A former top Twitter executive has come forward to blow the whistle on the Big Tech giant by revealing that the company intentionally misled Elon Musk about the platform’s number of fake accounts.
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko was Twitter’s head of security and was hired directly by founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey.
Zatko reportedly directly to Dorsey and was one of the top executives at the company.
Starting out as a notorious hacker, Zatko has a long history as a security expert in Silicon Valley.
He is now blowing the whistle on Twitter and handing Tesla CEO Elon Musk a huge gift in the process.
According to Zatko, Twitter lied to Musk about the bot problem on the network during negotiations for the tech mogul to buy the company in a $44 billion deal.
And that’s not all, Zatko also warns Twitter’s shoddy cybersecurity is a potential national security threat.
Zatko was fired by Twitter in January.
Alex Spiro, an attorney for Musk, said, “We have already issued a subpoena for Mr. Zatko, and we found his exit and that of other key employees curious in light of what we have been finding.”
“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.
“Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders.
“Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
“Take a tech platform that collects massive amounts of user data, combine it with what appears to be an incredibly weak security infrastructure and infuse it with foreign state actors with an agenda, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster,” Chuck Grassley said.
“The claims I’ve received from a Twitter whistleblower raise serious national security concerns as well as privacy issues, and they must be investigated further.”
#BREAK A former Twitter executive, its head of security, has turned whistleblower.
He alleges grave security problems at the company that he says are a risk to national security and democracy.
His first TV interview here:https://t.co/QU823RBnN1 pic.twitter.com/krh7WVOrhe
— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) August 23, 2022
According to CNN:
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.
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 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. Bots have recently become central to Elon Musk’s attempts to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy the company (although Twitter denies Musk’s claims).
According to Insider:
In his complaint, addressed to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and Department of Justice, dated July, Zatko broadly paints Twitter’s security practices as inadequate and dangerous.
In a section entitled “Lying about Bots to Elon Musk,” Zatko, a famous hacker known as “Mudge,” accuses Twitter of misrepresenting how robustly it measures and combats bots and spam accounts.
A Twitter spokesperson told Insider: “What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context.”