In full conflict with Elon Musk, Twitter is strangled by a whistleblower


“I’m here today because Twitter management is misleading the public. » Tuesday September 13, in front of the American senators, Peiter Zatko, says “Mudge”the former social network security manager portrayed a company “whose he still wishes for success”, but whose management endangers all its users. The ex-employee who became a whistleblower returned at length to the accusations contained in the file which he sent in August to several American regulators and elected officials.

Read also: From hacktivism to Google to the military: the thousand lives of “Mudge”, the Twitter whistleblower

Jumbled up, Mr. Zatko, a well-known figure in the American hacker community, returned to the presence – proven in some cases – of secret agents or collaborators of intelligence agencies among the company’s employees; on the obsolescence of the technical infrastructure of the social network, “ten years late” ; the ability of thousands of employees to access user data; or even on the absence of basic security tools, such as the recording of attempts to connect to Twitter tools.

Read also: Accusation of fraud at Twitter: the whistleblower “maintains all the information”, according to his lawyer

More broadly, Mr. Zatko described a company where engineers do their best to correct problems, but without management support or even understanding. “Key members of management do not have the skills to understand the extent of the problem”assured Mr. Zatko. “And they have no incentive to do so. As the writer Upton Sinclair said, it is extremely difficult to get someone to understand something if their salary depends on them not understanding it”he added, estimating Twitter “driven solely by the pursuit of profit”.

Read also: Ex-Twitter employee found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia

A boon for Elon Musk

By coincidence of the calendar, the hearing of “Mudge” has a particular weight because it falls in the middle of a battle between Elon Musk and Twitter. This implacable indictment damages the image of the management of Twitter and the founder of Tesla obtained the right to include it in his legal arguments during the trial to be held in court in Delaware, United States, on October 17. . Resolving the dispute in court now seems the only way out since Tuesday, September 13, Twitter shareholders voted in favor of the $ 44 billion takeover bid made in April by Elon Musk.

Mr. Zatko’s offensive is a boon for Mr. Musk: among the 84 pages of reproaches transmitted to the American authorities, the ex-employee formulates a criticism used by the American businessman as the main reason for withdrawing the beginning July its takeover offer: Twitter management would underestimate the number of accounts “non-humans” when she advances the figure of 5% of automatic accounts. However, this explanation is not unanimous: for some, it is rather problems with the financial package, due to the fall in the stock market price of the shares of his company Tesla, which prompted Mr. Musk to cancel his offer.

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