Twitter whistleblower: Former Twitter security chief makes serious claims against Twitter's data security and spam accounts

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Twitter whistleblower complaint

The former Security Chief for Twitter has turned whistleblower and made some serious allegations against the company. Last month, Elon Musk called off the deal with Twitter, and now this allegation may hurt the stock. 

The Twitter share price was down 7.32% on Tuesday post the news. Let us look at the whistleblower claim and Twitter's response to it.

Twitter whistleblower Claim 1 - Fake and Spam Accounts

  • Peiter Zatko, former security chief for Twitter, said that Twitter has misled regulators about its security risks and spam accounts.
  • Before joining Twitter, Zatko held senior positions at Google and Stripe, and the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he received the highest award available to civilian, non-career employees.
  • Twitter executives don't have the resources to fully understand the true bots accounts on the platform and were not motivated to do so.
  • Zatko's complaint was filed last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • The company is already in battle with Elon Musk after he ended the agreement to buy the company. Musk has said that Twitter is hiding how it calculates the percentage of bits on the service.

Whistleblower Claim 2 - Indian government forced Twitter to hire individuals

  • Zatko also said in its complaint that the Indian government forced the company to hire individuals who were 'government agents'.
  • These agents had access to the vast amount of user data on the platform. He alleged that Twitter 'knowingly' permitted an Indian government agent to access the company's systems and data.
  • Zatko said that he has evidence to support the claim and the same had been shared with US intelligence.

Twitter's response

A Twitter spokesperson said that Zatko was fired from his role in the company in Jan'22 for 'ineffective leadership and poor performance.

Twitter added, "What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be."

Elon Musk's response:

Musk tweeted, ‘So spam prevalence *was* shared with the board, but the board chose not disclose that to the public’ with a news cut out from the Washington Post and a meme mocking at the situation: 

Allegation impact on Twitter-Elon Musk case

Elon Musk halted his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter over lack of clarity on number of spam and bot accounts on the platform. New disclosure from Zatko could help bolster Musk's argument and encourage the court to pay closer attention to the bot issue.

Musk's legal team could attempt to seize on other claims in the disclosure unrelated to bots as additional reasons he should be able to walk away from the deal.

Can the two events be linked: Zatko claims and the Twitter-Musk case? 

Zatko also told US news channels that his disclosure is unrelated to the acquisition, that he has no personal relationship with Musk and that he began documenting the concerns that would become his disclosure before there was any indication of Musk's involvement with Twitter.

Based on 41 Wall street analysts offering stock ratings for Twitter, currently, 8% are recommending Buy, 78% are recommending hold and the remaining 14% are recommending a ‘Sell’ on the Twitter stock.

Check out more coverage on Twitter Stock : 

Twitter Q2 Earnings Review: Another Weak Performance

Elon Musk Twitter Deal on Hold: Is a Legal Battle on the Cards?

  • Who is this Twitter's whistle-blower?

  • What did Twitter respond to the allegations?

  • What did the whistle-blower complain about the Indian govt?