From the Washington Post earlier this week:
On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, had filed a whistleblower complaint with federal regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, accusing Twitter of “Lying about Bots to Elon Musk….”
“Twitter executives have little or no personal incentive to accurately ‘detect’ or measure the prevalence of spam bots,” the complaint alleges, adding “deliberate ignorance was the norm” among its executive team.
The same article notes that three people familiar with Twitter’s spam-detection, processes said Twitter’s “internal bot prevalence numbers” were almost always less than 5%. (And the article reminds readers that Musk himself had waived his right to perform “due diligence” prior to striking the deal.)
But here’s that Tuesday article’s most prescient sentence. “The judge has rejected Musk’s requests for information from more than 20 company leaders — including Zatko — but the whistleblower claims could open the door for them to make further requests, legal experts said.”
Sure enough, Friday night CBS News reported that the judge “ordered both Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk to turn over more information to opposing lawyers…”
Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick on Thursday ordered Twitter to provide Musk’s attorneys more data regarding the company’s estimates that less than 5% of the accounts on its platform are fake.
The judge also rejected Musk’s attempts to shield details about analyses he used in his attempt to terminate the deal. That work was done by data scientists who examined live-feed information from Twitter about public user accounts to test the company’s daily-user counts….
The judge rejected more comprehensive data requests from Musk’s attorneys as “absurdly broad,” noting that a literal reading of the request would require Twitter to produce “trillions upon trillions of data points” reflecting all data collected on roughly 200 million accounts over three years. But McCormick did order Twitter to produce information on 9,000 accounts that were reviewed in connection with company’s fourth-quarter audit, a data subset that has been described as a “historical snapshot.”
McCormick also ordered Twitter to turn over documents regarding other metrics, regardless of whether they expressly address “monetizable daily active users,” or mDAU. Musk’s attorneys have suggested that a comparison of Twitter’s mDAU with other metrics, such as “User Active Minutes,” could support their theory that the company has fraudulently misled investors and securities regulators about the scope of activity on its platform.