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Elon Musk breaks silence on Twitter deal controversy with meme that may reveal his strategy

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

After going silent on social media for several days, billionaire Elon Musk responded to the controversy over his decision to pull out of his deal to purchase Twitter early Monday — tweeting out a meme of him laughing after Twitter reportedly lawyered up to enforce the agreement.

News broke Friday that Musk is seeking to terminate his agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion because he claims Twitter refused to turn over information that would enable him to calculate the number of fake or spam accounts on the platform. Musk's decision was upsetting to many people who had come to believe his prospective takeover of Twitter would make the company less hostile towards free speech and end the censorship of prominent conservative figures, including former Republican President Donald Trump.

It was also upsetting to Twitter Inc., which hired lawyers from a high-powered business firm to sue Musk to complete the deal, Bloomberg reported.

Instead of commenting on the controversy directly, Musk tweeted a meme showing him laughing at different captions.

"They said I couldn’t buy Twitter; Then they wouldn’t disclose bot info," the captions read. "Now they want to force me to buy Twitter in court; Now they have to disclose bot info in court."

The tweet to his 100.9 million followers quickly went viral, gathering more than 870,000 likes and over 104,000 retweets.

Shortly thereafter, Musk tweeted another meme showing famed martial artist and actor Chuck Norris winning a chess match with only one piece remaining.

"Chuckmate," Musk wrote.

The memes were Musk's first public statements since his attorneys sent a letter to Twitter on Friday alleging the company had "made false and misleading representations" when the Tesla CEO agreed to purchase the company for $54.20 per share.

Attorney Mike Ringler wrote that Twitter had refused to hand over data and information Musk needed to "make an independent assessment of the prevalence of fake or spam accounts on Twitter's platform."

Twitter has claimed that spam accounts comprise fewer than 5% of the users on its website. Musk has claimed the number is much greater and has asserted Twitter will not turn over data that would permit him to make a more accurate assessment.

Twitter chairman of the board Bret Taylor responded to Musk's attorney Friday, tweeting: "The Twitter Board is committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk and plans to pursue legal action to enforce the merger agreement. We are confident we will prevail in the Delaware Court of Chancery.”

Musk's meme suggests he views Twitter's impending lawsuit as an opportunity to finally have his questions about fake Twitter users answered in court.

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