Science

Twitter says Musk analysts have no evidence of fake accounts

At Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California on April 16, 2022. (Amy Osborne/AFP/Archive)

According to Twitter lawyers, analysts paid by Elon Musk were unable to prove that the share of fake accounts on the network was “significantly higher” than the platform’s valuation, which is the Tesla boss’s key argument to justify his rejection of the network’s takeover. agreement.

The two sides discussed on Tuesday the legal elements to be provided during a preliminary hearing in the United States, hosted via Zoom, three weeks ahead of the unprecedented $44 billion contract litigation.

Lawyers for the world’s richest man have again called for access to more data on false or fraudulent accounts, as well as methods to calculate the number of “monetizable daily active users.”

Elon Musk does claim in his July 8 email declaring a breach of contract that the proportion of spam is “significantly” higher than 5% of accounts, according to Twitter estimates.

But the two data analysis firms hired by the businessman, Cyabra and CounterAction, set the rate at 11% and 5.3% respectively, said Brad Wilson, a Twitter lawyer.

“None of these reports even remotely confirm what Mr. Musk said on Twitter and to the world in his July 8 letter,” Mr. Wilson said.

In early July, a San Francisco group sued Elon Musk to force him to honor an acquisition agreement signed in late April.

According to the board of directors, the issue of false accounts is an excuse put forward by a multi-billionaire who would change his mind if he saw the value of companies in the stock market fall in recent months.

“Essence of the question”

“Let’s drop the rhetoric and get to the heart of the matter,” Judge Kathleen McCormick exclaimed after more than three hours of argument in which both sides accused each other of obstructing or abusing attorney and client privileges.

Those belonging to Elon Musk believe, in particular, that Twitter is asking them for too much information about their exchanges with Pater Zatko, the social network’s former security chief-turned-whistleblower who this summer accused his former company of covering up computer vulnerabilities and lied about his struggle. against fake accounts.

In early September, the judge allowed the defense to include these allegations in their arguments.

Prior to this surprise intervention, the market favored Twitter because the law a priori favored compliance with contracts.

The presiding judge granted the company a speedy legal battle, while the multibillionaire wanted to wait until next year and requested astronomical amounts of data.

The trial is scheduled to take place from October 17 to 21 in a specialized court in Delaware (US East Coast), shortly after Elon Musk’s closed testimony, which was rescheduled for October 6 and 7. to the agenda being consulted by AFP.

The legal battle could lead to “dispute settlement, a breach of contract award, an obligation to take over Twitter as planned, and a host of other outcomes,” Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said Tuesday.

The analyst also continues to believe that “behind-the-scenes negotiations between the parties are possible.”

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