Former Disney CEO Bob Iger says the company did not purchase Twitter because of “bots” on the platform.
On Thursday, the New York Post reported that Iger told attendees at the Vox Code Conference that “hate speech” and “bots” were large factors in the decision not to purchase the platform.
Iger discussed how the company viewed Twitter and why it ultimately backed out of a planned 2016 deal.
“We were intent on going into the streaming business,” he said at the conference. “We were viewing it as something completely different. We could put news, sports, entertainment, [and] reach the world.”
He added that the purchase would have been wise for the company in some ways, but unwise in other ways. Iger had second thoughts and “contemplated it for a weekend," he added. “I’m not looking at this as carefully as I need to look at it."
“Yes, it’s a great solution from a distribution perspective,” Iger noted. “But it would come with so many other challenges and complexities that as a manager of a great global brand, I was not prepared to take on a major distraction and having to manage circumstances that weren’t even close to anything that we had faced before.”
A large factor in the decision not to purchase the company was the number of bot accounts on the platform, the central issue of the lawsuits between Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“I don’t remember the number but we discounted the value heavily,” Iger said. “But that was built into our economics. Actually, the deal that we had was pretty cheap.” Iger also said that the “hate speech” on the platform was a driving factor in dropping the planned acquisition.
“Then you have to look, of course, at all the hate speech and potential to do as much harm as good,” he said. “We’re in the business of manufacturing fun at Disney — of doing nothing but good, even though there are others today that criticize Disney for the opposite, which is wrong.”
He concluded: “This was just something that we were not ready to take on and I was not ready to take on as the CEO of a company and I thought it would have been irresponsible.”
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