Jamie Dimon says Musk should ‘clean up Twitter,’ echoes Tesla CEO’s bot concerns

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JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon speaks at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., November 23, 2021.
Brian Snyder | Reuters

Jamie Dimon appears to be a fan of Elon Musk’s $44 billion Twitter takeover.

“I hope Musk cleans up Twitter,” the JPMorgan CEO told CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum, adding he thinks Musk should look into eliminating anonymous accounts from the site.

The remarks are Dimon’s first specifically talking about the Musk-Twitter deal, which was revived last week after a fresh bid from the Tesla CEO to buy the social media platform at the $54.20 a share price they initially agreed on back in April.

In a CNBC interview at the JPM Techstars conference in London which aired Tuesday, Dimon echoed Musk’s concerns about the number of spam accounts on Twitter, and said the company should give users more control over its recommendation algorithms.

“Why can’t Twitter know who you are when you come on board, so they can eliminate all those people in the public square who are robots and emails and stuff like that?” Dimon said.

“Why can’t they give you a choice of algorithms? As opposed to one that just jazzes you up,” he added.

Musk has made no secret of his concerns with fake accounts on Twitter. In an April statement announcing his intention to buy the company, Musk spoke of “defeating the spam bot, and authenticating all real humans.” He said he also wants to make Twitter’s ranking algorithm open source and promote free speech on the platform.

‘Elon is very smart’

Dimon’s comments jar with some behind-the-scenes clashes between the two corporate leaders.

In November 2021, JPMorgan sued Tesla for $162.2 million for allegedly breaching a 2014 contract relating to stock warrants that Tesla sold to the bank.

The lawsuit centered on a dispute over how the bank repriced the warrants following Musk’s infamous 2018 take-private tweet.

The suit was the subject of a report by the Wall Street Journal that said Musk and Dimon have never gotten along. Per the Journal, the pair’s efforts to patch things up didn’t work out, and JPMorgan has long distanced itself from Tesla and Musk.

On Monday, however, Dimon praised Musk. “In my view, Elon is very smart,” he said.

‘They’re big boys’

JPMorgan was notably absent from the roster of banks lining up to provide $13 billion in debt financing for Musk’s purchase of Twitter, with Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Barclays among the lenders that agreed to raise the funds.

However, a deterioration in credit markets has led to worries over how Musk’s financing will come together. According to Bloomberg calculations, banks could be on the line for losses of $500 million or more if they proceed with selling the debt now.

“They’re big boys, they can deal with it,” Dimon said when asked about the financing concerns.

Twitter and Musk have been in an endless back-and-forth over whether to go through with the deal. Musk is concerned the company isn’t doing enough to tackle manipulation of the platform via bots. Twitter says it has been honest with Musk in disclosing how many of its users are authentic.

In April, Musk and Twitter agreed to have the social media firm acquired by the Tesla CEO for $54.20 a share. In July, Musk attempted to back out of the deal, citing red flags around the company’s handling of bots. Twitter subsequently sued Musk in an attempt to force him to complete the deal.

Twitter and Musk were due to go to trial on Oct. 17 in Delaware to resolve the billionaire’s attempt to cancel the acquisition unless they reached a settlement first. Musk wanted Twitter to end its litigation against him to finalize the deal. However, Twitter refused to oblige.

Musk won a slight reprieve on Thursday, with a Delaware Chancery Court judge ruling he now has until Oct. 28 to close the deal if he wants to avoid trial.

Sophie Tremblay

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