Fake accounts: Ex-executive accuses Twitter of lying to Elon Musk

Ex-Twitter exec to save Elon Musk. The company’s former security chief has accused the social network of covering up security vulnerabilities and lying about its fight against fake accounts. In an 84-page document sent last month to the American stock market regulator (SEC), the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the American Competition Authority (FTC), published by the Washington Post and CNN on Tuesday, Peiter Zatko denounces. “serious and shocking failures, willful ignorance and threats to national security and democracy”. In a press release sent to AFP, Twitter assured that security and data protection are among its priorities.

For the group, the complaint is “full of inconsistency and ambiguity.” The company also accused the former manager of opportunism aimed at “harming Twitter, its customers and its shareholders.” In his complaint, self-proclaimed whistleblower Peiter Zatko cites aging servers, hacked software, and claims that Twitter executives are trying to hide the number of hacking attempts from US officials as well as board members. . Those flaws left the social network vulnerable to cyberattacks, especially by foreign state actors seeking to threaten America’s national security, the former official said.


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Privileged user growth?

Peiter Zatko also claims that the company has consistently prioritized growing its user base instead of fighting spam and bots. So it dismisses a tweet posted by the platform’s chief Parag Agrawal in May, in which the leader assured that Twitter was doing everything to detect and eliminate spam as soon as possible. The issue of fake accounts is at the heart of a legal battle between Twitter and Elon Musk, with the billionaire repeatedly accusing the company of minimizing the platform’s 5% rate of fake accounts and spam. Elon Musk is counting on that argument to justify abandoning his plan to buy Twitter for $44 billion in early July and avoid paying severance pay. “We have already subpoenaed Peter Zatko and find it strange that he and other key employees were fired in light of what we discovered,” Alex Spiro, one of Elon Musk’s lawyers, told AFP in an email.

Peiter Zatko was fired in January “due to ineffective leadership and poor performance,” a Twitter spokesperson said. The former hacker, nicknamed “Mudge”, was hired by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder and former head of Twitter, after the hacking of the accounts of many personalities (Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon) at the end of 2020. Musk, Jeff Bezos, Kim Kardashian, etc.). He is represented by whistleblower aid association Whistleblower Aid, which already defends former Facebook computer scientist Frances Haugen, whose revelations last fall damaged the social networking giant’s reputation. . “It took the courage of a high-level whistleblower with an impeccable reputation for ethics and integrity for government agencies and the public to learn the truth,” said Libby Liu, president of Whistleblower Aid.


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An interview with US intelligence?

According to the Washington Post and CNN, the US Senate Intelligence Committee wants to speak with Peter Zatko to discuss his charges. The Judiciary Committee of the Upper House was also interested in it. Dick Durbin, chairman of the organization, said that “the destroyer’s allegations about widespread security breaches on Twitter, deliberate misrepresentations by senior officials to government agencies, and the infiltration of the company by foreign intelligence sources raise serious concerns.” “If true, these allegations could raise fears of data protection and security risks for Twitter users around the world,” the Democrat-elect added in a press release.


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