Early Friday morning, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet that his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter is on hold, due to a report about spam accounts on the social network being fewer than previously thought.

After Elon announced he was pausing the acquisition of Twitter, shares plunged 24 percent in the premarket.

In his tweet, Musk wrote:

“Twitter deal is temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”

According to NPR, Musk announced the surprising move by sharing an article from Reuters with details on the alleged number of fake accounts on Twitter.

After the sale price was reached between Twitter and Elon, a federal filing from the company said “of the 229 million Twitter users who saw advertising in the first quarter of 2022, less than 5% were fake accounts.”

With this number, it may be lower than what Musk expected, as he’s been tweeting in recent weeks about his aims to get rid of bot accounts while looking at ways to monetize the service further. Musk said that handling bots on the platform will be a top priority.

According to the report:

“Twitter said in the filing it faced several risks until the deal with Musk is closed, such as whether advertisers would continue to spend on Twitter and ‘potential uncertainty regarding our future plans and strategy.’”

I’ve seen wide reports that ‘nearly half’ of Elon Musk’s 90 million Twitter followers are fake. Musk has surely seen those reports as well. And it’s possible those reports might’ve prompted Elon to pause the Twitter acquisition until he figures how the real number of fake accounts.

Sources: TheGatewayPundit, Reuters, NPR