Billionaire Elon Musk said on Friday that Twitter’s decision to pay millions of dollars to a whistleblower it had sacked provides him with further rationale for canceling the agreement to buy the microblogging behemoth amid the ongoing legal dispute over the $44 million deal. Musk commented after learning that Twitter had decided to pay the whistleblower $7 million “to settle a dispute,” according to a Wall Street Journal report.
“Twitter’s failure to obtain his consent before paying $7.75 million to Peiter Zatko (whistleblower) and his lawyers violated the merger agreement,” Elon Musk’s legal team wrote in a letter to the social media giant.
Peiter Zatko, who was Twitter’s security chief until he was sacked in January of this year, charged the social media company with lying to regulators and misrepresenting its weak cybersecurity defenses. Additionally, he said that the business failed to take action to shut down any false accounts that propagated misinformation.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX earlier said that Twitter is overrun with “bots, spams, and phony accounts,” which compelled him to sever the takeover agreement. Musk earlier on Tuesday stated that 90% of the comments on his tweets are actually automated or spam answers, taking another shot at Twitter.
When Twitter submitted documentation to the court on September 3, Musk’s attorneys claimed to have learned about Zatko’s agreement. Next week, Zatko will give testimony to a US Senate committee on his worries about the platform’s low security, privacy concerns, and the sheer quantity of bots. He has also been summoned to give testimony in the Twitter litigation.
Musk revealed in July that he intended to back out of the April agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Twitter sued Musk in an effort to compel him to pay the agreed sum to acquire the business. Musk received harsh criticism from Judge Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick for failing to provide all the pertinent texts that Twitter had asked for during legal discovery on Wednesday. Additionally, McCormick charged Musk’s staff with being inadequate and tardy in compiling a list of individuals with knowledge of the arrangement.
In a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, McCormick stated that Musk’s team’s efforts to identify parties involved in the purchase were “suboptimal.” McCormick cited one instance of texts Twitter obtained from investment banker Robert Steel where it looked that Steel was speaking with Musk.
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