The Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton, is striking back at Twitter for what he claims is its lying and misleading Texans (which would, it should be noted, include Elon Musk) on the number of bots on the platform. Announcing that on Twitter, AG Paxton said:
Today I’m investigating Twitter for potentially misleading Texans on the number of its “bot” users. I have a duty to protect Texans if Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue.
Included in the Tweet was a press announcement about the investigation which, after describing what a bot account is and why there is a controversy over how many of its accounts are bots, said:
To address this concern, Attorney General Paxton issued a Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to investigate whether Twitter’s reporting on real versus fake users is “false, misleading, or deceptive” under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The CID requires Twitter to turn over documents related to how it calculates and manages its user data and how these numbers relate to Twitter’s advertising businesses. Twitter has until June 27 to respond to Attorney General Paxton’s Demand.
AG Paxton was quoted in that press statement as explaining how bot accounts harm Texans and their businesses, saying:
“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.
“If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans.”
The CID, available here, demands that Twitter turn over certain information regarding how many bot accounts are on its platform, including, among a large amount of material related to its advertising business:
Documents sufficient to show the number of Inauthentic Twitter Accounts for each month
from 2017 to the present, broken down by category of inauthentic account (i.e., Fake
Account, Spammer Account, and Bot Account), if available.
Documents defining, describing, or otherwise explaining Your definition of “false or spam
accounts” as used in your filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Documents describing and substantiating the methodology You used to calculate the
“fewer than 5%” of “false or spam accounts” that may be included in Your “monetizable
daily active users” metric.
That is the sort of information that Twitter has so far resisted providing to Elon Musk as he attempts to take over the company, with current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal claiming that Twitter can’t do so because of the amount of confidential private information involved, essentially telling Musk and other investors that they need to take it on faith that the estimate is accurate.
Mr. Musk, like AG Paxton, is apparently not willing to do so, as news broke this morning that the deal might be off the table due to Twitter’s refusal to hand over the important information regarding its bot account problem and how many accounts are bots, information he wanted to use for valuation.
This story syndicated with permission from Will, Author at Trending Politics