Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched an investigation into Twitter bots – Reuters

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a news conference after the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on President Joe Biden’s desire to repeal a Trump -era immigration policy that forced migrants to stay in Mexico to await U.S. hearings on their asylum claims, in Washington, U.S. April 26, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Monday that his office is opening an investigation on Twitter about the number of bot accounts on its platform.

“Attorney General Paxton has issued a Civil Inquiry (CID) request to determine whether Twitter’s reports of genuine anti -fake users are ‘false, misleading, or deceptive’ under the U.S. Deceptive Marketing Practices Act. Texas,” said his office in a news release. statement.

Paxton asks for details on 23 items, including detailed data on daily, monthly and profitable active social network users. It also requires “sufficient documentation to show the number of fake Twitter accounts for each month from 2017 to the present, broken down by category of fake account (i.e., fake account, spammer account, and bot account) if available “.

Paxton, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, himself was indicted on securities fraud charges seven years ago but is still not facing trial.

His investigation into Twitter was launched the same day that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, through his lawyers, threatened to reject his agreement to buy Twitter for approximately $ 44 billion because he said worry about fake accounts, spam and bots. .

In a letter they sent to Twitter on Monday, Musk’s lawyers said he had the right to access Twitter data that would help him determine the number of bots on the platform. The letter also said Twitter was “resisting and suppressing” Musk’s right to this information, which amounts to a “clear material violation” of the terms of their inclusion agreement.

Marc Fagel, a securities law expert who previously served as regional director of the SEC’s San Francisco office, said Paxton’s announcement was somewhat bizarre because such matters are not typically dealt with at the state level.

“States don’t necessarily have the equipment to do this kind of sophisticated investigation,” Fagel said. “One thing if you are dealing with a local company, but if you are talking about a national company that is publicly traded in another state, that is the province of the SEC.»

Elon Musk, at an event at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, United States, Thursday, October 10, 2019.

Bloomberg/Getty

Last year, Musk moved his electric vehicle manufacturer’s headquarters in Austin, Texas from Palo Alto, Calif., And then opened a massive Tesla factory outside of Austin this year. He also moved his residence to Texas in 2020.

SpaceX, Musk’s reusable rocket company, operates a major manufacturing and launch facility in Brownsville, Texas, and wants to expand operations while pending Federal Aviation Administration approvals.

In addition to bringing high-profile business to Texas, Musk has recently become a champion for many conservatives because of his criticism of Twitter, which has expelled several high-profile conservatives from its platform, including Trump. Last month, Musk said he plans to vote Republican in the next election.

Musk often goes to Twitter, where he has 96.8 million followers, to criticize President Joe Biden and other Democrats.

A San Francisco -based Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on Paxton’s investigation.

Some Twitter shareholders don’t want to let Musk down despite his apparent case of consumer remorse. They sued him in the state of California to ensure the deal would go to the agreed price of $ 54.20 per share.

VIEW: Twitter shares under pressure

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