Lawyers for Elon Musk and Twitter gave an overview of possible arguments during a trial on whether to force the entrepreneur to buy the social network during a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
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Mr. Musk’s lawyer tried to convince the judge in charge of the case, Kathleen McCormick, to force Twitter to share more data on users to confirm that the social network was not lying about existing fake accounts among its subscribers.
But the billionaire only wants them to be arranged in his own way, after all, he should have asked for them before agreeing to buy the company, the lawyer of the platform, Bradley Wilson, shot back.
The two sides called to discuss information to be shared ahead of the October trial.
Elon Musk’s team demands wider access to the way Twitter is used and data, the proportion of fake accounts and spam the platform calculates is less than 5%, the entrepreneur more and more.
But the request is “not relevant,” Twitter’s lawyer shot back, because the platform has always presented the figure as “an estimate” in official documents.
The latest was published in February, “before Mr. Musk contacted Twitter about a potential acquisition.”
Even if Twitter granted all of Musk’s requests, it would represent “billions upon billions of data,” Bradley Wilson pointed out. This may violate the rules of the platform or even some laws related to the protection of personal data.
He acknowledged that the platform could eventually share limited data covering 9,000 accounts and a quarter. But Mr Musk’s team is likely to “do their own math and see if they can come up with a different number”.
Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, accused the platform of publicly touting the so-called “monetizable” number of daily active users over its financial results, rather than other metrics that show stagnation or decline in its activity.
They have a financial incentive to defraud investors, he said, before referring to a whistleblower’s complaint, the platform’s former security chief, sent to American authorities in early July and made public on Tuesday.
In this document, Peter Zatko confirms that the company favors the growth of the number of users to the fight against spam and bots (accounts controlled by software, not humans).
But Twitter has always indicated that it takes other criteria into account in evaluating its performance in its financial results, although the group does not detail them, its lawyer countered.
The judge did not say when he would make a decision.
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