Monday, June 5, 2023
HomeUncategorizedMusk and Twitter both subpoena whistleblower in takeover dispute

Musk and Twitter both subpoena whistleblower in takeover dispute

Lawyers for Elon Musk and Twitter have subpoenaed a whistleblower who says the social media platform’s officials don’t know and don’t care to find out how many accounts are spam or bot accounts as the billionaire tries to take down 440 $100 million

Twitter’s former security chief, Peiter Zatko, said in a whistleblower complaint last week that the company had “serious deficiencies” in defending against hackers and a lack of focus on privacy. Zatko also said he raised concerns with company officials about the number of bots on the system, which he claimed were ignored.

Musk seeks testimony from Zatko to support legal arguments that he can leave Twitter to deal with bots. Twitter sued Musk in July, demanding that he complete the proposed acquisition. Since then, the Delaware lawsuit has subpoenaed more than 100 people, banks, funds and other companies, with a trial set to begin Oct. 17.

The billionaire filed a court filing Monday saying he had subpoenaed Zatko, followed by a similar filing from Twitter later in the day. Zatko is also scheduled to testify on his charges before a U.S. Senate committee on September 13.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on Monday. Last week, the company called Zatko’s complaint a “false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices, riddled with inconsistent and inaccurate information, and lacking significant context.” Whistleblower Aid, the group representing Zatko, did not Respond to comment requests immediately.

The purpose of the subpoena is to get Zatko to hand over documents about his bot problems and anything else he knows about Twitter. A metric used to evaluate customers who can “monetize” for advertising purposes. The information request also focused on Zatko’s knowledge of Twitter’s securities filings, particularly its statement that bots make up about 5 percent of its customer base, according to court filings.

Musk’s lawyers said last week that they had subpoenaed Zatko, but there was no record of the information request in court until Monday.

In the complaint, Zatko said Twitter’s “integrity team” was reluctant to dig deeper into accounts that had been included in the platform’s customer base. This led the former security executive to argue that “companies have no interest in properly measuring the popularity of robots, in part because if the true numbers are made public, it could damage the company’s value and image.”

Musk argues , Twitter’s regulatory disclosure that spam and bot accounts make up no more than 5% of its customer base is misleading. The Tesla CEO has released some of his analysis of the issue, arguing that a full third of Twitter’s more than 230 million users may be in the bot category.

If that were in this case, Musk argued that it created a material adverse event that justifies his cancellation of his $54.20 per share deal under Delaware law. The state is home to more than half of all U.S. public companies, including Twitter and Tesla, and more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Its justices are commercial law experts who hear cases on a fast-track basis.

Also on Monday, two Musk advisers on Twitter, Patrick O’Malley and Kristin Saron, testified. deal, later this week. O’Malley must appear in court Aug. 30 at the Wachtell Lipton law firm in New York for an interview, while former World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. executive Saron is due to appear in court Aug. 31, court documents show.

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