NEW YORK: Elon Musk has formally subpoenaed a Twitter whistleblower to share information about spam accounts at the social network, as the billionaire fights in court to back out of a massive buyout deal.

Musk has tried to pull out of the $44 billion agreement by saying Twitter misled him on the number of false accounts, or bots, prompting strong denials and a lawsuit from the social media firm.

The Tesla boss hopes that allegations made by the former Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko, about major security gaps and problematic practices at the firm, will bolster his case.

According to court documents made public on Monday, Musk’s attorneys served Zatko with a subpoena Saturday demanding he share any documents or messages regarding the impact of spam and false accounts on Twitter’s activity, dating back to January 2019. Zatko was also ordered to answer questions on the record for Musk lawyers on September 9.

Zatko’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Musk’s attempt to back out of buying Twitter has struggled for momentum in court.

Twitter won some early battles in the case, including a fast-track trial date, and its stock had risen as analysts predicted the platform would prevail over the mercurial Musk.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2022

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