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Musk Says Twitter Buyout ‘Temporarily on Hold’

Elon Musk wrote on Twitter on Friday morning that his buyout of the company is “temporarily on hold” in order to check the company’s claim that less than 5 percent of users constitute fake accounts.

Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users,” Musk wrote, linking to a Reuters article from Monday on a Twitter filing that estimated the number of fake accounts.

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Musk added in a tweet about two hours later that he is “still committed to acquisition.”

Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and currently valued at $215 billion according to Bloomberg, agreed to buy Twitter in April for $44 billion. According to the terms of the agreement, Musk would have to pay a $1 billion fee if he backs out of the deal.

Twitter shares fell close to 20 percent in pre-market trading following Musk’s tweet on Friday morning. Musk has 92.7 million followers on the site as of Friday.

Musk has previously called to improve free speech on Twitter and to make the company’s algorithm more transparent.

“Having tweets be mysteriously promoted and demoted, with no insight into what’s going on; having a black box algorithm promote some things and not other things; I think this can be quite dangerous,” Musk said in a talk with TED head Chris Anderson on April 14, later adding, “It won’t be perfect, but I think we want to really have…the perception and the reality that speech is as free as reasonably possible.

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