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Disney knew Twitter had bots however wished to purchase it anyway


Elon Musk wanted to buy Twitter. Then he determined he didn’t.

Bob Iger can relate.

In 2016, Iger, then the CEO of Disney, had satisfied himself that his company should own Twitter as a result of it will be a superb technique to distribute Disney’s content material world wide. Then, shortly earlier than the 2016 US presidential election, he bailed out.

Iger has instructed elements of this story earlier than, nevertheless it at all times appeared complicated to me: In his 2019 memoir, he mentioned the boards of each Disney and Twitter had agreed to the deal, however then he had second ideas due to the “nastiness” rampant at Twitter.

Really? Wasn’t the nastiness readily obvious to anybody who’d ever used the service for a second, not to mention to somebody who was able to spend billions on it?

But at the moment we received an extended model of the story, relayed by Iger on the Code Conference, in response to a query from The Verge’s Alex Heath. In this one, Iger says that Twitter would have been a “phenomenal” distribution platform for Disney however that it will have include too many complications. Among them: bots. (Sound acquainted?)

Here’s Iger, in his personal phrases:

“We have been intent on going into the streaming enterprise. We wanted a know-how resolution. We have all this nice IP. We weren’t a know-how firm. How will we get that IP to customers world wide? … And we have been kicking tires left and proper. We considered growing ourselves. Five years, $500 million. It wasn’t the cash, it was the time, as a result of the world was altering quick. And on the identical time, we heard that Twitter was considering a sale.

“We enter the method instantly, Twitter as the answer: a international distribution platform. It was seen as kind of a social community. We have been viewing it as one thing utterly completely different. We might put information, sports activities, leisure, [and] attain the world. And frankly, it will have been an exceptional resolution, distribution-wise.

“Then, after we offered the entire idea to the Disney board and the Twitter board, and we’re actually able to execute — the negotiation was nearly performed — I went house, contemplated it for a weekend, and thought, ‘I’m not this as fastidiously as I would like to take a look at it.’ Yes, it’s a fantastic resolution from a distribution perspective. But it will include so many different challenges and complexities that as a manager of a fantastic international model, I used to be not ready to tackle a serious distraction and having to handle circumstances that weren’t even near something that we had confronted earlier than.

“Interestingly sufficient, as a result of I learn the information as of late, we did look very fastidiously at all the Twitter customers — I assume they’re known as customers? — and we at that time estimated with a few of Twitter’s assist {that a} substantial portion — not a majority — weren’t actual.

“I don’t bear in mind the quantity however we discounted the worth closely. But that was constructed into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was fairly low cost.

“Then you must look, after all, in any respect the hate speech and potential to do as a lot hurt pretty much as good. We’re within the enterprise of producing enjoyable at Disney — of doing nothing however good, regardless that there are others at the moment that criticize Disney for the other, which is flawed. This was simply one thing that we weren’t able to tackle and I used to be not able to tackle because the CEO of an organization and I believed it will have been irresponsible.”

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