Elon Musk tells Twitter to turn over names of workers calculating bot users

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk speaks with Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, during the Ira C. Eaker Distinguished Speaker Presentation in the Academy's Arnold Hall on April 7, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Trevor cokley)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s legal team has alleged that Twitter is hiding the names of workers calculating bot users. The workers would likely be serving as key witnesses to the companies’ court battle this October. Musk’s legal team has submitted a letter to Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St. J. McCormick for this purpose, asking her to compel Twitter to hand over pertinent employee names for the case. 

In a way, the efforts of Musk’s lawyers could be seen as an attempt to persuade the judge to force Twitter into identifying and listing the names of workers that are responsible for calculating bot users. This number, Musk alleged, is key information that determines Twitter’s monetization. 

The letter from Musk’s lawyers was reportedly filed on Tuesday under seal. Considering the rules of the court, Twitter’s legal team would now have five business days to decide what must be redacted from the filing as proprietary information, according to a Bloomberg report. Information about the letter from Musk’s team was reportedly shared by individuals familiar with the matter. 

Twitter has so far not issued a statement about the recent filing from Musk’s legal team. 

The social media company, however, has reportedly handed over the names of “record custodians,” though Bloomberg’s sources noted that these individuals are not as familiar with data related to Musk’s main concerns. Musk, for his part, recently confirmed on Twitter that his recent round of TSLA stock sales was made as a contingency plan just in case Twitter is successful in forcing him to buy the social media company at $54.20 per share. 

Both Elon Musk’s legal teams have issued a number of subpoenas for their respective cases. So far, subpoenas have been submitted to banks, investors, and lawyers who were involved in Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter. University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias, who specializes in securities and merger and acquisition law, has noted that Twitter and Musk’s strategies are quite common. 

“It’s another salvo in the discovery wars that are common in this kind of litigation. Both sides are jockeying for position by targeting different information,” Tobias said. 

Elon Musk and Twitter’s upcoming court battle was instigated by the Tesla CEO’s announcement that he was walking away from his efforts to acquire the social media company. Musk had taken issue with Twitter’s SEC filings which maintained that less than 5% of its users were fake or spam accounts. The Tesla CEO pressed Twitter for information, and the social media company responded by granting Musk access to its “firehose.” Unsatisfied with Twitter’s “firehose” data, Musk announced that he was walking away from the deal, prompting the social media company to file suit. 

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Elon Musk tells Twitter to turn over names of workers calculating bot users
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