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The best burns Twitter’s lawyers deployed to deny Elon Musk’s claims

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So I don’t know entirely what’s in Elon Musk’s counterclaims against Twitter — they are still under seal — but I did get an inkling today, when Twitter dropped its response. It’s spicy! Rather than let Musk get his complaints out first, Twitter went ahead and released a blow-by-blow response, the better with which to dunk on Elon along the way.

I do love this:

The Counterclaims are a made-for-litigation tale that is contradicted by the evidence and common sense

Usually legal documents have arcane, passive-aggressive digs at the other party in them. Twitter’s lawyers, however, came out swinging in their reply to Musk’s counterclaims. Maybe that’s because they know how many people will read these documents; maybe it’s just because they’re interpersonally mean.

We picked our favorite passages in the paperwork, and are showcasing them here for anyone who might be interested.

So you may recall that Musk’s putative reason for bailing on Twitter was because of Twitter’s “false and misleading statements.” Those statements have to do with spam and bot accounts, and were part of what Musk’s lawyers brought to bear during the hearing that established an October trial date.

Twitter briefly walks the court through its process, its paperwork, and its disclosure statements in previous SEC filings. “Musk does not identify any false or misleading statement of fact in this disclosure,” Twitter notes. So where are his weird numbers coming from? Well, they don’t know, because:

Musk is not measuring the same thing as Twitter or even using the same data as Twitter.

Twitter goes on to suggest Musk is deliberately distorting these numbers to “make waves.” And then it says, “Who’s the bot now, hot stuff?”

Musk’s “preliminary expert estimates” are nothing more than the output of running the wrong data through a generic web tool. … Confirming the unreliability of Musk’s conclusion, he relies on an internet application called the “Botometer”— which applies different standards than Twitter does and which earlier this year designated Musk himself as highly likely to be a bot.

I cannot explain quite how funny I find this? Musk’s fancy, secret, “proprietary” analysis of Twitter data was a website called Botometer.

This is, for my money, the funniest part of the document. Here are some things Twitter is willing to admit are true:

Twitter admits that Musk is a Twitter user and has founded several companies.

Twitter admits that its business is complex.

Twitter admits that Musk is a Twitter user and has over 100 million followers

Twitter admits that it detects and removes spam from its platform

But “Twitter otherwise lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief” as to whether Musk believes in free speech and open debate, whether he appreciates Twitter as a town hall, or that Twitter was a natural option for him to invest in. Later, Twitter admits that “Musk Tweets frequently.” It does so once in those words and once like this:

Twitter admits that Musk actively uses Twitter and that many people believe that open discourse is essential to a functioning democracy.

Does Twitter believe open discourse is essential to a functioning democracy? Dunno, but they can’t form beliefs on whether, to Musk, “eliminating free speech is a cure worse than the disease.”

Twitter admits that it did not provide the information in the April 28, 2022 press release to the Musk Parties before the Merger Agreement was signed and before the parties had a non-disclosure agreement in place.

Sorry, this might be the low-key funniest of “Twitter admits,” which is: yeah, we didn’t give him the press release till he signed the NDA. Now, this is in response to Musk complaining that he didn’t get a heads’ up when Twitter announced it miscounted its daily active users for several years. But it does seem pretty sensible to me not to tell anything to people with strong Twitter habits and poor impulse control until they’ve signed NDAs.

Or maybe it’s this one. Musk’s lawyers wrote that because Musk thought due diligence was “costly and inefficent,” so he didn’t do it.

Twitter avers that the Musk Parties declined to undertake any due diligence prior to signing the Merger Agreement.

Man, I mean, sometimes it just stings when your opponent agrees with you, huh?

Twitter admits that on July 8, 2022 Defendants purported to terminate the Merger Agreement, that Twitter subsequently filed litigation seeking specific performance of the Merger Agreement, and that Defendants have filed counterclaims.

Oh yes, good, Twitter admits this case exists.

Okay, so remember the will-he-or-won’t-he dance about Musk joining the board? Twitter does!

Musk abruptly changed his mind about joining Twitter’s board (after first negotiating an offer to join the board, accepting it in writing, and Tweeting that he was “looking forward” to taking the position), notified Mr. Agrawal of the same, and also notified Mr. Agrawal of his intent to make an offer to buy Twitter.

Because Musk didn’t identify any false or misleading statements Twitter made, Twitter has gotten snitty about his withdrawal from the acquisition:

Musk just now invented this new pretext for avoiding the merger agreement, as these supposed inaccuracies are nowhere mentioned in his July 8 letter to Twitter explaining the bases for his purported termination of the merger agreement, nor in any other communication with Twitter since signing the merger agreement. In any event, Twitter never made the disclosures he now asserts are false.

In Musk’s claim, his lawyers write that “Twitter’s primary business is operating a microblogging social media network where users share 280 character messages called ‘tweets.’” Twitter denies this, hilariously.

[Twitter’s] primary product, Twitter, is a global platform for real-time self-expression and conversation, including in the form of Tweets. Twitter further avers that Tweets have a maximum length of 280 characters.

I wonder what “social network” and “microblogging” mean to Twitter’s lawyers?

I don’t think this one needs more context, honestly. I’m just surprised not to see an actual emoji in the filing:

On May 16, 2022, Mr. Musk publicly replied to that Tweet Thread with a poop emoji.

