Friday, August 26, 2022 – A US judge ordered Twitter on Thursday August 25, to surrender more data to Elon Musk on fake accounts as the billionaire tries to cancel his $44B buyout bid.
Ahead of the October 17 trial date in litigation over whether Musk must go through with his $44bn takeover of the social media company, lawyers representing the billionaire entrepreneur have sought more data and documentation detailing Twitter’s calculation of how many users were legitimate.
Judge Kathaleen McCormick allowed the Tesla boss’s team to bolster its argument that Musk was misled, she chastised them for ‘absurdly broad’ requests for ‘trillions upon trillions of data points.’
The judge ordered Twitter to hand over data on 9,000 accounts the firm audited at the end of 2021, which opens the door for that information to be used in Musk’s effort to quit the $44 billion deal.
‘Some additional data from plaintiff (Twitter) seems warranted,’ McCormick wrote, without elaborating, in her four-page ruling.
Twitter must also share some material relating to other internal discussions or analyses regarding crucial metrics about its user base beyond the mDAU metric, she ruled.
Musk has argued Twitter was dishonest on the number of false or spam accounts, prompting strong denials and a lawsuit from the social media firm that has led to a trial set for mid-October.
His lawyers pushed hard in a hearing Wednesday to force the firm to turn over mountains of information, while seizing upon a freshly revealed Twitter whistleblower’s claims of serious flaws inside the company.
Twitter attorney Bradley Wilson said in a hearing on Wednesday that the social network had been upfront in its disclosures that less than 5 percent of accounts were fake or spam.
He emphasised that the company exercised “significant judgment” in calculating monetisable daily active users, or mDAUs, and said its “candid” disclosures gave it legal protection against claims it misled investors.
But the judge agreed with Twitter’s view that producing the entire range of data sought by Musk, who is chief executive of Tesla, on its more than 200mn mDAU was overly burdensome.
“[Musk’s] documents request would require plaintiff to produce trillions upon trillions of data points,” she wrote. “[Twitter] has difficulty quantifying the burden of responding to that request because no one in their right mind has ever tried to undertake such an effort.”
An attorney for Musk, Alex Spiro, said his team looked “forward to reviewing the data Twitter has been hiding for many months”.
According to the report, The data could aid Musk’s efforts to argue that the platform has been deceiving investors about the scale of the fake account problem on the social network.