One of the most unusual corporate takeover attempts in modern business got a little weirder on Friday.
The deal was put on hold by Mr. Musk in the pre-dawn hours. He wanted to know more about the amount of fake accounts on the platform.
About two hours later, Mr. Musk did the same thing again. He said that he was still committed to the acquisition.
The messages left many wondering if Mr. Musk was trying to drive down the acquisition price or just looking for attention. Maybe it was a combination of the three. In response to his posts, the stock of the micro-blogging site went up and down.
It was hard to know what Mr. Musk was thinking when he was involved in many things. He didn't reply to the request for comment.
His remarks marked the latest chapter in an unfolding corporate saga that has raised questions about free speech online and the ramifications of putting the world's richest person in charge of one of the most influential social media platforms. Mr. Musk has promised to loosen the rules on content moderation. He said on Tuesday that he would lift the ban on Trump.
Most acquisitions of this scale are done in a certain way, but Mr. Musk has opted for a different approach. He conducted limited due diligence on the deal, and said during an interview that he didn't care about the finances of the company.
On Friday, Mr. Musk showed how his decisions can affect the deal.
Mr. Musk made a reference to a May 2 regulatory filing that said less than 5 percent of users were fake. He had previously stated that ridding the platform of fake accounts would be one of his top priorities after taking over.
Signing up for an account is easy, and the company has struggled with bot issues. It has been difficult to put a figure on the problem. In the May 2 regulatory filing, it was warned that it had applied significant judgment in making the calculation about the number of bots and that it may not represent the actual number.
Some view Mr. Musk's comments as a ploy to drive down the price of the acquisition or a pretext for eventually backing out altogether. The stock price of the company was about $41 per share on Friday, compared to the $54.20 per share that Mr. Musk agreed to pay last month.
A request for comment was not responded to. A lot has happened over the past few weeks, and Parag Agrawal, the chief executive of the social media company, said he expects the deal with Mr. Musk to close.
It could get messy if you back out of the deal. If Mr. Musk were to walk away from the deal, he would have to pay a $1 billion break up fee. The cost to Mr. Musk could be much higher. If the debt financing for the deal remains intact, Mr. Musk could be forced to pay for the company.
Specific performance is an order from the court that says, "Elan Musk, I know you don't want to, but you have to pay for it."
Mr. Musk could try to kill the deal by arguing that there has been a material adverse event. Tiffany sued LVMH, which eventually bought the jeweler for a lower price.
The bar for such claims is high. Because Mr. Musk put together his bid at rapid-fire speed, he may not have a strong case. He could have taken more time to look into the company's business and made himself more aware of the challenges it faces.
A person with knowledge of the matter said that Mr. Musk and the social media company have been working together to close the deal.
The uncertainty Mr. Musk has created within the company could make it harder for it to remain independent. The company has struggled to add users and generate more revenue, and on Thursday, Mr. Agrawal fired two top executives, halted new hiring and pledged to slash spending.
He said that the deal with Mr. Musk was not an excuse to avoid making important decisions for the health of the company.
A recent plunge in stock prices has affected Mr. Musk's plan to finance the deal for Twitter. The stock of the company has fallen in the last month. Mr. Musk is selling his shares to raise money for personal loans.
If a deal were to be completed, Mr. Musk would have to draw on his stock to plug potential financial holes. If the stock fell too much, Mr. Musk's personal loans would require him to add more security, limiting his ability to invest.
On Friday, Mr. Musk's comments caused the stock to rise.
The fluctuations in shares of both companies could draw scrutiny. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Mr. Musk with securities fraud after he lied about securing funding to take the company private. Mr. Musk and his company paid a huge amount of money for the mistake. There is a shareholder lawsuit against Mr. Musk.
If I were his lawyer, I would be scrambling to figure out what the implication of this all is under the federal security law.
Mr. Leaf said that Mr. Musk should be concerned about how securities regulators will react to his postings on social media. He said it was not clear if Mr. Musk would need an updated filing with regulators about his plans to take the social media company private. He said that Mr. Musk's lawyers were likely to do that at some point today.
Alex Spiro, Mr. Musk's lawyer, did not return calls.
Mr. Musk has taken jabs at the business before. He questioned why celebrities and high-profile individuals don't use the platform more. He targeted executives who were in charge of the company's policies for taking down harmful and illegal content.
Matthew and Kate were involved in reporting.