Peiter Zatko a Twitter case whistleblower has been Subpoenaed by Elon Musk’s legal team.
Peiter Zatko, a Twitter whistleblower, claimed the company intentionally undercounted and misrepresented the number of bots on the social network, which is a claim Elon Musk is making to get out of his Twitter deal as it goes to trial in October. As a result, according to court filings on Monday, Musk’s attorneys issued a subpoena to Zatko.
The subpoena was issued just days after Zatko publicly accused the social media giant of having significant privacy and security flaws that might endanger users, investors, and US national security. The timeframe of the release of information is fortunate for Musk, who is defending against a lawsuit from Twitter (TWTR) that aims to force him to carry out his $44 billion purchase agreement with the company after he tried to terminate the agreement over claims that Twitter has more spam and fake bot accounts than it openly divulges. In October, the matter is scheduled to go to trial.
According to Twitter, bot accounts only account for 5% of its Monetizable Daily Active Users (mDAUs). However, Zatko’s complaint claims that Twitter “avoid[s] counting spam bots as mDAUs” and that executive leadership is “deliberately ignorant” of the true number of spam bots, suggesting that there may be millions more bots than the company admits.
That connects to Musk’s arguments that Twitter “failed or refused to provide” additional information on the spam bots on its network and that the company’s 5% number for spam bot accounts is inaccurate. Musk has used these arguments to attempt and wriggle out of his deal to purchase Twitter.