Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton launched an investigation of Twitter on Monday over allegations that the company has misrepresented the number of bots on its platform, a claim that if true, would have harmed consumers and businesses that use Twitter.
“A large number of bot accounts not only reduces users’ experience on the platform, but may also inflate the value of the company and the costs of doing business with it, thus directly harming consumers and businesses – specifically, Texas consumers and businesses,” said a Paxton’s office in a statement to Fox Business.
“Texans 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,” said Paxton.
The move by the State of Texas comes amid escalating tension in Elon Musk’s bid to take over Twitter, which has seen the SpaceX and Tesla CEO allege that there are significantly more bots on Twitter than the company claims.
Musk has said that if 25 percent of the users of Twitter are bots, the deal should “absolutely” cost 25 percent less.
As Breitbart News’ Lucas Nolan reported:
Musk has recently been skeptical of Twitter’s official numbers on the presence of bots on its platform, tweeting: “I’m worried that Twitter has a disincentive to reduce spam, as it reduces perceived daily users.” In a separate tweet, he added: “They still refuse to explain how they calculate that 5% of daily users are fake/spam! Very suspicious.”
Musk stated last week that his takeover deal was reliant on transparency relating to spam and bot accounts on Twitter. “20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher. My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate,” Musk stated.
Texas has led one of the most wide-ranging state-level efforts to promote consumer rights in the face of growing Big Tech power. Attorney general Paxton is leading a multi-state antitrust effort against Google, and Texas has also passed a bill, currently being contested in the courts, that is arguably the most aggressive attempt to curtail Big Tech censorship.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election. Follow him on Twitter @LibertarianBlue.