In the midst of the ongoing squabble over Twitter’s failed acquisition bid, Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that the social media giant jeopardized its third-largest market by failing to disclose ‘risky’ litigation against the Indian government. During a countersuit filed under seal in a Delaware court last Friday and made public Thursday, Musk also accused the San Francisco-based social media company of ‘hoodwinking’ him into signing the deal.
According to the court documents, Musk also stated that the microblogging site Twitter should abide by Indian law. Kate Conger, a New York Times Tech Reporter, shared the court documents on Twitter.
According to a portion of the legal filings posted by Kate Conger, ‘In 2021, India’s information technology ministry imposed certain rules allowing the government to probe social media posts, demand identifying information, and prosecute companies that refused to comply’. While Musk supports free speech, he believes that moderation on Twitter should ‘hew close to the laws of the countries in which Twitter operates’.
In response to Elon Musk’s claims in the court filings, Twitter stated that it ‘respectfully refers the Court for their complete and accurate contents’. Twitter stated that it ‘lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations,’ and that it ‘thus denies them on that basis’.
Karnataka High Court petition
Musk also objected to Twitter’s failure to disclose litigation against the Indian government in a petition filed in the Karnataka High Court in July. ‘Twitter claims that it has challenged certain blocking orders issued by the Indian government under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, directing Twitter to remove certain content from its platform, including content from politicians, activists, and journalists, and that Twitter is legal,’ the company stated in its response.
According to media reports, Twitter’s India business would close if it did not comply with Indian government orders to block content deemed illegal by competent authorities. The High Court issued notices to the Centre and scheduled the hearing for August 25th.
The Musk vs. Twitter trial
The trial between Twitter and Elon Musk is set to begin on October 17, after Musk decided to cancel his deal to acquire Twitter due to what he claims is a misrepresentation of fake accounts on the site. While condemning Musk for sabotaging the deal because it no longer served his interests, Twitter has been attempting to force Musk to follow through on the deal.
Previously, in April, Musk reached an acquisition agreement with Twitter for USD 54.20 per share in a transaction valued at approximately USD 44 billion, and by May, Musk had put the deal on hold to allow his team to investigate the veracity of Twitter’s claim that less than 5% of accounts on the platform are bots or spam.