In a court filing on Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk accused Twitter of fraud. According to the CEO’s legal team, Twitter’s alleged decision to conceal flaws in its data security — as highlighted by whistleblower and former Twitter security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko — amounted to fraud and a breach of contract by the social media company.
Zatko’s testimony before the US Congress was notable, with the security veteran stating that the social media platform was at risk of foreign influences. The former security chief noted that some Twitter employees were actually concerned that the Chinese government would be able to collect data on the platform’s users.
Musk’s recent filing amended his previously filed lawsuit against Twitter by adopting Zatko’s allegations. The CEO’s legal team also alleged that Twitter had concealed the fact that it was not complying with a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission regarding user data, according to a Reuters report.
“Needless to say, the newest revelations make undeniably clear that the Musk Parties have the full right to walk away from the Merger Agreement — for numerous independently sufficient reasons,” Musk’s legal team wrote on the amended countersuit.
Musk and Twitter are poised to face each other at trial this October. Musk has asked a Delaware judge to find that he is not obligated to purchase the social media company at $54.20 per share, a deal that’s estimated to be worth about $44 billion. Twitter, on the other hand, has stated that the whistleblower claims that Musk added into his countersuit were not grounds to terminate his acquisition of the company.
Twitter has largely dismissed its former security chief’s whistleblower complaint, noting that it conducted an internal investigation of Zatko’s concerns but found that they lacked merit. The company also claimed that Zatko was fired over substandard performance.
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