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Surprise Twitter whistleblower gives Elon Musk an edge

Surprise Twitter whistleblower gives Elon Musk an edge

Peiter Zatko, a former head of security at Twitter, filed a whistleblower complaint against his former employers regarding the fake accounts or bots on the platform.

While it appears to have been an independent complaint laid at the feet of federal regulators, which includes the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is too convenient for Elon Musk’s case to be a coincidence.

Zatko has a reputation for pointing out security flaws at major tech firms, and he is well known in the industry, The Washington Post said in a report. According to his complaint, obtained by the news outlet, Twitter lied about how many legitimate accounts are on its platform.

Peiter Zatko alleged that the company had no reason to track the number of fake accounts using its social media service. Instead, they stood to gain more by underreporting it, which is what the executives did, claims the whistleblower.

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In support of Musk’s case that there were more bots than Twitter reports, the complaint said that one senior executive even tried to stop engineers from using a tool called ROPO that accurately tracks fake accounts.

Despite the claims from a former employee in a position to know what was ongoing, Elon Musk’s case may have only gotten a slight boost. Zatko could table no evidence to back the claim, and there is currently only a redacted 84-page internal document on spam accounts which shows that the actual figure was hidden.

Many analysts and lawyers have pitched in. While they all say that the whistleblower strengthened Elon Musk’s position to get out of the $44-billion takeover deal, the billionaire will need more to floor Twitter squarely. Also, it is unclear whether Zatko would take to the stand as a witness. Alex Spiro, a partner at Quinn Emanuel representing Musk, said they had subpoenaed him.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.