After bots, what is Elon Musk’s new reason to terminate the Twitter deal?

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The Twitter-Elon Musk saga refuses to die down or reach any conclusion. Reportedly, the Tesla founder has now used a severance payment made to a whistleblower as a reason to walk out of the $44 billion deal. 

Reportedly, Musk on Friday in a termination letter claimed that Twitter did not inform him about a multi-million dollar severance package that was extended to Twitter’s departing security chief Peiter Zatko. 

Musk’s lawyers argued that Twitter failed to seek Zatko’s consent before handing him the severance payment which provides the Tesla head with another legal basis to walk out of the merger.

Read more: Elon Musk files amended counterclaims vs Twitter under seal

In response, Twitter attempted to argue that it wasn’t liable to inform about the severance package. 

“My friend seems to be arguing that Twitter should have gratuitously told Musk that there existed a disgruntled former employee who made various allegations that had been inquired upon and found to be without merit. That doesn’t make any sense,” said William Savitt, Twitter attorney. 

It is pertinent to note that after departing or rather forced out of Twitter, Zatko filed a whistleblower complaint, criticising the micro-blogging platform’s data security practices. 

Meanwhile, Musk’s attorney’s have asked the court to delay the five-day trial that starts on October 17 so that they could investigate claims made by Zatko, also known as “Mudge”, that Twitter hid weaknesses in its security and data privacy.

As reported by WION, this is not the first time that Elon Musk has used a previous Twitter employee and their credentials to tank the deal. 

In a court filing, Musk had submitted the names of 22 data custodians whose documents he wanted to review. One of them included former General Manager of Consumer Product Kayvon Beykpour who was fired by Twitter in May. 

Read more: Twitter ordered to submit documents to Elon Musk from a fired employee regarding bot accounts

Musk needed Beykpour’s documents to calculate the number of spam and bot accounts. Of the 22 names submitted by Musk, the Delaware Court of Chancery only granted him access to Beykpour’s records. 

Prior to making the severance deal as another reason to quit the deal, Musk has been using the bot and spam accounts as a reason to not go ahead with the deal. 

The eccentric billionaire continues to claim that Twitter has close to 20 per cent bot accounts, as opposed to the five per cent that the company claims. Musk announced in July that he was suspending the deal agreement, alleging Twitter had concealed information about these accounts. Twitter sued Musk to complete the transaction and has claimed that the issue is unrelated to the deal with Musk.

(With inputs from agencies)

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