Elon Musk says Twitter deal on hold pending details on fake accounts

Elon Musk, during an event at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.

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Elon Musk announced Friday that his Twitter deal is on hold until he receives more information about how many fake accounts there are on the social media platform.

Twitter’s stock plummeted 18% following the announcement. A spokesperson for Twitter did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Tesla CEO Musk announced last month that he intends to buy Twitter for $44 billion and he’s previously tweeted that one of his main priorities would be to remove “spam bots” from the platform.

Even before Friday’s announcement, the company’s market value had fallen to $9 billion beneath the offer price due to concerns about the deal.

Twitter estimated in a filing earlier this month that fewer than 5% of its monetizable daily active users during the first quarter were bots or spam accounts.

Musk, who is the world’s richest person on paper, now wants the company to confirm this before he continues with the deal, which is being partly funded by Oracle founder Larry Ellison and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The San Francisco-headquartered social media firm said in the filing that it had 229 million users in the first quarter who were served advertising.