Elon Musk Challenges Twitter CEO To A Public Debate

The world's richest man has challenged the CEO of Twitter to a debate. The challenge is the latest development in the Elon Musk-Twitter saga, which began when the billionaire revealed he was the social media platform's largest shareholder back in April. Following the revelation, Musk announced he wanted to buy the platform, and things escalated from there.

The Tesla owner made an initial offering of $54.20 per share, leaving him with a bill of around $44 billion. Musk even went as far as raising some of the capital through loans leveraged against his substantial Tesla stock, as well as pledging $21 billion of his own money. Twitter's board and its shareholders were happy to move ahead with the deal, but things stalled when Musk and his team voiced concern about the number of fake accounts and bots on the platform. Musk asked for proof to back up Twitter's estimates that 5% of its accounts were bots, and also demanded access to what Twitter saw as an unreasonable amount of data. When his demands were not met, the Paypal founder pulled the plug on the deal.

However, the story did not end there. Before serious negotiations took place, Musk signed a deal with Twitter that included a $1 billion break fee. The world's richest man may not get off that lightly, asĀ Twitter is currently suing Musk in an attempt to force the deal through. While there is always a possibility a judge may sympathize with Musk's bot concerns and rule in favor of the billionaire, there's every chance he'll be forced to pay the break fee. There's also a possibility Twitter might be owed damages due to the effect the whole ordeal has had on its share price, or that Musk could even get stuck with the whole $44 billion bill.

Musk calls out Twitter CEO

Musk has not taken the whole thing lying down. He has filed a countersuit against Twitter, accusing the social media platform of fraud. Twitter has responded to the countersuit with a 127 page document of its own (opens as PDF), while the company's chairman, Bret Taylor, dismissed the allegations in the countersuit as "factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant."

However, the latest developments have taken place outside of the courtroom. The entire spat has been quite public, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the South African-born entrepreneur would like to end it in public too. While replying to a data analyst who was backing his bot claims, Musk openly challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal to a debate. Musk tweeted, "I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage," adding that Agrawal should prove Twitter has less than 5% "fake or spam daily users."

Earlier in the thread, Musk tweeted that if Twitter discloses the methodology it uses to determine if an account is real or not, the deal the parties first agreed on "should proceed on original terms." On the other hand, Musk also added that the deal should not proceed if it turns out Twitter's "SEC filings are materially false." Neither Twitter nor Agrawal have responded to Musk's challenge at the time of this article's publication.