Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to a ‘public debate’ on fake accounts

“Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users."

Lisi Niesner / reuters

A mere two days after accusing the company of fraud, Elon Musk has challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a public debate about the percentage of bots on its platform. “Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users,” Musk said in a tweet spotted by Reuters.

The Tesla and SpaceX executive issued the challenge after responding to a thread in support of his legal case against the company. “If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” he said.

Musk then began polling his followers, asking them whether they believe fake accounts make up less than five percent of Twitter’s daily user base. The two options are “Yes” and “Lmaooo no.” With 66.6 percent of vote as of the writing of this article, the latter is ahead at the moment. Voting ends on Sunday.

The stunt is unlikely to prompt a response from Twitter. The company’s trial against Musk will start on October 17th and could finish in a matter of days. In the complaint it filed this week, Musk’s legal team said a Botometer analysis found a much higher number of fake accounts than the less than five percent claimed by Twitter. The company quickly shot back, calling Musk’s statements "factually inaccurate, legally insufficient and commercially irrelevant.”