A Twitter whistleblower could be the key for Elon Musk's court victory

Point for Elon
Peiter Zatko, Twitter whistleblower
Twitter troubles
Reasons to back off the deal
Ukrainian concerns
Breach of contract
The trial begins on October 17
Billionaire court drama
Bad faith and hypocrisy
Backing off
Reading the small print
Obligations and interests
Legal battle in Silicon Valley
The jury's out
An offer they couldn't refuse
Above the market price
The poison pill
The support of shareholders
Tremendous
'Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy'
From billionaire to billionaire
Give my regards to Wall Street
Undermining democracy?
The limits of free speech
A message to Musk's critics
Republicans approve
Lifting the ban
Trump and Musk
The future of Twitter
Point for Elon

Elon Musk made a small victory in court. The Delaware judge dealing with his Twitter legal battle ruled out that the South African billionaire can include the testimony of a whistleblower against the social media network.

Peiter Zatko, Twitter whistleblower

Namely, the accusations of former security chief Peiter Zatko, who according to The New York Times claims that Twitter has misled the public about its security practices.

Twitter troubles

According to The Guardian, Zakto wrote an 84-page complaint where he claimed that Twitter prioritized user growth over reducing spam and was unprepared, with outdated servers, for major security risks.

Image: freestocks / Unsplash

Reasons to back off the deal

Musk claims Zatko's testimony is fundamental in his allegation that he was backing off the deal due to Twitter's lack of transparency.

Ukrainian concerns

However, the New York Times also writes that it was revealed that Musk had texted his banker to “slow down” the deal over concerns about the war in Ukraine, meaning that it had little to do with Twitter's transparency.

Breach of contract

This gives the social media network an advantage since it could prove that Musk's backing off from the deal, which is a breach of contract, was unrelated to Twitter.

The trial begins on October 17

However, not everything has gone great for the Tesla CEO. The Delaware court rejected his request to delay the trial, which begins on October 17.

Billionaire court drama

If Twitter wins the court case, The Guardian writes, then Musk would have to pay a one billion dollar termination fee.

Bad faith and hypocrisy

Twitter officially sued Elon Musk for not fulfilling his 44 billion acquisition on July 12 and accused the South African billionaire of bad faith and hypocrisy.

Backing off

Musk refused to go on with the buyout, claiming that the social media platform didn't share important data, such as the number of fake accounts on Twitter.

Reading the small print

However, Musk signed a legally binding agreement with Twitter with a performance clause, where the company could sue the founder of Tesla to force the deal.

Obligations and interests

“Musk refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests”, Twitter's lawyers allege in the suit, as quoted by NPR.

Legal battle in Silicon Valley

Everything seems to be set for a lengthy legal battle between the founder of Tesla and the social media platform.

The jury's out

The New York Times highlighted that many legal experts believe that Twitter’s argument appears to be stronger than Musk’s, but this one is where the jury is still out.

An offer they couldn't refuse

Everything seemed to be set for Musk's social media buyout. Twitter’s 11-member board met with the South African-born billionaire and approved on April 25 the Tesla founder’s acquisition of the social media platform.

Above the market price

Twitter agreed to sell itself to Elon Musk for a value that, according to an official statement, was 38% above the company share prices at the start of April. Musk became the company’s largest stockholder by acquiring 9.8% of Twitter’s stock around that time.

The poison pill

The company threatened to flood the stock market with new shares if Musk attempted to acquire 15% or more of Twitter. The strategy, known as a ‘poison pill’, had been used in the past as a negotiation ploy and this time doesn’t seem to have been any different.

The support of shareholders

According to Forbes, the company saw increased pressure from its largest shareholders to support Musk’s bid. Particularly since Twitter’s share had lost over 60% of its value in the past months.

Tremendous

“Twitter has tremendous potential,” the founder of Tesla declared at the time. “I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

'Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy'

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” highlighted Musk in an official press release.

From billionaire to billionaire

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, whose acquisition of The Washington Post drew similar criticism as Musk’s buyout, pointed out Tesla’s business connections to China and wondered exactly if “the Chinese government had gained leverage” on Twitter.

Give my regards to Wall Street

Musk stated his desire to make Twitter go private, meaning that the company would no longer take part in the stock market. The billionaire argued this would prevent the social media platform from being at the mercy of its market value.

Undermining democracy?

Forbes highlights that Musk has in the past denounced that the company “failed to adhere to free speech” and that Twitter’s practices were “fundamentally undermining democracy”.

The limits of free speech

Musk, who describes himself as a ‘free speech absolutist’, complained about Twitter’s moderation in the past, as Al Jazeera points out. However, this also brings up the debate about the limits of free speech and the fear of inciting hate.

A message to Musk's critics

“I’m against free speech that goes far beyond the law”, the founder of Tesla tweeted a few days after the buyout. “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means”.

Republicans approve

Many Republican politicians, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, applauded the acquisition when it was announced. The conservative politician tweeted that Twitter can now be “a place where free speech can thrive, not a tool for narrative enforcement”.

Lifting the ban

The official Republican Party Twitter account requested Musk to lift the ban on former US President Donald Trump from the platform. However, Trump himself has been quoted saying he won’t return.

Trump and Musk

“I like Elon Musk. I like him a lot. He’s an excellent individual,” Trump commented to CNBC about the buyout. “We did a lot for Twitter when I was in the White House. I was disappointed by the way I was treated on Twitter. I won’t be going back on Twitter.”

The future of Twitter

What is known is this: If Musk managed to complete the deal somehow, the future of Twitter (and social media in general) could have changed forever. It's still not sure what is next in store for the social media network.

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