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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

Elon Musk asked Twitter to use 'Trump' as a search term to help calculate the number of fake accounts, report says

Elon Musk asked Twitter to use 'Trump' as a search term to help calculate the number of fake accounts, report says

Elon Musk asked Twitter to use "Trump" as a search term during an investigation of the number of fake accounts on the platform, documents show.
In a July 29 email, Musk's attorney Silpa Maruri made a request that the former President's name be used in search terms, as his name was often linked to bots on the platform, Bloomberg reported.

"Trump is relevant for the reasons we explained, namely that the name is often associated with spam, false accounts, and bots," Maruri said.

This request was rejected by Twitter, with the company's lawyer Bradley Wilson saying he was "unpersuaded" by the need to look for "Trump," Bloomberg reported. Bradley said he was among "many irrelevant subjects" that would produce too many search results.

Twitter permanently banned Trump two days after the January 6 storming of the Capitol building in Washington DC that the former president was accused of inciting. Analysis in 2016 found Trump regularly interacted with bot accounts.

Musk said in May that he would overturn Trump's ban once he had control of Twitter.

The emails were part of a huge release of correspondence from Musk and Twitter execs about the deal, which also included messages by Musk to former CEO Jack Dorsey, podcaster Joe Rogan, and current chief executive Parag Agrawal.

Musk's $44 billion takeover collapsed in July when the Tesla CEO accused Twitter of failing to accurately disclose the number of fake accounts.

The lawyers also argued in emails over the inclusion of search terms including "Bangalore" and "New Delhi", per Bloomberg, after Musk's lawyers "recently learned Twitter filed a lawsuit against the government in Bangalore challenging orders blocking certain user accounts."

"That Twitter filed suit in response to blocking orders already issued strongly suggests an investigation(s) had been underway during the negotiation period and before the time the merger agreement was executed," the lawyers said.

Twitter didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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