Elon Musk: Twitter deal cannot progress without proof on bot numbers Tesla CEO and world’s richest person expressed concerns about presence of fake accounts on platform

Elon Musk has cast further doubt over his $44bn (£35bn) takeover of Twitter after stating the deal “cannot move forward” until the social media company proves that less than 5% of its users are fake or spam accounts.

The Tesla chief executive used his Twitter account to say the agreed deal would not progress until the firm showed proof that only a small proportion of its users were fake.

“My offer was based on Twitter’s SEC filings being accurate. Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does.”

Musk announced last week that the deal was “on hold” after he queried Twitter’s claim in filings with the US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, that a small proportion of its users were fake or spam.

Twitter shares, which have been affected by speculation that the deal might founder, were trading at $37.39 on Tuesday.

“The hard challenge is that many accounts which look fake superficially are actually real people. And some of the spam accounts which are actually the most dangerous – and cause the most harm to our users – can look totally legitimate on the surface,” he wrote.