Twitter says Elon Musk making up excuses to breach deal

Twitter says Elon Musk making up excuses to breach deal
Twitter has rejected counter claims made by Elon Musk as he fights to walk away from the deal he inked in April to buy the San Francisco-based company. (Reuters File Photo)
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Updated 05 August 2022

Twitter says Elon Musk making up excuses to breach deal

Twitter says Elon Musk making up excuses to breach deal
  • Musk wooed Twitter’s board with a $54.20 per-share offer, but in July announced he was ending the agreement
  • The Tesla boss has accused the firm of misleading him regarding its tally of fake and spam accounts

SAN FRANCISCO, US: Twitter on Thursday said the notion Elon Musk was “hoodwinked” into inking a $44 billion buyout deal defies reason and the facts.
In a filing, Twitter rejected counter claims made by Musk as he fights to walk away from the deal he inked in April to buy the San Francisco-based company.
“According to Musk, he — the billionaire founder of multiple companies, advised by Wall Street bankers and lawyers — was hoodwinked by Twitter into signing a $44 billion merger agreement,” Twitter said.
“That story is as implausible and contrary to fact as it sounds.”
Musk last week filed a countersuit along with a legal defense against Twitter’s claim that the billionaire is contractually bound to complete the takeover deal.
“The counterclaims are a made-for-litigation tale that is contradicted by the evidence and common sense,” Twitter argued in the filing.
A five-day trial that will consider Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk has been scheduled for October 17.
The Tesla boss wooed Twitter’s board with a $54.20 per-share offer, but then in July announced he was ending their agreement because the firm had misled him regarding its tally of fake and spam accounts.
Twitter, whose stock price closed at $41.06 on Thursday, has stuck by its estimates that less than 5 percent of the activity on the platform is due to software “bots” rather than people.
Twitter told the court that Musk’s claim that the false account figure tops 10 percent is “untenable.”
The company also disputed Musk’s assertion that he has the right to walk away from the deal if Twitter’s bot count is found to be wrong since he didn’t ask anything about bots when he made the buyout offer.
“Musk forwent all due diligence — giving Twitter twenty-four hours to accept his take-it-or-leave-it offer before he would present it directly to Twitter’s stockholders,” the filing said.
The company accused Musk of contriving a story to escape a merger agreement that he no longer found attractive.
“Twitter has complied in every respect with the merger agreement,” the company said in the filing made to Chancery Court in the state of Delaware.
“Musk’s counterclaims, based as they are on distortion, misrepresentation, and outright deception, change nothing.”
The social media platform has urged shareholders to endorse the deal, setting a vote on the merger for September 13.
“We are committed to closing the merger on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk,” Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal and board chairman Bret Taylor said in a letter to investors.
Billions of dollars are at stake, but so is the future of Twitter, which Musk has said should allow any legal speech — an absolutist position that has sparked fears the network could be used to incite violence.
 


Musk plans to go ahead with original price of $54.20 a share for Twitter

Musk plans to go ahead with original price of $54.20 a share for Twitter
Updated 8 sec ago

Musk plans to go ahead with original price of $54.20 a share for Twitter

Musk plans to go ahead with original price of $54.20 a share for Twitter
  • The news comes ahead of a highly anticipated faceoff between Musk and Twitter in Delaware’s Court of Chancery on Oct. 17
LONDON: Billionaire Elon Musk is proposing to go ahead with his original offer of $54.20 per share to take Twitter Inc. private, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, sending the shares of the social media firm surging.
Twitter shares jumped 12.7 percent to $47.93 before trading was halted for the second time, while Tesla Inc, the electric vehicle company that Musk heads, fell about 3 percent.
Musk made the proposal in a letter to Twitter, Bloomberg reported, citing people who asked not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Twitter and Musk’s lawyers were not immediately available for requests for comment from Reuters.
The news comes ahead of a highly anticipated faceoff between Musk and Twitter in Delaware’s Court of Chancery on Oct. 17, in which the social media company was set to seek an order directing Musk to close the deal at $54.20 per share.
“This is a clear sign that Musk recognized heading into Delaware Court that the chances of winning vs. Twitter board was highly unlikely and this $44 billion deal was going to be completed one way or another,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note after the news.
Musk agreed in April to buy Twitter for $44 billion, but within weeks said the number of bot accounts was much higher than Twitter’s estimate of less than 5 percent of users.

