Texas AG Launches Investigation Into Twitter, Alleges Firm Lied About Bots

Texas AG Launches Investigation Into Twitter, Alleges Firm Lied About Bots
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a border town hall in Brackettville, Texas, on Oct. 11, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed Monday that his office will investigate Twitter, alleging the firm lied about the number of bot accounts amid a high-profile spat between the two parties.

“A large number of bot accounts not [only] reduces users’ experience on the platform, but may also inflate the value of the company and the costs of doing business with it, thus directly harming consumers and businesses—specifically, Texas consumers and businesses,” Paxton’s office said.

These “bots,” or spam accounts, “inflate followers and reach, and often push deceptive and annoying activity,” according to his office.

Twitter bots have come into focus in recent weeks after Musk, the head of Tesla, asked for information regarding how many are on the platform. In a letter Monday, Musk again brought up the issue and claimed Twitter is refusing to provide data to his team before saying the $44 billion deal to take over the company could be terminated.

On Monday, in a statement to Bloomberg News, a Twitter spokesperson said it “has and will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement.” The statement was issued in response to Musk’s letter.

Paxton, a Republican, said Monday that the difference between Twitter’s claims that fewer than 5 percent of accounts are bots versus Musk’s claims that upwards of 20 percent are bots “would dramatically affect the cost of Texas consumers and businesses transacting with Twitter.”

“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,” Paxton said. “If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans.”

Paxton said Twitter has until June 27 to reply to his demand.

In his letter, Musk’s lawyers wrote that he believes Twitter is “actively resisting and thwarting his information rights” by not disclosing information about fake accounts.

“Musk has made it clear that he does not believe the company’s lax testing methodologies are adequate so he must conduct his own analysis. The data he has requested is necessary to do so,” the letter said. “As Twitter’s prospective owner, Mr. Musk is clearly entitled to the requested data to enable him to prepare for transitioning Twitter’s business to his ownership and to facilitate his transaction financing,” it continued.

From The Epoch Times

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