livelihoods,” said Paxton. “If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans.”