Disney found ‘substantial portion’ of Twitter users fake in 2016, former CEO said

Bob Iger, who served as the CEO of Disney between 2005-2020, revealed on Wednesday that they found a significant amount of Twitter users were fake in 2016, when the entertainment giant was considering the acquisition of the social media company. 

As reported by Reuters, Iger made his comments during the second day of Vox Media’s Code Conference which he joined as a speaker. He said that the boards of the Walt Disney and Twitter were getting ready for the acquisition talks in 2016, until they discovered that a “substantial portion’’, but ‘’not a majority“, of the social media platform’s users were ‘’not real’’. 

I remember discounting the value,” he said. However, he didn’t elaborate on the word ‘’substantial’’. According to Twitter, only less than 5% of its monetizable daily users (mDAU) are spam or bot accounts. 

Iger also addressed the acquisition talks in his memoir ‘’The Ride of a Lifetime’’, which was published in 2019. In the book, he says he had doubts about the deal due to the “nastiness” of the discourse on Twitter. 

Iger’s words arrive amidst the ongoing legal battle of Twitter and Elon Musk. While he didn’t specifically mention Elon Musk during the conference, he said: “Interestingly enough, because I read the news these days, we did look very carefully at all of the Twitter users,’’ just before revealing their discovery. 

Musk offered to buy the company for $44 billion in April, but later decided to terminate the deal alleging that the company was not being transparent about the number of fake accounts on the platform. Not long after, he was sued by Twitter for attempting to abandon the deal, and he countersued the company accusing them of fraud for misrepresenting key user metrics. He also subpoenaed advertising companies Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify to share their records related to Twitter’s audit. 

Meanwhile, Twitter’s former Head of Security Peiter Zatko recently filed a whistleblower complaint against the social media company, alleging that Twitter misled the FTC on hackers and spam accounts

During a hearing which took place on Tuesday, the Delaware judge overseeing the trial said that Musk can amend his countersuit including the whistleblower complaint. However, she rejected Musk’s demand to postpone the trial from October 17 to November, as reported by the Wall Street Journal

Written by Jordan Bevan

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