Image: Stephanie Jones
Former Disney CEO confirmed that Twitter has a large number of bots, which was exposed in a failed acquisition in 2016. This is further evidence that the platform has been ignoring this issue for years, and Elon Musk's concerns about it are correct.
Preparations for the lawsuit to terminate the deal to buy Twitter by Elon Musk continue. Musk, who among others initially cited the problem of the platform's high bot accounts that were hidden by Twitter in filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, is finding more evidence that he is right.
Former Disney CEO, Bob Iger, at the Code Conference, in response to a question from The Verge's Alex Heath, revealed a few details about Twitter. In 2016, he convinced himself that his company should own Twitter because it would be a great way to distribute Disney content around the world, according to Vox. However, the deal never went through due to many issues on the platform, including the number of bot accounts.
Iger said that Disney was about to enter the streaming business. The company needed a technology solution that they saw on Twitter, that offered a global distribution platform. Both companies were already ready for a deal and the negotiations were almost completed, but several problems still stopped Disney.
“Then, after we sold the whole concept to the Disney board and the Twitter board, and we're really ready to execute — the negotiation was just about done — I went home, contemplated it for a weekend, and thought, 'I' m not looking at this as carefully as I need to look at it.' Yes, it's a great solution from a distribution perspective. But it would come with so many other challenges and complexities that as a manager of a great global brand, I was not prepared to take on a major distraction and having to manage circumstances that weren't even close to anything that we had faced before.”
Iger said that in those days, he took a very close look at all Twitter users and with some help from the platform, estimated that a significant portion of them were bots. Although Iger does not remember the exact figure of bot accounts, Disney heavily discounted the value of Twitter based on this information and got a “pretty cheap” price.
“Interestingly enough, because I read the news these days, we did look very carefully at all of the Twitter users — I guess they're called users? — and we at that point estimated with some of Twitter's help that a substantial portion — not a majority were not real.
“I don't remember the number but we discounted the value heavily. But that was built into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was pretty cheap.”
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.