As October 17 – the trial date for Twitter’s lawsuit against billionaire Elon Musk – approaches, both parties are not pulling any punches, having issued a flurry of subpoenas. Perhaps the highlight of that flurry has come in just now, with billionaire Musk’s legal team having subpoenaed former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Dorsey, who stepped down from his position as Twitter’s CEO last November to give way to Parag Agarwal, had earlier expressed his support towards Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for a grand total of $44 billion.
Known to be close to and an ally of Musk, Dorsey is now “commanded, all business and excuses being laid aside, to respond in writing to this subpoena and to produce for inspection and copying the books, documents, or tangible things in your possession, custody, or control” requested by defendants — specifically anything regarding the merger deal and docs “reflecting, referring to, or relating to the impact or effect of false or spam accounts on Twitter’s business and operations.”
Some of the information that the subpoena to Dorsey asks for include documents and communications about Twitter’s use of mDAUs (monthly daily active users) as a “Key Metric,” those regarding alternative user metrics that Twitter considered, along with information that describes any process or workflow (other than the mDAU Audit and the suspension workflow) used or considered by Twitter to find spam/fake accounts on its platform.
Bot or spam accounts have been a source of contention between Musk and Twitter. The Tesla and SpaceX executive has repeatedly refused to believe Twitter’s stance that bot accounts make up less than 5% of accounts on its platform, and even used this to fuel speculation that taking Twitter private at a lower price was not “out of the question.”
In fact, Musk challenged Agarwal to a “public debate” about fake accounts and spam earlier this month. Before that, he put the deal on hold as he waited for details that supported Twitter’s claim regarding spam/fake accounts, and being unconvinced by the data, he alleged that Twitter violated the contract and pulled out of the multi-billion-dollar acquisition in July.
Of course, Twitter would not let him terminate the deal easily and took the billionaire to court, demanding that Musk walk down the aisle and commit to completing the acquisition. It also issued various subpoenas of its own, especially to tech investors and entrepreneurs connected to Musk such as the prominent venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and PayPal founding COO David Sacks.
Since then, Musk has been looking for ways to walk away from the deal without having to pay the termination fee of $1 billion.