Twitter Misled Regulators on Bot Accounts, Says Former Security Head

Photo: Twitter

Twitter misled federal regulators about its defenses against spam accounts and hackers, according to reports from CNN and the Washington Post on Tuesday (via Reuters).

The reports noted whistleblower disclosures from Twitter’s former security head Peiter Zatko. In the original complaints, Zatko reported that executives at the social media company didn’t have the resources to know how many bots are on the platform, and they also weren’t motivated to find out, according to the CNN report.

Zatko filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, as noted in the report from the Post.

Twitter said in January that famed hacker nL1N2U11KV Zatko, known commonly as “Mudge,” wasn’t in the head of security position any longer after two years.

In a statement on Tuesday, a Twitter spokesperson said Zatko had been fired in January following “ineffective leadership and poor performance.”

Twitter said, “Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday Elon Musk’s lawyers sent former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey a subpoena, seeking documents related to bot data.

The news comes as Elon Musk and Twitter prepare to head to trial in October, following Musk’s attempts to back out of the $44 billion takeover deal over bot data.