A filing by Twitter’s former head of security Peiter Zatko, otherwise known as “Mudge” might strengthen Elon Musk’s claim of bot or spam accounts in the ongoing legal battle between the world’s richest man and the microblogging platform, Twitter. 

Driving the news 
The popular hacker and former employee of Twitter who was fired in January filed a complaint to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission over an alleged misconduct by Twitter in its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

  • Mudge claimed that Twitter broke its terms of agreement with the regulators (FTC) by tendering misleading reports about the platform’s security. Despite his warning about an outdated and vulnerable software in use.
  • The hacker also claimed that the executives of Twitter withheld information about the breaches the company experiences and possible compromise of users data. 

Background to the story 

  • Twitter’s board of directors accepted Elon Musk’s $44 billion bid to purchase the company just after acquiring 9.1% of stake in the company.
  • Following Elon Musk’s agreement with Twitter’s board of directors, the multi-billionaire developed buyer’s remorse after realizing that fake accounts made up 5% or more of Twitter’s 229 million users.  
  • Mr. Musk then temporarily halted the acquisition of the app to enable him to understudy the social media company to uncover the exact number of fake user accounts. Elon Musk then filed a termination request to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 
  • Twitter then sued Elon Musk to force him to complete the acquisition. Meanwhile, Elon Musk continues to argue he didn’t have sufficient information on the number of fake accounts on the platform to close the deal. 

What they are saying 
An official of Twitter stated that the claims by the former employee of the company were untrue and inaccurate. He further stated that the aim of the publication by Mudge is to “capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders.”

Why it matters 
Although Mudge’s recent complaints don’t exactly support the Elon Musk case, it is more beneficial to the Tesla boss than to Twitter. While Elon Musk claims had he known the severity of bot prevalence on the platform, he wouldn’t have agreed to buy Twitter, Mudge claims that Twitter didn’t have the resources to calculate the true number of bots on the platform and were unwilling to. 

  • The complaint definitely betters Elon Musk’s case against Twitter, which had largely been in favor of the latter.
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