pass of arms between the lawyers of the social network and the businessman

LMusk’s representative tried to convince the judge in charge of the case, Kathaleen McCormick, to force Twitter to share much more data on its users in order to verify that the social network was not lying about the fake accounts present among its subscribers. But, according to the platform’s lawyer, Bradley Wilson, the billionaire only wants this data to arrange it in his own way and above all, should have asked for it before agreeing to buy the company.

The two parties were convened to discuss the information to be shared before the trial scheduled for October.

Twitter invokes the protection of personal data

Musk’s team is asking for broader access to the method and data used by Twitter to calculate the proportion of fake accounts and spam, estimated at less than 5% by the platform, to much more by the entrepreneur. But this request is not “relevant”retorted the lawyer for Twitter, because the platform has always, in official documents, presented this figure as “an estimation”. And the latest was published in February, “before Musk contacted Twitter about potential acquisition”.

If Twitter granted all of Musk’s requests, it would be ‘billions upon billions of data’

Even if Twitter granted all of Musk’s requests, it would represent “billions of billions of data”, pointed out Wilson. And this could violate the rules of the platform, or even certain laws, concerning the protection of private data.

The platform could eventually share limited data with Musk — not the general public — covering 9,000 accounts and one quarter, he conceded. But Musk’s team probably mostly wants to be able “do their own count and see if they can come up with a different number”.

Musk questions the method of identifying fake accounts

However, Musk’s team is not the only one to want clarification on the subject: according to a document made public on Wednesday, the American Securities and Exchange Authority (SEC) also asked Twitter in mid-June to provide details on its method of identifying fake accounts and other spam.

Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, also accused the platform of publicly highlighting the number of so-called “monetizable” daily active users in its financial results rather than other criteria showing stagnation or even a decline in its performance. activity.

But Twitter has always indicated in its financial results that it takes into account other criteria to assess its performance, even if the group does not necessarily detail them, replied the lawyer for the social network.

“They have an economic incentive to deceive” investors, insisted Spiro before mentioning the complaint of a whistleblower, former chief of security of the platform, sent to the American authorities at the beginning of July and made public on Tuesday. “As (Peiter) Zatko says, management had no desire to properly measure the prevalence of bots because of shareholder groups, because of bonuses”he advanced.

His team asked to have the whistleblower testify, but Twitter, which fired him in January, refused, arguing that it was not “not relevant”, lamented the lawyer. A Senate committee, on the other hand, deemed it important to hear from this former hacker, also known as “Mudge”, summoned for a hearing on September 13.

The whistleblower’s accusations were also mentioned during a Twitter management meeting with employees on Wednesday, with the company boss lamenting the “wrong view” presented by Peiter Zatko, according to American media.

The judge did not say when she would make her decision.

Leave a Comment