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Elon Musk reaffirms move to scrap Twitter takeover in fresh letter after whistleblower allegations

·2-min read
Musk has accused Twitter of misrepresenting the number of fake accounts on its platform.Elon Musk (AP) (AP)
Musk has accused Twitter of misrepresenting the number of fake accounts on its platform.Elon Musk (AP) (AP)

Elon Musk has sent a second letter to Twitter reaffirming his decision to abandon a $44 billion takeover deal after summoning an ex-Twitter exec whistleblower to court in a bid to bolster his artillery in a protracted legal battle with the social media giant.

The letter, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing, argues new information about the company revealed in the whistleblower complaint “provide additional and distinct bases to terminate the merger.”

Musk asked former Twitter head of security Peiter Zatko to appear in court as part of efforts to obtain company documents and communications over alleged spam and security issues at the firm.

Zatko has accused the company of having cybersecurity policies that expose it to hacking and disinformation by state aggressors, as part of submissions made to US government agencies. Congressional committee leaders say they are investigating the submissions.

“The Zatko Complaint alleges far-reaching misconduct at Twitter—all of which was disclosed to Twitter’s directors and senior executives, including Parag Agrawal—that is likely to have severe consequences for Twitter’s business,” Musk’s lawyers said in the letter.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal wrote to employees in reaction to the concerns raised by Zatko, describing them as “a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context.”

Musk first wrote to Twitter to terminate his $44 billion Twitter takeover offer in July, after accusing the firm of misrepresenting the number of fake accounts on its platform. Twitter has said these accounts represent less than 5% of overall users, and have taken Musk to court in an effort to force through the deal.

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