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April 13, 2023
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has announced an investigation into Twitter for potentially misleading the public about the amount of “bot” accounts on the platform, which is a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
In the official announcement of the Civil Investigative Demand (CID) made by Paxton, it was revealed that Twitter has until June 27 to respond. The CID requires Twitter to turn over documents regarding how the social media company tracks and monitors bot accounts.
“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,” Paxton said in a press release Monday. “If Twitter is misrepresenting how many accounts are fake to drive up their revenue, I have a duty to protect Texans.”
Paxton’s office said spam accounts “inflate followers and reach, and often push deceptive and annoying activity.” Although Twitter reported that fewer than 5% of its users are bots in regulatory filings, the number could be as many as 20% or more, Paxton said.
“A large number of bot accounts not 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,” Paxton’s office said in a statement shared with FOX Business.
The announcement of the investigation comes after Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened to pull his offer to buy Twitter over similar concerns.
A Twitter spokesperson told The Washington Examiner that Twitter intends to “close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement at the agreed price and terms,” adding that the company “will continue to cooperatively share information with Mr. Musk to consummate the transaction.”
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AP NEWS