Twitter has taken action against two accounts associated with a vocal critic of Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) and its CEO Elon Musk. The Twitter accounts of PlainSite (@plainsite) and its founder Aaron Greenspan (@aarongreenspan) were suspended as of Tuesday afternoon, as confirmed by Greenspan and the pages of the accounts on the social media platform.
PlainSite is an information service that shares documents, often obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, from federal and state courts, as well as regulators. The platform has been known to publish court documents about Twitter and Tesla and both firm’s chief, Musk.
When asked about the suspensions, Greenspan, who has been critical of Musk in the past and has been involved in litigation with him, expressed uncertainty regarding the reasons. As a short seller of stocks, Greenspan conducts thorough research to identify stocks that may decline. FOIA requests are part of his research process, although he clarified that he is not currently shorting Tesla stock.
“It’s rather odd that there has been what I would call a modest degree of concern over the simultaneous Twitter suspension of my business and personal accounts, for which I’m thankful, but nearly no media coverage of the only *lawsuit* Elon ever filed against any person-me-earlier this year,” Greenspan said.
Greenspan relayed that Musk sued him in February, but the lawsuit got dismissed as “it was essentially a derivative” of another lawsuit, Hothi v. Musk. The defamation case, filed by critic Randeep Hothi, has been settled after nearly three years for “a modest $10k.”
Greenspan then filed “a counter-suit alleging that Elon and his lawyers had engaged in malicious prosecution and abuse of process.” He said that he waited for the earlier suit by Musk against him to be dismissed “because California law requires the suit that you’re alleging was maliciously prosecuted
to have been completely dismissed before you can file your claim.”
However, Musk’s lawyers argued that since their original suit has been dismissed, the court — which would be hearing the counter-suit — no longer had jurisdiction.
“So Elon & Co.’s position was that I couldn’t hold him to account for his frivolous and malicious lawsuit before it was dismissed- California caselaw says so–and I couldn’t hold him to account for his frivolous and malicious lawsuit after it was dismissed. Does anyone see the problem here?” Greenspan asked.
Greenspan, who’s been representing himself, cited a case where it was decided that the court finds “no reason for permitting the separate filing of such an action and yet prohibiting it as a cross-complaint.”
“l’ve been fighting Elon in court for three years with both hands tied behind my back. Hand 1: no lawyer. Hand 2: no discovery. This lawsuit means I get discovery. Right now. So Elon and his lawyers probably do not love that idea,” Greenspan added.
In response to inquiries about the suspensions, Twitter’s email PR contact sent an automated response featuring a poop emoji. Musk has not yet responded to a tweet regarding the matter, and Tesla has not provided any comment on the issue.
Twitter has specific rules outlining behaviors that can result in account suspension, including the sharing of personal information. In a similar incident in December, Twitter suspended an account (@ElonJet) that tracked Musk’s jet, citing potential disclosure of his real-time whereabouts.
Documents obtained by Vice through a FOIA request reveal that SpaceX entered Musk’s private jet into a federal privacy program but failed to follow through with the necessary privacy measures, thereby allowing people to continue tracking the movements of his jet.
Suspending Greenspan’s account comes also as an antithesis to the “free speech” champion Musk’s earlier tweet claiming that he wants his worst critics to remain on Twitter.
Information for this briefing was found via Barron’s and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.