Science

Twitter lawsuit: Elon Musk unleashes his counterattack

An invitation to a public debate, filing a countercomplaint… While he is being sued by a social network for violating a $44 billion buyout agreement, the billionaire goes on the offensive.

He proposed a duel at dawn, to which we did not blink an eye. While Twitter has formally filed a complaint against him and a legal battle appears to be taking place against him, Elon Musk is offering a public debate. On his Twitter account (ironically), the earthly billionaire challenges platform boss Parag Agrawal to publicly discuss the thorny problem of fake accounts. A video posted two days after he filed his case against the company, in which he accuses the company of “fraud.”

“If Twitter just provides its method of sampling 100 accounts and how they turned out to be real, the deal should continue on the original terms,” he tweeted. Otherwise, on the other hand, “may not be so.” In his usual chutzpah, the Tesla boss also posted a survey asking his roughly 100 million followers if “less than 5% of daily Twitter users are fake/spam”, an estimate repeated several times. what the entrepreneur criticizes. Result: over 65% (out of 760,000 votes) of subscribers answered in the negative.

Why is Musk so obsessed with this topic? Not coincidentally, this argument is at the heart of the Twitter defense strategy. Recall that the Tesla boss signed a $44 billion deal to buy the social network before unilaterally canceling the contract in early July, citing the share of automated accounts and spam as grounds for termination. This figure, which exceeds initial estimates, will affect the company’s viability, he said.

A ridiculous excuse for the platform’s lawyers, who even called her a “sample of hypocrisy” a month ago. In mid-July, the social network filed a complaint with the Delaware Court of Chancery to force the founder of SpaceX to buy the network on agreed terms. Determined to avoid the multi-billion dollar damages he might have to pay in the event of a defeat, Elon Musk also filed a “confidential” complaint with the same court. His arguments were made public on Thursday.

In the 165-page document, his lawyers accuse Twitter of “covering up the truth” by saying there are 238 million daily users that can be monetized, but the reality is 65 million fewer. In addition, “the majority of ads” will only reach “less than 16 million users, which is a small fraction” of what Twitter claims.

The complaint, calling the social network’s “false representations” a “sin”, alleges that “Twitter has been desperately blocking the spread of information in a desperate attempt to prevent (Elon Musk) from discovering the scam.” He asks the court to release him from the agreement and order Twitter to pay him damages.

Response from Twitter: Musk will basically seek to “run away” from a contract that he “no longer finds attractive as the stock market has fallen.” Due to a general downturn in the stock market in recent months, a decline in social media advertising revenue related to the economic situation, and public criticism from Elon Musk, Twitter shares fell to about $32 on July 11. It was worth $42.52 on Friday, up 3.56%. The Tesla title lost 6.63% to $864.51.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has yet to respond to Elon Musk’s “challenge”. Whether there is a public debate or not, both sides will have to face each other in the Delaware Court of Chancery from October 17 anyway. And this is in 5 days. In advance, Twitter shareholders will meet on September 13 to decide whether or not to approve this acquisition, which will mean a significant capital gain.

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