Elon Musk goes all in to settle takeover dispute, subpoenas Twitter’s whistleblower

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Elon Musk

Key points:

  • Elon Musk’s lawyers have subpoenaed the former Head of Security at Twitter, Peiter Zatko
  • Tesla’s owner is aggressively seeking documents on Twitter’s spam and bot accounts
  • Musk says that Twitter misled him about the actual number of bot accounts on the platform

There’s a new twist to the Twitter-Musk saga. The billionaire has subpoenaed Twitter’s former Head of Security, Peiter Zatko. Zatko had accused Twitter of faulty spam policies and a bunch of security vulnerabilities. Over the past few months, Musk is involved in a rollercoaster takeover battle with Twitter. 

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What does Elon Musk want?

In April 2022, Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $44 billion. However, because of a bunch of obligatory and compliance issues, Musk informed Twitter he is walking away from the deal in July. Since then, Musk and Twitter have locked horns and taken legal action against each other. 

The story took an unexpected turn when Twitter’s ex-employee, Peiter Zatko sued Twitter. He said that Twitter has failed to take action against bots and spam accounts and also failed to safeguard the platform against hackers. 

Analysts responded to this news by saying that Zatko’s claims could aid Musk’s legal argument. 

Just a week after Zatko blew the whistle, Musk’s legal team has subpoenaed him, seeking documents pertaining to Twitter’s bot and spam accounts. Besides, the billionaire is also motivated to find information about potential attempts to hide security vulnerabilities. 

The purpose of the subpoena is to persuade Zatko to provide any documents he may have about Twitter’s bot concerns and any other information he may have on Twitter’s metrics for identifying users who may be “monetized” for advertising. The information demand also focuses on Zatko’s knowledge of Twitter’s securities filings, including its claims that around 5% of its users are bots, according to court documents.

Musk claims Twitter deceived him and authorities regarding the actual number of spam or bot accounts on the microblogging network. 

Zatko’s Twitter stint

In 2020, Twitter hired “Mudge”—a well-known hacker—to strengthen the company’s security following a massive attack that targeted 130 well-known accounts.

In a whistleblower lawsuit, he claimed that the firm had misled customers, board members, and the federal government about the effectiveness of its security protocols. He left his position as Twitter’s head of security this year.

Twitter has dismissed Zatko’s claims and stated that his dismissal was because of poor leadership and performance.

Musk vs Twitter, who will come out on top?

While Musk and Twitter battle it out in court, Zatko’s claims could turn the legal battle in Musk’s favor. There are several accusations made by Musk and Zatko that overlap each other. In his pursuit to win the legal battle against Twitter, Musk’s legal team has subpoenaed Zatko. 

It is hard to say who will come out on top at the moment, but we can still guess, right? Share your thoughts and let us know what you think. Are you team Musk or team Twitter?

PEOPLE ALSO READ: Google, Twitter and Facebook sued in a $300b Australian class-action lawsuit

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Feature Image Source: “Daniel Oberhaus (2018)” used under the license Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

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Karandeep is a technical content writer based out of Pune, a city in India that is also known as the Oxford of the East. His journey with writing started in 2014 when he decided to try his luck in a gaming startup as a Content Developer. Since then, he has written on a wide range of topics within the gaming and the tech space. Apart from his love for gaming, Karandeep is keeping tabs on the hottest trends in the tech industry. After completing his Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA) from Symbiosis International University, Pune, he worked as an intern in an NGO that focused on urban development.
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