Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, claimed in his 84-page whistleblower complaint that the company had deceived the FTC and its own executives about how it defended the social media platform against hacker attacks and spam accounts.
First reported by the Washington Post and CNN, the famous network security expert and hacker, who is also known as ‘Mudge’, filed the complaint in July with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the FTC. The documents were also shared with congressional committees.
According to the complaint, the company misled regulators and its own board of directors by falsely claiming to have a strong security plan. He also said half of Twitter’s staff had broad access to the company’s software, resulting in hacks of high profile users.
He further alleged that the company focused more on user growth rather than spam account reduction, and that executives received bonuses of up to $10 million based on daily user growth.
‘’There are news reports outlining claims about Twitter’s privacy, security, and data protection practices that were made by Mudge Zatko, a former Twitter executive who was terminated in January 2022 for ineffective leadership and poor performance,’’ Twitter’s Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal wrote in a company memo obtained by Bloomberg.
‘’We are reviewing the redacted claims that have been published, but what we’ve seen so far is a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context,’’ said Agrawal.
Elon Musk made an offer to acquire Twitter for $44 billion in April, but he terminated the deal soon after, claiming that Twitter is not being upfront about bot and spam accounts on its platform. He was sued by the social media company for attempting to walk away, and their trial is scheduled on October 17th.
Last week, Musk’s lawyers also subpoenaed ad firms Integral Ad Science (IAS) and DoubleVerify to provide their records related to Twitter’s audit.