This morning, CNN and The Washington Post reported new whistleblower claims by Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, that the company’s statistics on bot activity are misleading, its security approach sucks, and that execs aren’t incentivized to look further.
The timing of the report is key given Elon Musk’s arguments about why he should be allowed to break his agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion, and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has responded to the charges in an email sent to employees, posted to Twitter by CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan.
In the letter, Agrawal repeats Twitter’s public statement by claiming Zatko was fired earlier this year for “ineffective leadership and poor performance.” As far as his accusations, the CEO claims the company is looking over what has been published but that what they’ve seen is “a false narrative that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context.”
The letter even claims Mudge “was accountable for many aspects of this work that he is now inaccurately portraying more than six months after his termination.”
Ahead of an October 17th trial date for Twitter’s case against him, Musk’s legal team subpoenaed Zatko as well as former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Speaking to the Post, Zatko said, “This would never be my first step, but I believe I am still fulfilling my obligation to Jack and to users of the platform.” How much his statements change the case remains to be seen as well as what evidence there is of Twitter execs intentionally misleading the board and investors. The Post article cites University of Chicago Law School professor of law and economics Anthony Casey, who says, “It adds to (Musk’s) case, but I still think he’s got a weak case.”