Takeover of Twitter: a new element added to the file could benefit Elon Musk

Elon Musk has a new argument against Twitter. The billionaire added to his file the fact that the social network paid more than seven million dollars at the end of June to the whistleblower who accuses the company of having concealed security breaches. “On June 28, 2022, Twitter entered into a separation agreement with Peiter Zatko pursuant to which Twitter paid severance payments to Peiter Zatko and his attorneys totaling $7.75 million,” the Tesla boss’ attorneys wrote. in a letter to the platform’s legal director on Friday. They accuse Twitter of not having asked Elon Musk for his consent for this exceptional payment, and therefore, according to them, of having violated the rules of the agreement to buy the network for 44 billion signed by the two parties at the end of April.

At the beginning of July, the multi-billionaire had announced that he would break this commitment, accusing the San Francisco company of having deceived him, in particular on the question of the exact number of inauthentic accounts and spam. Twitter quickly filed a complaint to compel the contractor to honor the terms of the agreement, and a trial is scheduled for mid-October. This is the third letter that Elon Musk’s lawyers have sent to the group to justify their decision. The first was that of the announcement of the rupture. The second, at the end of August, invokes the accusations made by the company’s former security chief, Peiter Zatko, as an additional argument.

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“To make sure he shuts up”

Nicknamed “Mudge”, Peiter Zatko has accused Twitter of hiding vulnerabilities in its protection system and lying about its fight against fake accounts. Presenting himself as a whistleblower, he sent a long document to the American authorities at the beginning of July, but it was only revealed to the general public at the end of August. “Musk’s camp is sending this additional notice of termination in the event that the July 8 or August 29 notice is deemed invalid for one reason or another,” the boss’ lawyers said.

“They gave the guy 7 million to make sure he shut up,” attorney Alex Spiro said during a court hearing on Tuesday. According to Twitter attorney William Savitt, Peiter Zatko’s accusations are riddled with “inconsistencies and inaccuracies”. The idea that the platform sought to hide the allegations of its former security chief is “false and without any sense”, he asserted on Tuesday. “In January, Peiter Zatko was dismissed. His accusations (…) had been examined and determined without foundation”.

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