US judge largely rejects Elon Musk’s ‘absurdly broad’ Twitter data requests

26 Aug 2022

Elon Musk. Image: Thomas Hawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Musk’s attorneys also brought up the claims of Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko in a Delaware court.

A judge in the US has described Elon Musk’s requests for Twitter data as “absurdly broad” as the billionaire continues his effort to end a $44bn takeover of the company.

Following a hearing on discovery requests from lawyers representing Musk and Twitter, judge Kathaleen McCormick said yesterday (25 August) that the demands amount to trillions of data points and “no one in their right mind has ever tried to undertake such an effort”.

The Delaware court judge has told Twitter to hand over a much smaller set of requested data.

She also noted that Musk has had most of the data and documents required to fight his case before he decided to terminate the acquisition deal in July.

“My overall impression is that plaintiff has agreed to produce a tremendous amount of information to defendants, and that the information plaintiff has agreed to produce is sufficiently broad to satisfy most of plaintiff’s obligations,” she wrote in her decision.

McCormick added that Musk’s lawyers wanted “all of the data Twitter might possibly store” for the approximately 200m accounts included in its monetisable daily active users count every day for nearly three years. “It suffices to say, plaintiff has demonstrated that such a request is overly burdensome.”

Whistleblower complaints brought up

Musk’s attorneys also raised the complaints made by Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko, according to The Washington Post. The former head of Twitter’s security, Zatko caused a stir this week with claims that leadership misled the board and regulators about serious security vulnerabilities at the company.

Zatko sent a disclosure on Twitter’s security issues last month to US Congress and US federal agencies, which was then seen by CNN and The Washington Post.

Musk is looking to end the Twitter deal over claims that the company failed to provide enough information on the number of fake accounts on its platform.

But the creator of the tool Musk relied on for his bot-count claims has told Yahoo Finance that some of the estimations he used may not be fully accurate.

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Elon Musk. Image: Thomas Hawk via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic