Twitter: Former official confirms Elon Musk’s concerns about the number of bots

Twitter’s former head of security denounced the social media platform, saying its security practices have significant vulnerabilities and that it misled the US government and Elon Musk.

Source: AdobeStock/Ascannio.

Peter Zatko, who until January headed Twitter’s security team, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. CBS News has shared an edited copy of the 84-page document.

The complaint by Mr. Zatko, who is also a notorious hacker known as “Maj”, alleges that the social media platform has “extreme and egregious deficiencies” in security, privacy and content moderation. He also accuses Twitter executives of lying to federal regulators about the strength of their security plan.

The document also touches on the Elon Musk and Twitter saga, accusing the social network of “lying to Elon Musk about bots.”

“A recent example of Twitter misrepresentation is related to Elon Musk’s highly publicized takeover attempt from April 2022,” the lawsuit says. Musk has questioned the validity of Twitter’s claim that less than 5% of accounts are “bots”, which CEO Parag Agrawal denied.

Agrawal’s tweet was a lie, Zatko stated, adding:

“Musk is right: Twitter executives have little to no personal incentive to ‘detect’ or accurately measure the prevalence of spam-related bots.”

Agrawal responded to the allegations in an alleged email sent to employees that was posted on Twitter by CNN reporter Doni O’Sullivan.

According to this letter,

“We are reviewing the allegations that have been made public, but everything that has been said so far is a lie. The report is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and presented without significant context.”

As noted, Musk announced his takeover bid on April 14, offering to buy 100% of the company at a price of $54.20 per share. While Twitter’s board was initially skeptical of the deal, the company agreed to a $44 billion buyout after Musk confirmed a funding plan that included $21 billion of his own funds.

However, in mid-May, Musk announced that he was pausing the operation until it was clear that bots made up less than 5% of the platform’s daily users.

In early July, Musk officially announced that he was pulling out of the deal, but Twitter sued the billionaire for breach of contract, asking the court to order the Tesla CEO to complete the deal. The trial will take place on October 17 for five days.

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