I’ve seen more than a few tweets and even videos from YouTube citizen journalists that surmise that Tesla/SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, might be walking away from Twitter after finding out that the site is comprised of far more bots in its userbase than was originally advertised.
As Musk noted during a recent interview, he noted the discovery that the number of bots on the site was actually four to five times higher than the number he was told “was a big deal,” and used an analogy involving termites and a house.
"If Twitter has been vociferously less than 5% fake/spam accounts, but, in fact it is 4-5x that number. It's big deal. It's like, I agree to buy your house, you say the house has less than 5% termites but if it turns out it's 90% termites. It's not the same house" — @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/fbLMXkHeTf
— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) May 18, 2022
I’m not so sure.
For one, despite this discovery, Twitter is still the “de facto town square” as he had previously described it. The western world still shows up to this website in order to discuss world events, share opinions, and conduct advertising. World leaders use this platform to announce things and connect with voters. Journalists still use this platform to release videos, share reports, and spread their op-eds.
Twitter is an important place, and while many others have attempted to replicate its success, so far nothing has come close.
Let’s pair that fact with the mission Musk said he was on. He wanted to make the de facto town square a free speech area for the express purpose of improving society. Musk is definitely a businessman, but this is more than just a business transaction. He’s on a mission to improve society and advance it. If you look at his businesses, this has been his MO for some time. As he’s professed, free speech is integral to the advancement of society.
This kind of advancement is something that authoritarians have not been taking kindly to and they have attempted to denounce and trip Musk up at every step of the journey. The closer he gets to his goal the more they’re going to turn up the heat. Judging from the tweets Musk has been releasing lately, he’s aware that things are only going to get worse for him. Case in point, this tweet he released yesterday signals a man who is going the distance.
Political attacks on me will escalate dramatically in coming months
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2022
Why would they if he’s going to back down and allow them to win?
What’s really happening here is that Musk is making it clear that he’s overpaying. He’s using the knowledge about the bots, and his very public declarations about it, to bring down the price and pay far less for the de facto town square. Moreover, as it becomes clear that bots are so prevalent here, the stock price of Twitter is declining rapidly, giving Twitter all the more reason to sell to Musk in order to get a decent chunk of cash before it costs even less.
Musk has them by the monetary short hairs, and the board is just days, maybe even hours away from asking Musk to name his price. At this point, Musk walking away would cost him a billion dollars but for a man worth around $268 billion that’s nothing. The threat of paying that fee and it not mattering will also have the board worried that Musk may not buy, which is in their best interest. Musk has all the leverage and Twitter is losing theirs with every new report.
So Musk is in a very powerful position and I doubt he’d walk away from that. With this in mind, and the inclusion of his stated mission of free speech advancing society, it’s doubtful Musk will walk away from his mission of owning Twitter. He seems to know things are going to get even more heated, indicating he’s not giving up.
I wouldn’t count on Musk throwing in the towel. He doesn’t seem the type.
My advice? Buy the dip, because I bet Musk definitely is.