Wall street journal reported that Twitter paid a whistleblower $7 million to keep quiet about issues with the microblogging service’s internal operations. On Tuesday, Elon Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro presented these assertions at a hearing in advance of Twitter and Musk’s forthcoming court fight over Musk’s failure to close the $44 billion acquisition bid. According to the story, the whistleblower is former Twitter chief security officer Peiter Zatko. The corporation may have compensated Zatko for his lost benefits after he left.
Whistleblower’s and Twitter case
Pieter “Mudge” Zatko, who was ousted as Twitter’s director of security in January, came out last month to accuse the social media corporation of exaggerating the efficacy of its security measures and providing inaccurate information regarding its efforts to counteract malicious accounts and hacking.
According to the WSJ’s reporting, the deal was finalized only days before Zatko filed his whistleblower lawsuit in July. Moreover, Zatko agreed to a nondisclosure agreement as part of the deal, preventing him from discussing his time on Twitter or making negative comments about the business in the future. The WSJ stated that Zatko’s lost remuneration was resolved in a private deal in June. The settlement came after months of mediation over possible compensation totaling in the tens of millions of dollars.
After initially agreeing to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, Musk reversed course and backed out, claiming the social media corporation had deceived him about the number of bots and fake accounts on the platform, prompting a heated court fight between the two parties.
When Peiter Zatko first raised his whistleblower complaint in July, the payment was finalized. Mr. Zatko, a hacker, was formerly the director of security at Twitter until being ousted in January. In his whistleblower report, Mr. Zatko claims that the corporation lied about its security issues and failed to secure critical customer data.
After months of mediation over potentially tens of millions of dollars in salary, Twitter reached a secret deal with Mr. Zatko in June about his lost income, according to the sources. When an executive leaves a firm too soon, leaving stock options and other potential funds on the table, it’s not uncommon for the two parties to enter into such a compensation arrangement.
The sources claimed that Mr. Zatko signed a nondisclosure agreement as part of the settlement, which prevents him from discussing his time on Twitter or making negative comments about the business in the future. They argued that he is only allowed to talk freely in Congressional hearings and government whistleblower complaints and that this exception is common in compensation agreements.
The legal team defending Mr. Musk has suggested that the whistleblower accusations might lend credence to its arguments that Twitter committed fraud by concealing the true state of its company and key data about the platform’s user base.
After saying that Twitter lied to him and investors about the quantity of spam and bot accounts among its more than 230 million users, Musk backed out of his purchase of the social media network. Twitter retorts that Musk’s worries about bots are just an excuse to back out of a contract where the world’s wealthiest person supposedly had buyer’s remorse.
Twitter has filed suit to compel Musk to complete the transaction, and the trial is scheduled for October. On Wednesday, Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick granted Musk’s motion to amend his counterclaims to include Zatko’s assertions. He asked her to postpone the trial, but she refused.
The billionaire claims Zatko was terminated for complaining about deficient computer security and privacy problems, including the prevalence of bots among Twitter’s user base. Musk said Zatko’s statements back up his allegations that he had good reason to reject the sale. Twitter’s legal team retaliated by calling Mr. Zatko a bitter ex-employee with a vendetta and claiming that his unfounded allegations after a failed tenure should be excluded from the Delaware litigation. Aside from that, the business has said that Mr. Zatko’s job at the company had nothing to do with the alleged underreporting of spam and bot accounts which Mr. Musk mentioned in his counterclaims.