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Blow for Elon Musk as US judge scorns demand for Twitter user data

·1-min read
 (TED Conferences, LLC/AFP via Get)
(TED Conferences, LLC/AFP via Get)

Elon Musk has suffered a setback in his legal battle with Twitter after his demands that the firm hand over user data was dismissed by a judge as “absurdly broad”.

“No one in their right mind has ever tried to undertake such an effort,” Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick said in a Delaware court.

Musk wants access to the data Twitter uses to determine its calculation of the proportion of fake accounts that exist on the platform.

Twitter has said the data no longer exits and would be difficult to reproduce.

Musk walked away from his  $44 billion Twitter takeover offer after accusing the company of understating the number of fake accounts.

Musk’s argument got a boost this week after the US securities regulator wrote to the firm’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, requesting details on its methodology for its fake accounts estimate.

Twitter has reaffirmed its view that these accounts represent less than 5% of overall users.

In a letter to the regulator in June, the company said: “Twitter believes that it already adequately discloses the methodology that it uses in calculating these figures.”

It comes just a day after a former Twitter exec accused the company of jeopardising personal and national security with its information handling policies.

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, who was Twitter’s head of security until he left in January, alleged the firm doesn’t delete users’ data after they deactivate their accounts, and has cybersecurity policies that expose it to hacking and disinformation by state aggressors, according to documents obtained by CNN.

Agrawal described the allegations as “a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context.”