In the never-ending saga that involves Elon Musk and Twitter, it now looks like the $44 billion acquisition might not come through at all. The billionaire recently announced that the deal “cannot move forward” until Twitter proves the authenticity of its user base. 

Musk put out his comment in a reply to a Twitter used named ‘Teslarati’ who claimed that the 50-year-old was trying to secure a better deal on the Twitter acquisition. This isn’t the first time the billionaire has shown skepticism around the Twitter deal. Musk made a similar remark at the Miami tech conference yesterday, where he admitted that bots make up at least 20 percent of Twitter’s entire user base. 

The Tesla CEO was quoted as saying, “Currently what I’m being told is that there’s just no way to know the number of bots. It’s like, as unknowable as the human soul.” In the same event, the CEO also mentioned that a viable deal at a lower price “wouldn’t be out of the question.”

This has sparked speculation that the world’s richest man might be trying to back out of the deal. Musk who offered to buy the micro-blogging site for a staggering $44 billion, had to borrow half of his investment, around $13 billion, from Wall Street. Meanwhile, $12.5 billion was secured against his Tesla stock, which saw a nosedive in its share prices.  

Musk’s attempt to get clarity on Twitter’s number has led to a very public spat with the current Twitter CEO, Parag Agarwal, who recently shared the data on the number of spam accounts the site suspends every day and how the team identifies them. He went on to say, “we don’t believe this specific estimation can be performed externally, given the critical need to use both public and private information (which we can’t share).” 

To which, Musk replied with a turd emoji. He tweeted later, “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.” The billionaire has suggested that the platform should start publicly sampling 100 accounts and identifying the number of bots as verification from the sample size. 

With every passing day, the Twitter-Musk story only gets complex. If the billionaire does back out of the deal, he may have to face penalties of up to a billion dollars, which would still be cheaper considering the amount of money involved. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.