Twitter ordered to hand over data on fired executive to Musk in rare but partial win for Tesla boss

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Twitter has been ordered to provide documents from one of its fired executives to Elon Musk in the social media company’s lawsuit, in a rare but partial win for the billionaire.

Mr Musk’s lawyers had requested documents from 22 Twitter employees whom they said had data on the social media giant’s process of analysing “bot” accounts, but got the go ahead to receive data from only one of them.

On Monday, Judge Kathleen St Jude McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery ordered Twitter to produce files from Kayvon Beykpour, the social media company’s former head of consumer products, who was fired in May, Insider reported.

Earlier this month, the Tesla titan had said he would go through with the Twitter deal if the company provided accurate data on bots.

“If Twitter simply provides their method of sampling 100 accounts and how they’re confirmed to be real, the deal should proceed on original terms,” Mr Musk had tweeted.

However, he said if the company’s filings with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on the matter were found to be false, “then it should not”.

“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate about the Twitter bot percentage. Let him prove to the public that Twitter has Mr Musk said tagging Twitter chief Parag Agrawal to the post.

Earlier this month, the Tesla chief accused Twitter of hiding the names of its employees who were specifically responsible for evaluating what fraction of the platform’s user base is made up of bot accounts.

As part of the case, Twitter is reportedly in the process of handing over data on its so-called “custodians” of information.

On Monday, judge McCormick denied Mr Musk’s request, ordering that Twitter need not provide documents from any of the other 21 additional custodians that the Tesla chief had asked for – except for the files from Mr Beykpour, according to Bloomberg.

The former head of consumer products had worked for the social media giant since 2015 after his live video app Periscope was acquired by Twitter.

But he was fired in the aftermath of Mr Musk’s deal to acquire the platform.

“The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision. Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction,” Mr Beykpour tweeted in May.

Through most of 2022, Mr Musk has been busy with agreements, negotiations and legal arguments with Twitter.

After initially agreeing to buy the platform for $44bn, he terminated the deal and was sued by Twitter to complete the sale. He countersued, to which Twitter also hit back.