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ElonJet is (sort of) back on Twitter

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The college student who ran the now-banned @ElonJet Twitter account that used public information to track Elon Musk’s private jet has resumed his activities on Twitter under a new username. As noted by Insider, Jack Sweeney, 20, has created a new account called @ElonJetNextDay — which now tracks Musk’s private jet with a 24-hour delay to circumvent Twitter policy restrictions.

Sweeney’s original ElonJet account was suspended from the platform last week following accusations from Musk that it violated Twitter rules by revealing his live location. Twitter updated its policy to forbid publishing a person’s real-time location on the same day it suspended ElonJet. Sweeney said in an interview with Insider that he will be “posting manually” for now while he works on the framework to fully automate the account.

Musk tweeted on December 15th that “Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.” Twitter also explicitly states that “sharing publicly available location information after a reasonable time has elapsed, so that the individual is no longer at risk for physical harm” is not a violation of platform rules. Elsewhere in the policy, it notes that its definition of “live” location data means someone’s real-time or same-day whereabouts.

Most commercial and private aircraft are equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast technology (ADS-B) that transmits a unique code (tied to the airplane’s tail number) containing information such as altitude and GPS location. This information is publicly available and aircraft flying in the USA and Europe are required to broadcast it in order to prevent midair collisions.

In a statement back in November, Musk said he would not ban the original ElonJet account as part of his “commitment to free speech” despite claiming it was a “direct personal safety risk.” The automated ElonJet account posted publicly available information regarding the location of Musk’s 2015 Gulfstream G650ER, and had amassed over 540,000 followers before it was permanently banned on December 14th. Musk previously offered Sweeney $5,000 to have the account taken down.



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She Worked for Twitter. Then She Tweeted at Elon Musk.

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Early in November, Twitter’s roughly 7,500 employees received a terse email from a generic address: “In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global work force.” The note was signed “Twitter.” On Nov. 3, some people at the company received emails indicating they would be laid off the next day.

That night, Ms. Solomon, her husband and a few colleagues headed to Dots Cafe Portland, a lounge on Clinton Street. Phones were on the table, face up, she said. As the work friends talked, they tapped away at their phones, taking part in chats on the Signal app with colleagues in London, Seattle and San Francisco. Messages like “I got hit” were flying across screens, Ms. Solomon recalled. “You were seeing your co-workers drop like flies,” she said.

By the next afternoon her team of about 10 engineers was reduced to four. Ms. Solomon and her husband had survived the round of layoffs. The next week, she recalled, she awaited further direction from Mr. Musk or the new executive team. Nothing came, she said, except for an email alerting employees that remote work would no longer be permitted, with few exceptions.

Many employees learned of Mr. Musk’s priorities by watching his Twitter feed, where he posted frequently about company business to his more than 100 million followers. On Nov. 5, he complained about the platform’s search function: “Search within Twitter reminds me of Infoseek in ’98! That will also get a lot better pronto,” he wrote. That same day, he tweeted: “Twitter will soon add ability to attach long-form text to tweets, ending absurdity of notepad screenshots.”

That was more than Ms. Solomon and many of her colleagues had heard internally. “Radio silence,” she said. She began to vent her frustration on Twitter.

One of her first tweets in this vein came on Nov. 6, shortly after Mr. Musk announced a new rule for Twitter users in a tweet: “Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” he wrote. He had posted that message after many people on Twitter had changed their names to variations on Mr. Musk’s name, most of them mocking.



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The new iOS 16.2 Home app architecture upgrade has disappeared

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Apple has removed the option to upgrade to the new HomeKit architecture on devices running iOS 16.2. The change follows multiple reports of issues and problems with the Home app after the upgrade was installed.

Apple spokesperson Emily Ewing confirmed the change in a statement provided to The Verge:

“We are aware of an issue that may impact the ability for users to share the Home within the Home app. A fix will be available soon. In the meantime, we’ve temporarily removed the option to upgrade to the new Home architecture. Users who have already upgraded will not be impacted.“

The new Home app architecture was one of the key features of iOS 16.2, with Apple claiming that the upgrade would be “more reliable and efficient.” MacRumors first discovered this week that the Home app in iOS 16.2 no longer offers the option to upgrade to the new architecture within the Home app settings. Several reporters at The Verge have also confirmed that the upgrade option is unavailable on their devices.

The new architecture was first introduced in the iOS 16.2 beta back in October as an optional upgrade before the iOS 16.2 public release on December 13th. Both the beta and public release required Apple devices logged into iCloud to be running the latest versions of iOS, macOS, and tvOS. The upgrade does not happen automatically when iOS 16.2 is installed on a phone, instead requiring a manual process through the Home app.

The update has caused issues with missing devices and adding multiple users for some

Reddit users who downloaded the optional upgrade prior to its removal have reported issues such as the app booting other members from a Home account and being unable to re-add them. Users on the MacRumors forum have reported being unable to invite users to share the Home, HomeKit‌ devices being stuck displaying an “updating” status, and some accessories vanishing from the Home app entirely. Users who have already upgraded are unable to revert to the previous version of the app.

Update, December 23rd, 2022, 2:15PM ET: Added confirmation and statement from Apple spokesperson. Added links to Apple’s updated support pages.

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