A whistleblower alleging Twitter lied about the number of fake accounts bolsters Elon Musk’s reason for abandoning his buyout offer.
Peiter Zatko was hired by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey to head security for the company in 2020 after a major hack attack on the social media platform. He has filed a whistleblower complaint with the Justice Department alleging Twitter has a host of security problems.
Musk notified Twitter executives and the Securities and Exchange Commission in a July 8 letter he was terminating his $44 billion merger agreement. The Tesla founder claimed he found a large amount of Twitter “bots,” or fake accounts, that he said was materially different than what the company reported to investors through SEC filings.
The Conservative Brief further reported:
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the company’s former head of security who was personally hired by Twitter founder and then-CEO Jack Dorsey, said in an explosive interview that current management has not been upfront and honest with Musk regarding the number of fake, bot, and spam accounts on the platform.
In addition, Zatko, a former formidable hacker with a reputation in Silicon Valley who was fired by Twitter in January, also said that the platform’s security is so poor it has become a national security risk.
“Mr. Zatko was fired from his senior executive role at Twitter for poor performance and ineffective leadership over six months ago,” a Twitter spokesperson said. “While we haven’t had access to the specific allegations being referenced, what we’ve seen so far is a narrative about our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and lacks important context.”
Musk has maintained for months that Twitter officials were not being straight with him regarding the number of fake accounts, which is why he tried backing out of the $44 billion deal weeks ago. Twitter filed suit against Musk to complete the deal, but Musk filed a countersuit to force Twitter to reveal bot and spam account numbers.
“Zatko further alleges that Twitter’s leadership has misled its own board and government regulators about its security vulnerabilities, including some that could allegedly open the door to foreign spying or manipulation, hacking and disinformation campaigns,” CNN reported.
“The whistleblower also alleges Twitter does not reliably delete users’ data after they cancel their accounts, in some cases because the company has lost track of the information, and that it has misled regulators about whether it deletes the data as it is required to do,” the report continued. “The whistleblower also says Twitter executives don’t have the resources to fully understand the true number of bots on the platform, and were not motivated to.
Zatko’s whistleblower complaint adds a new wrinkle to the Musk-Twitter suit and countersuit saga playing out in a Delaware Chancery court.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.