Meta pushes Reels monetization with new ad formats

Meta pushes Reels monetization with new ad formats
Updated 29 min 20 sec ago

Meta pushes Reels monetization with new ad formats

Meta pushes Reels monetization with new ad formats
  • New features include “post-loop” video ad format and horizontally scrollable carousel ads

LONDON: Meta Platforms Inc announced a series of new ad formats on Tuesday, aimed at creating new revenue streams for the short video and business messaging products that it has identified as key to growth this year.

In a blog post, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram said it was starting tests for a new skippable “post-loop” video ad format to play after its TikTok-like short video product Reels, which it has been promoting heavily.

Another new Reels format features horizontally scrollable carousel ads, which can display between two and 10 images at the bottom of a Reel, the post said.

Describing the company's business strategy at a press event, Meta executives said the new formats could lure Reels creators with ways to earn money from ad placements next to their videos.

“Our goal is to be able to provide the tools and the monetization opportunities, as you are continually growing your creator following across our platforms,” said Nada Stirratt, vice president of Meta's global business group for the Americas.

The executives also touted ads that open direct chats between businesses and prospective customers saying Meta can now use artificial intelligence to optimize whether the ads target new customers or those most likely to make a purchase.

Artificial intelligence would, likewise, power the selection of ads shown in users' Instagram feeds, the company said, citing internal research involving 400,000 advertisers that showed the approach produced more user purchases than other feed ads.

Meta is also opening up new spaces for advertising on Instagram, including the ‘Explore’ tab that users see when they run a search in the app, the blog post said.


Moscow praises Musk's peace plan after Tesla and Zelensky clash in Twitter showdown

Moscow praises Musk's peace plan after Tesla and Zelensky clash in Twitter showdown
Updated 04 October 2022

Moscow praises Musk's peace plan after Tesla and Zelensky clash in Twitter showdown

Moscow praises Musk's peace plan after Tesla and Zelensky clash in Twitter showdown
  • In a Twitter poll the Tesla boss proposed Ukraine permanently cede Crimea to Russia
  • Kremlin spokesperson said Russia welcomes Elon Musk proposal

UNITED NATIONS: Billionaire Elon Musk on Monday asked Twitter users to weigh in on a plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine that drew immediate condemnation from Ukrainians, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, who responded with his own poll.
“Which @elonmusk do you like more?,” Zelensky tweeted, offering two responses: one who supports Ukraine, one who supports Russia.
Musk, the world’s richest person, proposed UN-supervised elections in four occupied regions that Moscow last week moved to annex after what it called referendums. The votes were denounced by Kyiv and Western governments as illegal and coercive.
“Russia leaves if that is will of the people,” Musk wrote.
The Tesla Inc. chief executive suggested that Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014, be formally recognized as Russia, that water supply to Crimea be assured and that Ukraine remain neutral. He asked Twitter users to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the plan.
“Dear @elonmusk, when someone tries to steal the wheels of your Tesla, it doesn’t make them legal owner of the car or of the wheels. Even though they claim both voted in favor of it. Just saying,” Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda tweeted in response.
Musk, who is also chief executive of SpaceX, followed up his first tweet with another poll: “Let’s try this then: the will of the people who live in the Donbas & Crimea should decide whether they’re part of Russia or Ukraine.”
He said he didn’t care if his proposal was unpopular, arguing that he did care “that millions of people may die needlessly for an essentially identical outcome.”
“Russia has >3 times population of Ukraine, so victory for Ukraine is unlikely in total war. If you care about the people of Ukraine, seek peace,” he posted on Twitter.
In February, when Ukraine’s Internet was disrupted following Russia’s invasion, Musk responded to a tweet by a Ukrainian government official seeking help. Musk said SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service was available in Ukraine and that SpaceX was sending more terminals to the country.
“SpaceX’s out of pocket cost to enable & support Starlink in Ukraine is ~$80M so far. Our support for Russia is $0. Obviously, we are pro Ukraine,” Musk posted on Twitter later on Monday.
Ukraine’s outspoken outgoing ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, had a blunt reaction to Musk’s peace plan. Melnyk himself faced criticism in July for defending the controversial World War Two Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera.
“Fuck off is my very diplomatic reply to you @elonmusk,” tweeted Melnyk.
On Tuesday, the Kremlin praised Tesla boss proposal for suggesting a possible peace deal to end the war in Ukraine.
“It is very positive that somebody like Elon Musk is looking for a peaceful way out of this situation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a conference call.
“Compared to many professional diplomats, Musk is still searching for ways to achieve peace. And achieving peace without fulfilling Russia's conditions is absolutely impossible,” he added.
As of 1030 GMT on Tuesday, Musk's original poll had garnered more than 2.5 million votes, with some 60% opposed to the plan.
Peskov said on Tuesday that “bots” - phoney twitter accounts - were “actively participating in the voting”. He provided no evidence.
Moscow had always been open to a negotiated end to the conflict, Peskov added. He criticised a new Ukrainian decree, signed by Zelenskiy on Tuesday, which says Kyiv will not negotiate directly with Putin for an end to the conflict.

