Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday launched an investigation into Twitter’s “bot accounts” and gave the social media company a date of June 27 to respond.
“Texans,” Paxton said, “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 issuing of Paxton’s Civil Investigative Demand will determine whether the company violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by misrepresenting the number of spam accounts.
Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the prospective buyer of Twitter, said he doubts the number of fake spam accounts is less than 5%, saying, that conservatively, it could be as high as 20%.
On Monday, Twitter cited a letter it received from Musk’s legal team in an SEC filing, in which Musk’s legal team threatened to terminate the merger due to the company’s attempts to “obfuscate and confuse the issue” regarding the amount of “spam and fake accounts.”
In May, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted that company’s “internal estimates” show that the number of fake accounts “for the last four quarters were all well under 5%.”