Elon Musk’s tweeting may have landed him in legal trouble again. As you may recall, the Tesla and SpaceX executive tweeted on Friday that his deal to buy Twitter was “temporarily on hold” after the company disclosed that fake and spam accounts represented less than 5 percent of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter of 2022.
After his tweet prompted Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to say the company was “prepared for all scenarios,” Musk stated his team would test “a random sample of 100 followers” to verify Twitter’s numbers. According to the billionaire, one of the answers he gave to a question about his methodology prompted a response from Twitter’s legal team.
“I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate,” he said in the alleged offending tweet. “Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100,” Musk later said of his actions.
Twitter declined to comment on Musk’s tweets.
In another twist in Musk’s bid to buy Twitter, he also took aim at the platform’s algorithmic feed. “You are being manipulated by the algorithm in ways you don’t realize,” he said.
The message drew the attention of former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “It was designed simply to save you time when you are away from [the] app for a while,” Dorsey told Musk. “Pull to refresh goes back to reverse chron as well.”
Dorsey then responded to someone who said Twitter’s algorithmic feed was “definitely” designed to manipulate. “No it wasn’t designed to manipulate. It was designed to catch you up and work off what you engage with,” Dorsey said. “That can def have unintended consequences tho.”
Musk later appeared to walk back his comment. “I’m not suggesting malice in the algorithm, but rather that it’s trying to guess what you might want to read and, in doing so, inadvertently manipulate/amplify your viewpoints without you realizing this is happening,” he said.
Should something come of Musk’s actions, this wouldn’t be the first time one of his tweets has landed him in legal trouble. Back in 2018, his now-infamous “funding secured” tweet attracted the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, leading to a $40 million settlement with the agency that he’s now trying to end.
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