Musk subpoenas Twitter bot whistle-blower in buyout dispute

LAWYERS for Elon Musk have subpoenaed a whistle-blower who says Twitter Inc officials didn't know or care to find out how many of the social-media platform's accounts were spam and robot accounts, as the billionaire seeks to cancel a US$4 billion buyout of the company.

Peiter Zatko, Twitter's ex-head of security, said in a lawsuit last week that the company had "egregious deficiencies" in its defences against hackers and lacked concern for privacy issues. He also said he raised concerns to company officials about the number of bots on the system and that those apprehensions were ignored.

Some analysts say Musk's legal argument that he can walk away from the Twitter deal over the bot issue was strengthened by Zatko's claims. Twitter dismisses the whistle-blower's allegations as riddled with inaccuracies.

Twitter sued Musk in July to force him to complete his proposed acquisition. Since then, dozens of people, banks, funds and other firms have been subpoenaed in the Delaware lawsuit, with a trial scheduled to begin Oct 17. BLOOMBERG

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