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Twitter slammed a countersuit Thursday filed by Elon Musk in a Delaware court, calling the claims from the SpaceX and Tesla CEO “factually inaccurate” and “legally insufficient” amid the legal fight over an abandoned acquisition deal.
In court documents filed in the Delaware Chancery Court, Twitter pushed back against Musk’s argument that he was duped into purchasing the social media company based on false data and was stonewalled by the company as he sought information on fake bot accounts.
Twitter’s legal team said that interpretation was “imagined in an effort to escape a merger agreement that Musk no longer found attractive once the stock market—and along with it, his massive personal wealth—declined in value.”
“Musk simultaneously and incoherently asserts that Twitter breached the merger agreement by stonewalling his information requests,” Twitter’s attorneys write. “As explained below and will be demonstrated at trial, the Counterclaims are factually inaccurate, legally insufficient, and commercially irrelevant.”
After purchasing a large share of Twitter in April, Musk announced he would purchase the company and take it private for $54.20 a share, or $44 billion, vowing to stand up for free speech on the social media platform and eliminate fake bot accounts.
Twitter ultimately agreed and entered negotiations with the world’s richest man, but Musk in July dropped his bid to purchase the company, saying he was not provided accurate data about the fake and spam accounts.
Twitter promptly sued, arguing it had given Musk access to a “firehose” of raw data about the bot accounts, which it estimated were at 5 percent or less of total users.
Musk’s countersuit to Twitter was filed confidentially at the end of July, accusing Twitter of changing the number of daily active users before the deal was expected to go through. He also repeated claims they did not share accurate information about bot accounts and rebuffed his request for accurate information.
The countersuit from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO will be made public on Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Twitter responded to 227 paragraph claims from Musk, which were shared in the responding documents released on Thursday.
The company’s attorneys deny all of the allegations from Musk, refuting them at every turn and insisting the claims were fabricated or “distorted” because Musk did not want to complete the acquisition deal.
According to the paragraph claims, Musk insists that Twitter’s “algorithm is fundamentally flawed in a way that compounds the false or spam account problem,” which he says is a major concern for the spread of misinformation, free speech and Twitter’s financial health.
He also argues Twitter’s board was incompetent to solve the issue, hence why he wanted to purchase the company and take it private.
In other claims, Musk says he could also improve Twitter by moving the revenue model of the company away from advertisements and more toward subscriptions and other monetization platforms and methods.
But his concern about the bot accounts ultimately led to the scrapped deal. His lawyers shared a messaging conversation in March he had with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, in which Musk writes he is “sick” of fake bots, and Agrawal responds agrees that “we should be catching this stuff.”
Yet, Musk claims, he was disappointed that Agrawal “could not explain basic questions about the basis for Twitter’s disclosures” on a user engagement metric and that Twitter itself had a “meager” process in counting the number of active bots.
Musk says Twitter never provided a “true firehouse” of data and stonewalled his attempts to get the accurate numbers.
“Musk did not see the use in further meetings because until Twitter could provide data verifying its representations, there was nothing productive to discuss,” his attorneys write, according to the court documents.
In its rebuttal, Twitter said Musk submitted no evidence that their data was inaccurate and said he displayed no verifiable data himself to prove that, as he claimed, 10 percent of the platform’s users are bots.
Twitter also says the merger agreement did not contain a “single reference to fake or spam accounts” and so Musk did not have the “right to walk away from the deal.”
“Musk’s Counterclaims, based as they are on distortion, misrepresentation, and outright deception, change nothing,” they wrote.