Either Elon Musk is proving to be a master manipulator of the markets or he’s literally shitting where he sleeps. The billionaire Tesla owner has seemingly put a pause on his purchase of social media platform Twitter, saying that he needed to conduct a thorough background check on some of the company’s data. Namely, the bot problem.

According to a report by CNN, Musk has said that his US$44 billion purchase of Twitter is currently on hold while his team investigates exactly what percentage of Twitter users are bots. According to data released by Twitter, they believe that a mere five per cent of its whopping 226 million users are false, or spam, accounts.

This is, of course, a sensible investigation and all part of the due diligence one would take prior to purchasing a company for an amount of money that could also pretty much solve world hunger or help with the growing homelessness problem in the United States.

It’s also a problem of Twitter’s own making. The company admitted that their estimation was not independently verified and the final number could in fact be much higher. But the issue of fake or spam accounts is one that’s well known, and they’ve been a growing problem that Musk would have been well aware of.

But what makes it questionable is the manner in which Musk announced this potential pause. The technology billionaire took to Twitter to tell the world that he was undertaking a proper investigation and pausing the purchase. This caused a rapid dropping of Twitter’s share prices, as much as 20 per cent, in the time that followed.

Analysts have theorised that this could be a tactic by Musk to demand a lower purchase price, if not back out at the 11th hour all together. Should Musk walk back his offer, it would cost him a US$1 billion break up fee – still an eye watering amount for the rest of us but a walk in the park for Musk

This wouldn’t be the first time Elon Musk used Twitter to, ahem, manipulate his own market. Last year, Musk used his spot on SNL to “non-endorse” crytpcurrency Dogecoin causing it to nosedive after previously boosting it on Twitter.