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Did Elon Musk buy Twitter just to stop jet tracking account?

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A forthcoming book titled “Battle for the Bird” claims Elon Musk’s interest in acquiring the social media platform was sparked by a disagreement with former CEO Parag Agrawal over the fate of the @ElonJet account.

Authored by Bloomberg reporter Kurt Wagner, the book asserts that Musk sought to have the account, operated by Jack Sweeney to track Musk’s private jet using publicly available information, shut down. However, Agrawal reportedly refused Musk’s request, prompting the tech mogul to explore acquiring Twitter instead.

The @ElonJet account, one of many run by Sweeney to track high-profile individuals, had become a source of irritation for Musk, who allegedly petitioned Agrawal to remove it. When his efforts proved unsuccessful, Musk began buying shares of Twitter and eventually engaged in discussions with founder Jack Dorsey.

Chief Twit

In October 2022, Musk finalised the acquisition of Twitter for a staggering $44 billion, shortly after which he assumed the title of “Chief Twit” and instigated significant changes within the company. Among these changes was the suspension of @ElonJet, along with several journalists, from the platform.

Despite Musk’s attempts to wield influence over Twitter’s operations, Sweeney swiftly resumed posting on @ElonJet approximately 24 hours after Musk threatened legal action. The college student shrugged off Musk’s threats, suggesting they were a bluff, but expressed readiness to see how events unfolded.

Disclosing location

In addition to his clash with Musk, Sweeney has also faced opposition from other prominent figures, including musician Taylor Swift, whose legal team threatened him with legal action over his tracking accounts. Swift’s representatives accused Sweeney of jeopardising her safety by disclosing her locations, a matter compounded by her previous encounters with stalkers.

While Swift’s representatives hinted at potential connections between the timing of stalkers’ actions and Sweeney’s posts, the musician herself has taken steps to mitigate risks, including selling one of her private jets.

As details from “Battle for the Bird” continue to emerge, they shed light on the complex interactions between high-profile individuals, social media platforms, and online tracking accounts, highlighting the challenges of privacy and accountability in the digital age.

Ahron Young is an award winning journalist who has covered major news events around the world. Ahron is the Managing Editor and Founder of TICKER NEWS.

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Tech

Russian spies release tape of secret German meeting held on WebEx

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A clandestine meeting among top German military officials has been thrust into the spotlight following the leak of a 38-minute audio tape, revealing discussions about potentially supplying Ukraine with Germany’s formidable Taurus missiles.

The tape, posted online by the head of Russian state-run broadcaster RT, has ignited controversy, unveiled sensitive Western strategies, and heightened tensions between Germany and its NATO allies.

Senior German officials have acknowledged the authenticity of the recording, which captures Air Force Commander Gen. Ingo Gerhartz and his aides deliberating over the logistics of supplying Taurus missiles to Ukraine.

The meeting, held on the WebEx platform, reportedly touched upon the possibility of Ukraine utilizing these missiles to target Russian assets, including the strategically vital Kerch Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea.

Russian espionage

The leak has not only sparked outrage in Germany but also raised concerns over the country’s susceptibility to Russian espionage.

This incident comes on the heels of the arrest of a senior officer in Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service on charges of spying for Moscow.

Despite Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s reluctance to provide Taurus missiles to Ukraine, discussions within the leaked recording revealed considerations on training Ukrainian personnel to operate the sophisticated weapon system independently. However, with the leak now public, analysts speculate that the likelihood of Germany delivering the missiles has diminished.

Russian officials swiftly condemned Germany for discussing potential attacks on Russian targets, issuing veiled threats of retaliation should Berlin escalate its involvement in the conflict.

Chancellor Scholz vowed a thorough investigation into the leak, acknowledging its seriousness and the imperative of swift action.

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Lawyers seeking $6 billion fee from Elon Musk

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The legal team responsible for voiding Elon Musk’s mammoth $56 billion compensation package is now seeking an unprecedented $6 billion in legal fees.

The three law firms involved justified their request in a filing with the Court of Chancery in Delaware, citing the monumental effort and risk involved in challenging Musk’s compensation package, which was deemed excessive by a Delaware judge in January.

“We recognise that the requested fee is unprecedented in terms of absolute size,” the firms stated, adding that the fee equates to an astronomical hourly rate of $288,888.

Musk swiftly condemned the request as “criminal,” taking to his platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to express outrage: “The lawyers who did nothing but damage Tesla want $6 billion.”

Neither Tesla nor Musk’s attorney have responded to requests for comment.

Pay packet

The legal battle stems from a lawsuit filed by shareholder Richard Tornetta in 2018, which led to the nullification of Musk’s lucrative pay package.

The electric vehicle manufacturer could be on the hook for the hefty fee as it stands to benefit from the return of Musk’s compensation, which includes a staggering 266 million shares.

“This structure has the benefit of linking the award directly to the benefit created and avoids taking even one cent from the Tesla balance sheet to pay fees,” the lawyers argued, emphasising that the fee would be tax-deductible to Tesla.

Judge Kathaleen McCormick, overseeing the case, had previously described Musk’s pay as “unfathomable” in her ruling.

However, Tesla may contest the fee, given a similar fee request in a separate case concerning pay for its directors.

Legal compensation

The proposed fee, if granted, would set a new record in legal compensation, surpassing even the $688 million awarded to attorneys in a 2008 securities fraud case involving Enron Corp.

As the Delaware Supreme Court weighs an appeal regarding a $267 million fee in a case involving Dell Technologies, the issue of attorney compensation in high-stakes litigation continues to be a subject of debate.

Critics argue that as settlements and judgments increase in size, attorneys should receive a declining percentage to prevent overcompensation.

The legal team behind the Musk case contends that their requested fee represents around 11% of the judgment.

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Google CEO condemns AI blunders in staff memo

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In response to recent controversies surrounding Google’s artificial intelligence blunders, CEO Sundar Pichai issued a memo to employees, addressing the company’s missteps and outlining plans for improvement.

The memo comes after Google faced criticism for flaws in its Gemini image-generation feature, leading to the tool being taken offline for further testing. Pichai described the issues as “problematic” and acknowledged that they “have offended our users and shown bias,” according to reports first surfaced by Semafor.

The Gemini image generator, introduced earlier this month as part of Google’s main group of AI models, allows users to input prompts to create images.

However, users discovered historical inaccuracies in the generated images, prompting widespread backlash online.

Consequently, Google removed the feature last week, stating its intention to relaunch it after addressing the issues.

Google Gemini

Pichai expressed regret over the offensive responses produced by the AI system, emphasising that such behavior is “completely unacceptable.”

He emphasised the challenges of developing AI technology, acknowledging that perfection is elusive, particularly in the nascent stages of the industry’s evolution.

Nevertheless, Pichai stressed that Google recognizes the high standards expected of them.

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