A majority of Twitter Inc shareholders voted in favor of the $44 billion U.S. sale to social media company Elon Musk, forcing the fate of the sale into a court showdown in October.
Musk took to Twitter to say he would not go ahead with the acquisition, claiming he had been misled by spam accounts on the platform and had not been informed of a payment settlement the company had reached with one of its chief executives.
Shareholders were widely expected to vote in favor of Mr. Musk’s $54.20 a share deal, which was signed in April, as the stock market fell, making it look expensive in the current environment. Twitter stock is currently hovering around $41.
On Monday, Twitter said the payment to the whistleblower did not violate the terms of its sale to Musk after the billionaire, now the richest person in the world, tried to scrap the deal.
A lawyer for Twitter said Musk’s reasons for wanting to withdraw from the deal were “null and unjustified.”
The Whistleblower Part of the Dispute
Last week, Musk’s attorneys said Twitter’s failure to seek his consent before paying whistleblower Peiter Zatko and his attorney $7.75 million was a merger that would limit when Twitter would make such payments. I said I was in breach of contract.
Zatko, who was fired from Twitter in January as the company’s head of security, last month falsely claimed the social media company had a solid security plan and made misleading statements about defending against hackers and spam accounts. I was accused of putting it out.
The whistleblower spoke to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday about his allegations.
He said Twitter’s payroll had “at least one agent” from China’s intelligence service, and that the company deliberately allowed India to add agents to its company roster, and that the He said he had access to highly sensitive data.
Zatko told parliamentarians that social media platforms suffer from weak cyber defenses and are vulnerable to exploitation by “teens, thieves and spies”, putting users’ privacy at risk.
“I’m here today because Twitter’s leadership misleads the public, lawmakers, regulators and even the board of directors,” Zatko began his sworn testimony.
“They don’t know where the data they have is or where it came from, so naturally they can’t protect it,” said Zatko. “If there is no key, it doesn’t matter who has the key.”
“Profit over Security”
“Twitter management ignored the engineers,” he said. One reason for this is that “executive incentives have put profit over security.”
Zatko’s message was the same one submitted to Congress against another social media giant last year. But unlike his Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, Zatko didn’t bring up a ton of internal documents to back up his claims.
One issue not addressed at the hearing was whether Twitter accurately counts active users, a key metric for advertisers.
Musk claims without evidence that many of Twitter’s approximately 238 million daily users are fake or malicious accounts.
The Twitter v. Musk trial is scheduled to begin on October 17 at Chancery Court in Delaware.