Twitter whistleblower disclosures were seized upon by Elon Musk’s attorneys on Wednesday in an effort to persuade the social media site to hand up a massive quantity of data in support of their attempt to halt the billionaire’s takeover offer. The defense team for Tesla CEO Elon Musk told a US judge that the former Twitter security chief’s charges of significant security flaws and questionable behavior had strengthened their case, which had been lagging in court.
Strong accusations and a lawsuit were issued by the social media company after Musk attempted to back away from the $44 billion deal by claiming that Twitter had deceived him on the amount of fictitious or spam accounts. During a 90-minute session on what information the company should be required to turn over before their October trial, Musk attorney Alex Spiro often highlighted Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko.
Spiro said this before Judge Kathaleen McCormick in a Delaware court: “From Mr. Zatko’s perspective, management had no ambition to accurately quantify the incidence of bot accounts.” Analysts had projected that the social media network would triumph against the erratic billionaire, and Twitter had won several early fights in the lawsuit, including a quick trial date.
Musk’s lawyers have nonetheless seized on Zatko’s whistleblower report to US authorities, which appeared on Tuesday, to attempt to advance the case.
They want a second chance
Spiro said that the information is required to show Twitter was deceitful about spam accounts and urged the court to force the company to turn up billions of “data sets,” including user telephone numbers and locations. Bradley Wilson, a lawyer for Twitter, argued in response that no one was misled by the business and that Musk is requesting a “do-over” over the questions he ought to have asked before making his unsolicited buyout bid earlier this year.
Twitter has noted that Musk chose not to do the standard due diligence associated with merger negotiations, but Spiro informed the court that the billionaire trusted the company’s SEC filings. One of the parties to whom Zatko’s complaint was sent was the market watchdog. It claims that Twitter has misrepresented account counts because “correct measures would undermine the company’s worth if they ever became public.”
Whether the lawsuit and Musk’s lawyers’ use of it would alter the path of the litigation was not immediately evident. Zatko’s influence could become more apparent following his scheduled hearing before US Congress on September 13; the court has not yet made a decision on Musk’s lawyers’ data requests.
According to Twitter’s attorney Wilson, one of the reasons it resists sharing certain data is that it could go against legal protections for user privacy. He described Musk’s crew as wanting a second chance and wanting to retell the spam.
They want to gather all of the reviewers’ data so that, I assume, their experts may conduct their own count and perhaps arrive at a different conclusion. Twitter’s lawyers claim that even if Musk’s experts reach a different judgment on the volume of spam accounts at the company, it would not constitute a material breach that would allow him to violate the buyout agreement.