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Philippine media groups demand protection after journalist’s murder

Philippine media groups demand protection after journalist’s murder
Updated 04 October 2022

Philippine media groups demand protection after journalist’s murder

Philippine media groups demand protection after journalist’s murder
  • Radio journalist Percival Mabasa killed by two assailants on Monday night

MANILA: A Philippine journalist has been shot dead while driving in the country’s capital, police said on Tuesday, prompting condemnation from media groups and activists, who described his assassination as a blow to press freedom.
Radio journalist Percival Mabasa, 63, was killed by two assailants at the gate of a residential compound in the Las Pinas area of Manila on Monday night, police said.
“That the incident took place in Metro Manila indicates how brazen the perpetrators were, and how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm,” said the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
The national police vowed to bring justice over the attack. The government had no immediate comment.
It followed the fatal stabbing last month of radio journalist Rey Blanco in central Philippines.
At least 187 have been killed in the past 35 years in the Philippines, according to international watchdog Reporters Without Borders, including 32 killed in a single incident in 2009.
Mabasa’s family called his killing a “deplorable crime” and demanded “his cowardly assassins be brought to justice.”
Rights group Karapatan described him as “one of the country’s fiercest truth-tellers.”
Videos on Mabasa’s YouTube channel, which has 216,000 subscribers, showed he had been critical of the previous president and some policies and officials in incumbent Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration.
“We are not discounting the possibility that the shooting could be related to the victim’s work in media,” local police chief Jaime Santos said in a statement.


Trump files $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN

Trump files $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN
Updated 12 min 52 sec ago

Trump files $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN

Trump files $475 million defamation lawsuit against CNN
  • Trump also suggested that similar lawsuits would be filed against other news organizations

NEW YORK: Former US President Donald Trump on Monday sued CNN, seeking $475 million in damages, saying the network had defamed him in an effort to short-circuit any future political campaign.
The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, focuses primarily on the term “The Big Lie” about Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud that he says cost him the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.
CNN said it had no comment on the lawsuit.
Trump repeatedly attacked CNN as president, which resonated with his conservative followers. He has similarly filed lawsuits against big tech companies with little success. His case against Twitter for knocking him off its platform following the Jan. 6, 2021, US Capitol insurrection was thrown out by a California judge earlier this year.
Numerous federal and local election officials in both parties, a long list of courts, top former campaign staffers and even Trump’s own attorney general have all said there is no evidence of the election fraud he alleges.
Trump’s lawsuit claims “The Big Lie,” a phrase with Nazi connotations, has been used in reference to him more than 7,700 times on CNN since January 2021.
“It is intended to aggravate, scare and trigger people,” he said.
In a statement Monday, Trump suggested that similar lawsuits would be filed against other news organizations. And he said he may also bring “appropriate action” against the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by his supporters. The lawsuit comes as he is weighing a potential bid for the presidency in 2024.
New CNN chief Chris Licht privately urged his news personnel in a meeting more than three months ago to refrain from using the phrase because it is too close to Democratic efforts to brand the former president, according to several published reports.