Science

Twitter VS Elon Musk: where are we?

Lawyers for Elon Musk and Twitter on Wednesday provided an overview of the arguments they could have made in the trial to force or not force an entrepreneur to buy the social network, citing recent revelations about the pitcher warning, among other things.

Mr Musk’s spokesman tried to persuade the trial judge, Kathleen McCormick, to force Twitter to share far more data about its users to make sure the network wasn’t lying about fake accounts among its followers.

But the billionaire only wants them to arrange them their way, and, above all, should have asked them before agreeing to buy the company, retorted platform lawyer Bradley Wilson.

Both parties have been convened to discuss information they must share before the trial, scheduled for October. Musk’s team is asking for greater access to the method and data used by Twitter to calculate the proportion of fake accounts and spam, which the platform estimates is less than 5%, and much higher than that of an entrepreneur.

But that request is not “relevant,” a Twitter lawyer responded, because the platform has always presented this figure as an “estimate” in official documents. And the last one was published in February, “before Mr. Musk contacted Twitter about the potential acquisition.”

Wilson noted that even if Twitter satisfied all of Mr. Musk’s requests, that would represent “trillions and billions of data points.” And this may violate the rules of the platform or even some laws regarding the protection of personal data.

“Because of the bonuses”

He acknowledged that the platform could have shared with Mr. Musk, rather than the general public, limited data relating to 9,000 and a quarter accounts. But Mr. Musk’s team probably basically wants to be able to “run their own count and see if they can get a different number.”

However, Mr. Musk’s team is not the only one seeking clarification on the matter: According to a document released on Wednesday, the US Securities and Markets Authority (SEC) also took to Twitter in mid-June asking for details on its method. detection of fake accounts and other spam.

Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, also accused the platform of publicly reporting in its financial results the number of so-called “monetizable” daily active users, rather than other criteria that show stagnation or even decline in its activity.

But Twitter has always indicated in its financial results that it takes into account other criteria for evaluating its performance, even if the group doesn’t necessarily detail them, the social network’s lawyer replied. Spiro previously mentioned a whistleblower complaint, a former platform security chief, sent to US authorities in early July and made public on Tuesday.

“As (Peter) Zatko says, management didn’t want to properly measure the prevalence of bots because of stakeholder groups, because of bonuses,” he added.

His team asked the whistleblower to testify, but Twitter, which fired him in January, refused, saying it was “inappropriate,” the lawyer complained. The Senate Committee, on the other hand, felt it was important to hear from this former hacker, also known as “Mudge”, who was called to a hearing on September 13th.

The whistleblower allegations were also brought up during a Twitter management meeting with employees on Wednesday, when a company executive deplored the “erroneous opinion” presented by Mr. Zatko, according to US media reports. The judge did not say when she would make her decision.

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