Elon Musk vs Twitter lawsuit: the two parties pass the buck

Elon Musk paid analysts to prove that the number of fake accounts is higher than that claimed by Twitter. But the results are nuanced.





SourceAFP


Elon Musk argues that the proportion of spam “far” exceeds the 5% of accounts estimated by Twitter.
© STR Photo / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

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LThe trial only begins in three weeks, but Elon Musk and Twitter continue to advance arguments to justify their point of view in this divorce without marriage. On July 8, when the American billionaire pledged to buy the social network (a contract worth 44 billion dollars), he finally backtracked, arguing that the proportion of fake accounts on the network was “far more high” than that estimated by the platform. But, according to Twitter’s lawyers, the analysts paid by Elon Musk to prove this did not prove that the very wealthy businessman was right.

Twitter and Elon Musk discussed on Tuesday, through their lawyers, the legal elements to provide during a preliminary hearing in the United States organized via Zoom. Elon Musk’s lawyers have again called for access to more data on inauthentic or automated accounts, and methods for calculating the number of “monetizable and daily active users”.

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Elon Musk indeed argues, in his letter of July 8 announcing the breach of contract, that the proportion of spam “greatly” exceeds the 5% of accounts estimated by Twitter. But two data analytics firms the businessman hired, Cyabra and CounterAction, put the rate at 11% and 5.3%, respectively, said Brad Wilson, a Twitter attorney. “None of these reports even remotely support what Musk said to Twitter and the world in his July 8 letter,” Wilson said.

At the beginning of July, the San Francisco-based group launched legal proceedings against Elon Musk, to force him to honor the acquisition contract signed at the end of April. According to the board of directors, the question of false accounts is a pretext put forward by the multi-billionaire, who would have changed his mind when he saw the value of companies falling on the stock market in recent months.

” Heart of the matter “

“Let’s skip the rhetoric and get to the heart of the matter,” exclaimed Judge Kathaleen McCormick, after more than three hours of argument where both sides accused each other of obstructing or abusing attorney-client privilege. .

Those of Elon Musk believe in particular that Twitter asks them too much information about their exchanges with Peiter Zatko, former chief of security of the social network turned whistleblower, who accused his former company this summer of having concealed vulnerabilities. computers and lied about his fight against fake accounts.

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In early September, the judge allowed the defense to include these accusations in their arguments. Before this surprise intervention, the market gave the advantage to Twitter, the law being a priori favorable to the respect of contracts. The president of the court granted the company a speedy trial, while the multi-billionaire wanted to wait until next year and requested astronomical amounts of data.

The trial is due to take place from October 17 to 21 in a specialized court in the state of Delaware (east coast of the United States), shortly after Elon Musk’s closed-door testimony, which was postponed to October 6 and 7. , according to the summons consulted by AFP.

The legal battle could lead to “a settlement, payment of a breach of contract fee, an obligation to take over Twitter as planned and a myriad of other outcomes,” said Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities in a note Tuesday. The analyst also continues to believe “possible that the parties negotiate behind the scenes”.


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