No Matter How Damning the Twitter Whistleblower Report Is, It Might Not Help Elon Musk Get Out of His Agreement to Buy Twitter

Mike Masnick, writing at Techdirt:

This post just focuses on the first claims in Mudge’s report, which (honestly) seem to have been written more to jump on the current news cycle than to address an actual issue at Twitter. It’s entirely unrelated to the other claims in the report, but instead is focused on the question of Twitter and spam/bot reporting. And… it’s weird. It is framed as though it supports Musk’s claims that Twitter is lying about spam. But, the details actually show the opposite.

The media is, unfortunately, falling for the spin. The media is covering it as if the claims about spam and bots help Musk.

I didn’t mean to imply that I thought these allegations could or should get Musk off the hook for his signed agreement to purchase Twitter when I wrote:

Musk’s allegations about Twitter misreporting bot activity might be fully legitimate, not an empty pretext for backing out of his acquisition.

But I can see how it could have read that way. I regret the imprecision. All I meant to imply is that Mudge’s allegations seem to back Musk’s claims that Twitter’s “mDAU” category of users is mostly a pile of horseshit when it comes to the experience of using Twitter. Putting aside Musk’s acquisition deal, anyone who cares about Twitter — whether as a user or an investor — should know that Twitter’s mDAU numbers don’t paint an accurate picture of the service. The mDAU figure is designed simply to make Twitter look better — more honest, healthier, and wholesome — than it is.

As Masnick exquisitely illustrates, the problem for Musk is that when he agreed to buy Twitter, he agreed based on Twitter’s mDAU figures. If he wanted to object about the actual amount of active spam, bots, crooks, and foreign agents on Twitter that aren’t counted in the company’s mDAU figures, he needed to do that before agreeing to buy the company.

Thursday, 25 August 2022