Elon Musk is looking for a way out of his US$44 billion deal, according to a report from The Washington Post.

The report predicts a “change in direction from Musk’s team,” adding that Musk and friends have reportedly “stopped engaging in certain discussions” relating to the deal funding.

Musk had threatened to walk away from his original offer to buy Twitter for US$44 billion. The billionaire called for a review of claims on Twitter’s spam accounts after his team concluded that Twitter’s numbers on spam accounts could not be verified.

Fake social media accounts have been problematic for years, as advertisers use the number of users provided by the social media platform to determine how they spend money. Spam bots are used to amplify messages and spread disinformation.

While Twitter acknowledges the problem of fake accounts, the company points out that not all automated accounts are malicious bots.

Debunking Musk’s claims, Twitter said in a conference call that spam accounts represent well below 5 per cent of its active user base each quarter.

To calculate how many accounts are malicious spam, Twitter said it reviews ‘thousands of accounts’ sampled at random using both public and private data such as IP addresses, phone numbers, geolocation, and how the account behaves when it is active to determine whether an account is genuine.

The sources for this piece include an article in TechCrunch.