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Twitter whistleblower subpoenaed by Musk legal team in acquisition dispute

In context: Under a week following a former Twitter security chief blew the whistle on the business’s security policies and the cover-up of platform vulnerabilities, Elon Musk’s legal team has subpoenaed him to testify in its ongoing legal action to back from the $46.5 billion acquisition. Peiter “Mudge” Zatko is scheduled for a September 9 deposition.

Musk wants evidence that refutes Twitter’s declare that spam and false accounts comprised significantly less than five percent of monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) through the fourth quarter of 2021. The subpoena requests any documents Zatko may have regarding the metric Twitter uses for counting mDAUs and anything linked to the platform’s alleged spam issues. Musk’s legal team also finds the timing of Twitter’s firing of Zatko along with other key employees highly suspect.

The other day, Zatko alleged that senior executives at Twitter covered up vulnerabilities, misled the board and regulators, didn’t delete user data, and didn’t have the methods to conduct accurate audits to look for the amount of bot accounts. He further claims that CEO Parag Agrawal asked him to supply false and misleading documents in 2021. Twitter adamantly denies the allegations.

First, i want to state the most obvious: spam harms the knowledge for real people on Twitter, and for that reason could harm our business. Therefore, we have been strongly incentivized to detect and remove just as much spam once we possibly can, each day. Anyone who suggests otherwise is merely wrong.

Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 16, 2022

Agrawal tweeted that Twitter is “strongly incentivized” to get and delete spam daily, but Zatko claims that statement was a lie. On the other hand, he insists that Twitter’s head of site integrity said that they had no idea just how many fake accounts you can find, nor do execs need to know the precise figures because it may possibly harm Twitter’s public image and share price.

In accordance with Zatko’s complaint to the SEC, FTC, and DoJ, Twitter lied to Musk concerning the “prevalence” of bots and spam accounts on the service. If this allegation proves true, Twitter not merely engaged in misleading a potential buyer of the business, it could have broken federal laws when it filed its Form 10-K with the SEC.

Initially, the acquisition was considered ironclad as either party would need to pay a $1 billion penalty for backing from the buy. When Musk tried to wiggle out, Twitter filed suit, claiming the billionaire was breaching his obligation. Musk then filed a countersuit alleging Twitter had not been forthcoming with fake account numbers and misled him during his homework. An effort is slated for October 17.

Zatko’s allegations have caught the eye of Congress, which opened a study into his claims. He could be scheduled to testify prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 14.

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