Musk moves to delay Twitter trial

Elon Musk and Twitter are scheduled to face off in a Delaware court from October 17 as the social media company looks to force through a $44 billion takeover by the world’s richest person. There were several significant developments this week in the run-up to the trial – including an attempt by Musk to postpone it by a month.

Musk moves to delay Twitter trial

Here’s how the saga unfolded over the past five days.

Monday: The takeover feud between Musk and Twitter took another twist when Musk’s lawyer issued a subpoena to Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko, according to court filings, asking him to appear for a deposition on September 9.

The development came after Zatko, Twitter’s former security chief, alleged last week the tech giant intentionally undercounted and misrepresented the number of spam bots on its platform.

Tuesday: Musk cited Zatko’s accusations as a new reason to terminate his $44 billion takeover deal for Twitter.

Later that day, Musk asked the court’s permission to delay the trial by about a month to November, Reuters and others reported, citing a court filing.

Musk asked the judge to let both sides continue briefing their cases until November 10, after which they would meet to discuss what evidence they could introduce at trial. He said the trial could begin later that month “subject to the court’s availability”.

Thursday: Two days later, Dan Woods, global head of intelligence at cybersecurity firm F5, who spent more than 20 years at US law enforcement and intelligence organisations, told The Australian that more than 80% of Twitter accounts were probably spam bots, or 16 times the company’s official estimate of 5%.

“Sure sounds higher than 5 per cent,” Musk tweeted with a link to the report.

“On a $/bot basis, this deal is awesome,” he added for good measure.

Later that day, Twitter said it was finally rolling out its long-awaited edit button to select users.

Perhaps it should have specified that it only works with tweets, not takeover agreements.

Written by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai.

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