Elon Musk’s tweets may be catching up to him — again.
On Tuesday, Twitter officially filed a lawsuit against Musk after he revealed his intention to pull out of a $44 billion purchase of the social media company.
The lawsuit argued that Musk is “refusing to honor his obligations” to Twitter and its stakeholders by walking away from the deal. But it also claimed that his chief reason for terminating it — what he said is a lack of transparency around the number of spam accounts — is null.
On top of arguing that the company has been open about its metrics and methodology for counting the number of users on the platform, the lawsuit said that getting rid of spam accounts was one of the reasons Musk wanted to purchase the company in the first place.
The filing showed a screenshot of one of Musk’s tweets from April 21, stating: “If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 21, 2022
The lawsuit cited other cases where Musk states his plan to get rid of spam accounts by buying Twitter.
One is a text message from Musk to Twitter’s board chairman Bret Taylor on April 9, the day Musk announced that he wanted to buy the social media company, in which he said that “‘purging fake users’ from the platform had to be done in the context of a private company,” according to the suit.
There was also a press release formally announcing the deal on April 25, that restated Musk’s intentions of “defeating the spam bots.”
“In his press release announcing the deal on April 25, 2022, Musk raised a clarion call to ‘defeat the spam bots.’ But when the market declined and the fix-price deal became less attractive, Musk shifted his narrative, suddenly demanding ‘verification’ that spam was not a serious problem on Twitter’s platform, and claiming a burning need to conduct ‘diligence’ he had expressly forsworn,” the lawsuit states.
“Musk’s strategy is a model of hypocrisy,” Twitter’s lawyers argued.
This would not be the first time Musk’s tweeting habits have gotten the Tesla CEO in trouble.
In 2018, after Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private for $420 a share, the SEC sued Musk for misleading investors.
Musk was shortly forced to step down from his chairman position at Tesla, the company he founded, and to pay a $20 million fine in a settlement agreement.