Science

Twitter Whistleblower Plays Elon Musk’s Game

The allegations are also serious enough that Ives believes they will be a major moment for politicians investigating social media malpractices, and they will likely lead to the creation of commissions of inquiry. “If what Zatko claims is true, Twitter has undermined the trust of its users and defrauded the Federal Trade Commission and its administrators,” says Bot Sentinel’s Christopher Busi, whose access to Twitter data was threatened with deletion this week. The time, which, in his words, “is not accidental.” Lindsey McCallum-Remy, a spokesperson for Twitter, said the account in question “received a warning for violating our developer policy,” the result of a routine review.

Twitter denies any glitch

The main question is whether the accusations are true. Lindsey McCallum-Remy says Pater Zatko was fired in January 2022 “for poor leadership and poor performance” and says “What we’ve seen so far is the flawed narrative on Twitter and our privacy and privacy practices . with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack of important context. Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear to be designed to gain attention and harm Twitter, its customers and shareholders. Security and privacy have long been, and will continue to be, priorities for the entire Twitter business. »

The fact that such allegations have now surfaced should not come as much of a surprise, no matter how loud this bombshell may have been. “Withholding allegations are a very common basis for filing a fraud complaint,” says Adam Pritchard, a law professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in corporate law. “In this situation, Musk has the opportunity to argue that even with due diligence, he would not have discovered the problem. »

The circumstances of the revelation are working for Musk, Pritchard believes. “It’s easier for him to argue that this is a significant adverse change, and not something that he abandoned by abandoning due diligence,” he said. As always, it’s all about bargaining for leverage, and that gives Musk a little more clout. »

“It might just give Musk the outlet he wants”

For Christopher Busi, the situation seems settled: “I believe that Elon Musk will use this latest revelation in court to prove that he was deceived by the leaders of Twitter,” he said. I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see a scenario where the court will force Musk to buy Twitter if the allegations are true. »

Paul Fisher, who teaches negotiation at Oxford University’s Said Business School, is also not a lawyer. But he believes the takeover has already been decided, and not in the way Twitter wanted. “I think it might just give Musk the outlet he wants,” he said. In any negotiations, especially when it comes to the sale or purchase of an asset, transparency and the transfer of all material information that may affect the price is important. In many cases, if the buyer determines that these statements were not true at the time of the transaction, he may be entitled to terminate the agreement or, of course, seek substantial compensation from the seller. »

McCallum-Remy declined to comment on how the revelations would affect Musk’s takeover court case or how Twitter intended to respond. “I think Twitter will just stand its ground, Dhar says, but they need to start showing evidence that they tried to do something about it and that the deal was in good faith. »

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