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Musk challenges Twitter CEO to ‘public debate’ amid legal dispute

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Before Elon Musk and Twitter head to court, the billionaire wants to meet on the debate stage.

In a tweet on Saturday, the 51-year-old entrepreneur challenged Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, 38, to a public debate about the number of bot accounts on its platform. Bots, or fake accounts, are one of the reasons Musk’s legal team claims he can back out of his agreement to purchase Twitter for $44 billion.

“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage,” Musk wrote in the post, which came in response to a tweet about the company’s lawsuit against him.

“Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!” he added.

Later that day, Musk opened a Twitter poll asking his 102 million followers to vote whether bot accounts on the platform were less than 5 percent of its user base. With the only two choices being “Yes” and “Lmaooo no,” the latter won with nearly 65 percent of the vote and 822,000 users participating.

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“Twitter has spoken…” Musk said of the results.

Agrawal has not yet publicly responded to Musk’s debate challenge, and Twitter had no comment when reached by PEOPLE. Twitter has defended itself from Musk’s accusations in court filings ahead of their October trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery.

In documents shared online by Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor last week, the company said Musk did not ask for “any representations” regarding false or spam accounts on the network when he offered to buy the platform, nor did they provide a number. They also claimed Musk did not attempt to verify the number of fake accounts before agreeing to the April merger.

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The documents stated that the company believed Musk is focusing on the fake accounts to “escape a merger agreement that Musk no longer found attractive.”

In a counterclaim, Musk’s legal team accused Twitter of holding back information about its business after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO agreed to the acquisition.

“[Twitter] has dragged its feet in responding to the Musk Parties’ data requests and has repeatedly provided sanitized, incomplete information that it admits does not answer the Musk Parties’ most basic questions,” reads the counterclaim.

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“Twitter filed a response to Mr. Musk’s counterclaims. His claims are factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant,” Taylor wrote in his statement. “We look forward to the trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery.”

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