Tesla chief Elon Musk says there are also questions about Twitter's debt and whether shareholders will vote for the deal.

Musk says he wants to get 80 percent of the North American population and half the world's population onto Twitter.
Musk says he wants to get 80 percent of the North American population and half the world's population onto Twitter. (AFP Archive)

Business magnate Elon Musk has said his $44-billion move to take over Twitter remained held up by "very significant" questions about the number of fake users on the social network.

Musk was reluctant to talk about the deal when asked at the Qatar Economic Forum, saying it was a "sensitive" matter. "There are still a few unresolved matters," Musk said by video link on Tuesday.

This includes whether "the number of fake and spam users on the system is less than five percent as per their claims, which I think is probably not most people's experience when using Twitter", he said.

"So we are still awaiting resolution on that matter and that is a very significant matter," the Tesla car and SpaceX exploration chief said.

His remarks came on the day a regulatory filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Twitter's board has recommended unanimously that shareholders approve the proposed sale.

Even though Musk reiterated his desire to move forward with the acquisition last week during a virtual meeting with Twitter employees, shares of Twitter remain far below his offering price, signalling considerable doubt that it will happen.

Shares rose about 3 percent to $38.98 before the opening bell on Tuesday, far short of the $54.20 per-share that Musk has offered for each share.

If the deal were to close now, investors in the company would pocket a profit of $15.22 for each share they own.

READ MORE: Twitter to share 'firehose' of data at centre of Musk deal dispute

'Drive the product'

Speaking at the economic forum, Musk said there were also questions about Twitter's debt and whether shareholders will vote for the deal.

Musk added that he wanted to get 80 percent of the North American population and half the world's population onto Twitter.

"That means it must be something that is appealing to people, it obviously can't be a place where they feel uncomfortable or harassed or they will simply not use it."

"I think there is this big difference between freedom of speech and freedom of reach," Musk added.

"You are allowed to yell whatever you want in a public space, more or less. But whatever you say, however controversial, doesn't need to then be broadcast to the whole country.

"So I think generally the approach of Twitter should be to let people say what they want within the balance of the law but then limit who sees that based on any given Twitter user preferences."

He said that if the deal went ahead his role would be to "drive the product", saying this is what he did at Tesla and SpaceX.

READ MORE: Elon Musk threatens to tear up Twitter deal over fake accounts data

Source: TRTWorld and agencies