Science

Elon Musk vs. Twitter: Are Whistleblower Exposures a Game Changer?

Former Twitter security chief Peter Zatko decided to condemn some of the company’s actions before the US authorities. Some of the alleged facts are consistent with Elon Musk’s Twitter lawsuit allegations that he is no longer willing to atone.

Elon Musk has been pretty upbeat since Tuesday, August 23, 2022. The billionaire amuses himself by sharing excerpts from a Washington Post article about the origins of the “lie on Twitter” revelations. The newspaper that Elon Musk generally criticizes (it belongs to Jeff Bezos, his longtime rival) discovered the existence of a complaint written by Pater Zatko, a former Twitter security manager who was fired in January 2022 (it came in late 2020). ). The whistleblower questions the social network, accusing it of serious security breaches of its users. His complaint is addressed to the US authorities, who will conduct an investigation on Twitter.

For Elon Musk, this case comes at the perfect time. The boss of Tesla and SpaceX is due to face the company in court on Oct. 17 after promising to buy them out and then changing his mind. Could Peter Zatko’s revelations be of any use to him?

What are the allegations against Twitter?

Named the savior of 2020 by Jack Dorsey after the social media hack, Peter Zatko is a respected cybersecurity researcher and a hacker himself. In his complaint, he denounces many facts, such as:

  • The fact is that Twitter uses outdated servers that are easy to hack.
  • The fact is that the internal software used by thousands of employees provides access to confidential information.
  • The fact that Twitter gave foreign governments access to this software, often through spies.
  • The fact is that Twitter does not voluntarily fight the spread of fake accounts, which brings money to its management (there would be bonuses for new accounts).

The first victory of the image of Elon Musk

Until now, Elon Musk has not been truly unanimous. His behavior with Twitter, which has everything in it, was especially condemned. Elon Musk did everything to get Twitter to accept his takeover bid, before publicly criticizing the company, challenging the numbers given to him and announcing he had changed his mind. However, his $44 billion offer was taken up by Twitter, which can’t stomach the fact that it was scammed and wants to take the sale to court.

Let’s be clear: there’s nothing to suggest that Pater Zatko’s revelations are true. The timing of their release is also amazing. One may wonder why say all this now, at the dawn, perhaps, of the historical process. Be that as it may, these revelations already have the first immediate effect: they make the matter less Manichaean. In the minds of those who know her, this is no longer a poor tweet against the evil Elon Musk, but a more complex topic. Doubt is allowed: what if Elon Musk was right?

But does not necessarily affect the court

To find out if the revelations of the whistleblower can help Elon Musk, you will have to wait for the start of the trial on October 17th. So far, the Delaware court judge has been very firm with Elon Musk, refusing to give in to his whims. She repeatedly told him that this trial was not about the “false accounts” case, but about the failed takeover of Twitter. The judge wants to know if Elon Musk should honor his obligations and does not care about the potential lies mentioned by Elon Musk and his lawyers.

However, in the meantime, a Delaware court accepted several requests from Elon Musk, who wanted access to confidential documents owned by Twitter. The billionaire also wants to call Jack Dorsey, the founder of the social network, to get evidence of the social network’s lies. If the Peter Zatko case gets a lot of publicity in the coming days, it’s hard to imagine a Delaware court ignoring these issues.

Elon Musk. // Source: Bill Ingalls

The question then becomes: if Twitter really deliberately lied about the number of fake accounts on its platform, can Elon Musk cancel his offer and demand financial compensation from the social network? If justice considers this lie a hidden problem (and gets evidence), then it is possible that it will give Elon Musk a reason. Otherwise, one could also say that Elon Musk deliberately bought and therefore does not consider these elements a valid element.

How will this case end? The reaction of the American authorities, expected in the coming days, should already tell us more about the significance attached to these revelations. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s lawyers have already said they want to meet with Pater Zatko, considering the possibility of him testifying before he becomes an informant.

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