Elon Musk’s lawyers have requested to have the ex-Twitter Director of Security and whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko appear in an interview in the legal battle against Twitter regarding their acquisition on 9th September.
The subpoena was served on Thursday and released the next day. It was only a few days since Zatko publicly slammed the door on the company which runs social media, and said it was plagued by privacy and security issues that could put investors, users, and US National security in danger. It’s perfect timing for Musk, who’s fighting a suit brought by Twitter (TWTR) that seeks to make Musk abide by the $44 billion deal to purchase the company after he attempted to revoke the contract due to accusations that Twitter is home to numerous fake bots, spam and fake account accounts that they do not disclose. The lawsuit is set to be considered in October.
According to the article, Zatko stated that Twitter doesn’t know the exact number of spam and fake accounts that it hosts, and the company is not in a position to count all of the accounts, which would be a source of doubt for Musk’s assertions. Twitter has been critical of Zatko and has mostly responded to his allegations and stated that the disclosure is a “false narrative” of the company that is “riddled with errors and contradictions. ”
Musk lawyer Alex Spiro told CNN last week that they called Zatko in the matter before the whistleblower’s complaints were made public. In a hearing on the case last Wednesday, Spiro mentioned Zatko multiple times. Spiro made it clear that the Musk team isn’t convinced of Twitter’s estimates for spam accounts, or that it is not able to profit from its daily active users (mDAU) this is a key indicator for investors. Spiro also stated Musk’s team has asked for specific information that would allow them to assess the measure.
The latest subpoena provides another sign of how Zatko’s allegations might impact the case. As well as depositions, Musk’s team demanded in the subpoena issued on the Thursday “books, documents, or tangible things in your possession” as part of the tracking of fake and spam accounts, as well as MDAAU’s use as a crucial measure.
Zatko has been scheduled to testify about his assertions during hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on September 13th.