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After the whistleblower's bombshell, Elon Musk will try to get Twitter to give him more data

A source close to the situation told The Post that Elon Musk will ask for more access to Twitter's internal data at a court hearing this week. This comes after it was reported that a former top Twitter executive accused the company of "lying about bots" to the billionaire Tesla boss.

The Delaware Court of Chancery will be the place for Musk's court hearing at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, a source said. He wants to get out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.

Musk is probably hoping that Peiter Zatko's accusation that Twitter "lied about bots to Elon Musk" in a whistleblower complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in July will help his case.

Peter Zatko
Former Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko was fired in January 2022.
Dept. of Defense

In his complaint, Zatko says that Twitter's leaders are financially motivated to boost the number of users instead of taking action against bots. Musk has said more than once that Twitter is hiding a bot problem as part of his plan to back out of the $44 billion deal to buy the company.

CNN and the Washington Post were the first to report on Zatko's complaint, which says that Twitter's top executives could get bonuses of up to $10 million if they increased the number of users. This would give them a reason to ignore the site's widespread problem with spam accounts.

The complaint said, "Twitter executives have little or no personal reason to accurately 'detect' or measure how common spam bots are." "Senior management didn't want to take the time to figure out how common bot accounts were... They were worried that if accurate measurements got out, it would hurt the company's reputation and value.

Zatko's complaint accuses Twitter of everything from misleading the Federal Trade Commission to giving an Indian government agent "access to vast amounts of Twitter sensitive data." A source who has been following the case said Musk's legal team is likely to focus on the bot claims, which are in line with what the CEO of Tesla has been saying for months.

Zatko also said that an unnamed senior Twitter executive tried to shut down a key internal tool called "Read-only phone only," which was used to fight bots and spam accounts.

The unnamed senior executive is Kayvon Beykpour, who used to be Twitter's head of consumer products but was fired earlier this year by CEO Parag Agrawal. This news came from the Washington Post.

Peiter Zatko claimed that Twitter is a "national security risk."
Peiter Zatko claimed that Twitter is a “national security risk.”
The Washington Post via Getty Im

The Delaware Court of Chancery has already given Musk's lawyers permission to get records from Beykpour.

Zatko says that Beykpour wanted to shut down the feature because he "received a small number of unsolicited DMS (text messages)," but other sources told the newspaper that Beykpour thought the feature had much bigger problems.

On Tuesday, Twitter stock was trading down 3.2% at $41.65. The company wants to force Musk to go through with his plan to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share.

Zatko was fired from Twitter in January 2022, which was months before Musk first tried to buy Twitter. In a statement to The Post, Twitter said Zatko was fired for "ineffective leadership and poor performance."

A Twitter spokesperson said, "What we've seen so far is a false story about Twitter and how we handle privacy and data security. It's full of inaccuracies and is missing important context." "Mr. Zatko's claims and the way he chose to make them seem to be designed to get attention and hurt Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders. Security and privacy have been important to Twitter as a whole for a long time, and they will remain so.

Alex Spiro, Musk's lawyer, told The Post, "We have already sent a subpoena to Mr. Zatko, and given what we've found, we find his departure and that of other key employees to be strange."


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