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Elon Musk claims ‘biggest bot attack’ ruined his attempt to solve Ukraine-Russia war

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Elon Musk has claimed that a ‘bot attack’ from Ukrainians is affecting a Twitter poll he made hypothesizing an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The head of Tesla and SpaceX proposed that annexed regions should redo elections under the supervision of the United Nations, with Russia leaving “if that is the will of the people”. Crimea would become a part of Russia once again, with “water supply to Crimea assured” while “Ukraine remains neutral”.

The billionaire added: “This is highly likely to be the outcome in the end – just a question of how many die before then”; in a follow-up tweet, he also said that “a possible, albeit unlikely, outcome from this conflict is nuclear war”.

Later, Mr Musk added: “Russia is doing partial mobilization. They go to full war mobilization if Crimea is at risk. Death on both sides will be devastating. Russia has >3 times population of Ukraine, so victory for Ukraine is unlikely in total war. If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace.”

In response to the poll, which had 60 per cent of responders answer ‘no’, Mr Musk said that the results indicated the “biggest bot attack I’ve ever seen”, and that “the bot attack on this poll is strong!”

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Mr Musk did not provide any evidence of the bot attach. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

Mr Musk then tweeted another poll, asking users to reply with yes or no to the question, “the will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine”.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted his own poll in response, asking his 6.6m Twitter followers to choose which Elon Musk they “liked more”, one who “supports Ukraine” or one who “supports Russia.”

Mr Musk replied: “I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.”

Mr Musk’s apparent concern with Twitter bots has plagued him since he made an offer to purchase the social media company on 14 April, and he has consistently claimed that the number of fake users on Twitter should allow him to renege on the deal.

However, Mr Musk was aware that Twitter had a significant number of bots, explicitly mentioning it in his press statement announcing the purchase of the social media company. Mr Musk waived his right to due diligence before making his bid.

Twitter head Parag Agrawal had previously published a long thread in which he said he would take on the issue “with the benefit of data, facts, and context”.

He said that Twitter estimated that the number of fake accounts was actually “well under” 5 per cent. But he also said that only Twitter could provide that estimate, because it relied on private information that Twitter was unable to share. Mr Musk responded by sending Mr Agrawal the poop emoji.

Twitter and Mr Musk are due in court on 17 October for a trial that will decide whether the world’s richest man will be forced to complete the acquisition of Twitter.