Science

Twitter shareholders vote in favor of Elon Musk’s proposed takeover

Published: 14.09.2022 – 04:33

Twitter shareholders on Tuesday approved 98.6% of the deal to buy Twitter from billionaire Elon Musk, a month ahead of a lawsuit aimed at forcing the latter to honor its obligations. At the same time, the social network’s former head of security, Peter Zatko, detailed his report to US authorities of serious security breaches.

Twitter shareholders on Tuesday (September 13) approved an agreement to buy the platform by Elon Musk immediately after they heard a whistleblower who, like the billionaire, accuses the company of hiding problems.

The vote, which was 98.6% in favor of the deal, strengthens the social network’s position a month before the opening of a lawsuit against Elon Musk to force him to fulfill his obligations.

In early July, Tesla and SpaceX bosses unilaterally terminated a contract signed at the end of April to acquire Twitter at $54.20 per share, or a valuation of $44 billion.

But this election is little consolation for the bluebird, which has been publicly denounced by a former senior official. Peter Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security fired in January, detailed on Tuesday his report to US authorities about the serious security breaches.

Former Twitter security chief was heard by US Senators on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. It testified to serious security failures and the platform’s lack of vigilance against fake accounts. © France 24

“Twitter leadership is cheating elected officials, regulators, and even its own board of directors,” he told Judiciary Committee senators at the outset. “They don’t know what data they have, where it is, where it comes from, and obviously they can’t protect it,” said the expert, better known by his pseudonym Mudge. “Employees have too much access (…), it doesn’t matter who has the keys if you don’t have locks on the doors,” he said.

“Profit over safety”

The 51-year-old computer scientist, recruited in late 2020 after a spectacular hack of some profiles, claims he tried in vain to warn the group’s senior officials. “They don’t have the skills to understand the magnitude of the problem,” he said. “Most importantly, their executive bonuses encourage them to put profit over safety.”

At the end of August, the publication in the press of the report of a whistleblower, highly respected in the cybersecurity community, had the effect of an exploding bomb. Twitter dismissed these accusations as unfounded, but they came in very handy for Elon Musk.

Whoever once wanted to make the platform a public square “essential to democracy” believes the San Francisco company lied to him about the proportion of automated accounts and spam among its users. In his opinion, this will significantly exceed the 5% assumed by Twitter management.

But Peter Zatko directly mentions in his report the questions asked by the Tesla boss on bots. He cites “misleading” statements by network chief Parag Agrawal and claims that Twitter’s tools are “outdated” and its teams are “overwhelmed” and “inefficient”.

Popcorn

Statements that Elon Musk’s lawyers will try to use to their advantage during a trial scheduled for mid-October in a specialized court. In its shareholder vote press release, the California group assures that it “continues to consider the proposed termination of the buyout agreement invalid and unreasonable.”

“I didn’t make my whistleblowers with malicious intent or to hurt Twitter,” Mudge assured senators on Tuesday. “Given the real damage to users and national security, I have decided that it is necessary to take personal and professional risks for me and my family to raise the alarm,” he said.

For his part, Elon Musk tweeted a popcorn-shaped emoji, hinting that he was enjoying the audition.

With AFP

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