A whistleblower’s claims may help Elon Musk in his Twitter lawsuit

A whistleblower’s claims may help Elon Musk in his Twitter lawsuit
FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

You may remember that Elon Musk (super-rich guy, CEO of Tesla, internet troll) made a US$44 billion deal to buy Twitter earlier this year. And then he tried to back out of that agreement, stirring up legal trouble. Musk claimed Twitter hadn’t provided the necessary information on fake/bot accounts on the platform, so he should be able to walk away. Twitter sued him for the failed deal, and we’re still waiting to see how all of that turns out. Will he or won’t he ultimately buy Twitter?

In a new development, a whistleblower named Peiter “Mudge” Zatko made a lot of claims against Twitter, including that he had raised concerns over spam accounts but had been ignored. The company’s former head of security, Zatko disclosed troubling info – from confusing bot measurements to executive misconduct and even that the Indian government had successfully infiltrated Twitter.

With this information, Musk asked a Delaware judge to let him amend his counterclaims against Twitter. He’s saying that Twitter breached the terms of the merger agreement. Zatko’s claims add to Musk’s argument to walk away from the deal without repercussions. All this considered, the judge will most likely grant this request.

Key comments:

Zatko’s SEC filing says: “The Indian government forced Twitter to hire specific individual(s) who were government agents, who (because of Twitter’s basic architectural flaws) would have access to vast amounts of Twitter sensitive data.”

“[Zatko’s claims spread a] false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context,” said A Twitter spokesperson.

“Allegations regarding certain facts, known to Twitter prior to and as of July 8, 2022, but undisclosed to the Musk Parties prior to and at that time, have since come to light that provide additional and distinct bases to terminate the Merger Agreement,” wrote Mike Ringler, Musk’s legal representative, in a letter to Twitter’s legal chief, Vijaya Gadde.