Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to a public debate

  • By: Muhammad Abdul Basit
  • Date: August 10, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

The Chief Executive Officer of Tesla Elon Musk publicly challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal to hold a one-to-one debate and prove that the number of fake users, aka bots, on Twitter is less than 5 percent of the net users. He alleged that the Twitter board showed bogus data when they discussed the terms in a deal to buy the social media platform. Twitter responded by suing him for backing out of the deal. It emphasizes that Elon’s ‘bot’ rhetoric is just a distraction to get out of the purchase.

Seeing a “tremendous potential” in Twitter, Musk made a $44 billion (£36.4bn) offer to buy Twitter Inc in April. The deal got stuck in a tussle between the two parties. Mr. Musk withdrew from the potential takeover by blaming the Twitter administration for providing misinformation regarding the number of spam accounts. He claims to reinstate the original offer if Agarwal successfully defends his company’s data on real and fake accounts.

What are bots?

Bot is a short form of Robot. Bots are basically automated social media accounts that are operated through a computer program for a particular purpose. A bot does not represent an actual human being. Twitter is a famous platform for setting trends related to various social and political issues. The platform requires little confirmation while signing up. This makes it easier to create a bulk of bot accounts that can be used to show bogus trends on social media for fame or influence. Many politicians are accused of directing their media cells to introduce a trend that would help them get public support.

If Musk remains successful in his allegation, Twitter Inc could get in hot water. Its worth, both financial and credible, could fall dramatically.

Why is Twitter important to Musk?

Elon Musk is currently the richest person in the world. It is known in the technology world that not much can be made out of Twitter. So, why did Musk make such a huge offer to buy it? For starters, Elon Musk’s own following reaches him through Twitter. He has an enormous 102.9 million followers on Twitter alone. Secondly, Musk is an ardent believer in free speech. Over the years, he has been penalized multiple times for his controversial tweets. He is eager to buy Twitter and ensure free speech. Thirdly, he is a fan of cryptocurrencies. In January 2022, he tweeted that Tesla products could be bought using Dogecoin, which, by the way, is his favorite cryptocurrency. Seconds after this tweet the value of Dogecoin began to soar exponentially. He could use Twitter to boost the utilization of his choice coins and might make more money out of it. But it is not yet known what “extraordinary potential” he sees in Twitter.

Many Republicans feel that Twitter policies lean toward the freedom expressed by the left. In a big move, Donald Trump’s Twitter account was banned for “incitement of violence”. Some see this as against free speech. Restoration of the Twitter handle of the former POTUS is expected if Musk takes over.

For now, Musk and Agarwal are enmeshed in a war of words. The suit will be heard in October in a Delaware court. A long and obstructing trial awaits the Tesla and Twitter CEOs.

Muhammad Abdul Basit

Muhammad Abdul Basit

Political Reporter

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