Malik announced he was leaving the boyband last week (ends29Mar15) after walking away from their world tour due to stress, and he later claimed he had been unhappy in the group for some time.
British writer/producer Naughty Boy subsequently revealed he was hoping to launch the singer's solo career after they recently hit the studio together, and in the early hours of Tuesday morning (31Mar15), he retweeted a cryptic video message addressing the rise of 'Zaughty', a blend of his and Malik's names.
He then posted a link to a demo of a song called I Won't Mind, which he claims features Malik's vocals.
However, the 'Zaughty' reference infuriated Malik's former bandmate Louis Tomlinson, who called out Naughty Boy, real name Shahid Khan, on Twitter, writing, "Wow @NaughtyBoyMusic you're so inconsiderate pal, seriously how f**king old are you? Grow up!... I was talking about the video you tweeted. Clearly trying to wind the fans up! Well you succeeded anyway. Fair play... Always have struggled to bite my tongue."
I Won't Mind became a worldwide trending topic on the microblogging site shortly after the leak.