Another Twitter whistleblower is considering a position when Elon Musk faces the company in court over a $44 billion buyout deal in two weeks. And he may have a few things to say about the bot, Post said.
Unlike Twitter whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, who never mentioned the words “bot” or “spam” in a two-and-a-half hour congressional testimony in September, a potential second informant claimed that the site’s bot problems were caused by Twitter. An internal study found that it was much larger than admitted.
The whistleblower, a former Twitter employee, claims he was involved in an insider report a few years ago that concluded that at least 30% of Twitter’s daily active users were automated spam accounts.
“Twitter executives laughed when they heard the report and said, ‘We always had bot issues,’” the potential whistleblower told The Post.
His testimony could help Musk, who became the cornerstone of a legal argument about why he had to get out of the deal to buy the site, alleging Twitter’s bot problem.
But Musk still faces a big problem. The potential whistleblower is not sure if he wants to talk.
One prospective witness said he was “not fully decided yet,” adding that he wasn’t sure if he was ready to take a stand in one of the most closely watched trials in years.
The two sides are expected to exchange eyewitness lists on Wednesday, and an answer is likely to come as to whether a second whistleblower has appeared. Zatko was summoned by Musk’s team, but a second whistleblower did not receive a subpoena.
Twitter and a spokesperson for Musk declined to comment.
A potential whistleblower said that the metric that Twitter chose to measure bots (Monetizable Daily Active Users or mDAU) was too narrow and did not fully capture the scope of the site’s spam issues. He said that while Twitter might not be lying when it says that less than 5% of mDAU is bots, it challenges the use of mDAU as a measure and claims that the company is not transparent to investors.
Twitter said it had 238 million mDAU, but if you include automated fake accounts that have not been deactivated, the total daily number of users is significantly higher, the potential whistleblower said. Spam accounts were identified for bot-like behavior, such as posting on time and replying to tweets posted by other users within five seconds, he said.
“The total number of active accounts was higher than what we publicly reported,” the whistleblower said.
A source close to Twitter said the company was not aware of the exact study described by the potential whistleblower. The source pointed out that not all automated accounts on the site are spam. The site’s so-called “good bots” include accounts like @howsmydrivingny, which automatically finds traffic violations based on license plate numbers, and @met_drawings, which posts public domain work from Met’s drawing and printing department on an automated schedule. .
Potentially more importantly, the sources argued that the potential whistleblower should not be involved in a five-day trial that will begin in Delaware on October 17. Because he doesn’t appear to be alleging fraud or inconsistencies with Twitter’s Securities and Exchange Commission. filings. Legal experts say Musk’s decision to abandon due diligence when he initially agreed to take over Twitter also undermined his claims about bots.
The whistleblower said the report had to be removed when he left Twitter as part of his agreement not to keep business confidential.