Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk appears to have been vindicated over his prior accusations that he was not getting all the information he requested from Twitter executives prior to taking over the platform. Earlier this week, Musk took to his platform to share what appears to be an internal Twitter communication thread that began with Yoel Roth, the chief of Safety and Integrity at the platform.
On Sunday, the multi-billionaire highlighted the communication as evidence that the former executives of Twitter, as well as company attorneys, hid evidence from a court that pertained to his attempt to back out of his acquisition of the social media giant.
Musk identified the corporate law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which represented the social media company in legal proceedings with the South African-born entrepreneur, according to Bloomberg. In the messages, Roth suggests he could accuse an apparent Twitter employee identified as “Amir” of having falsified his “Objectives and Key Results,” or “OKRs,” a metric used by technology companies such as Twitter to outline goals and assess outcomes.
Roth even points out that such falsification would amount to the same behavior Musk claimed Twitter’s executives were responsible for.
“Literally doing what Elon is accusing us of doing,” Roth wrote.
For weeks over the summer, Musk attempted to obtain more information from Twitter’s executives regarding bot and spam accounts after the executives claimed that the vast majority of accounts were real. In early September, he responded to an independent analysis that found most Twitter accounts, by far, are fake, spam, or bot accounts.
According to leading cyber security specialist Dan Woods, who formerly worked for the FBI and CIA, as many as 80 percent of Twitter accounts are bots, The Australian reported.
“Sure sounds higher than 5%!” Musk wrote on the platform in response to Woods’ findings.
“More than 80 per cent of Twitter accounts are likely bots, according to former CIA and FBI cyber security specialist Dan Woods, who created a fake profile and quickly gained more than 100,000 fake followers in one weekend by purchasing them on the dark web,” the outlet reported.
“Mr Woods, who studies bot traffic as part of his current role with global cyber security provider F5, told The Australian that Twitter’s bot traffic was almost certainly far greater than it has expressed publicly and greater than it believes internally,” the outlet continued.
“I’m not a programmer, but I watched YouTube and in a weekend I wrote a script that automatically creates accounts on Twitter without encountering any obstacles,” he told the outlet.
“There’s huge demand (for bots), there’s a marketplace to serve that demand, and if I can write a bot that creates accounts on Twitter, and I’m not even a programmer, imagine what a sophisticated programmer could do,” he continued.
“Twitter doesn’t want (its number of bots) to be that high, so they’re going through the motions of canceling some accounts,” Woods added.
“I’m not saying they’re lying, but we’ve really studied these accounts and we’ve come to the conclusion that there are a lot more fake accounts than Twitter is letting on,” he noted further.
He said that allowing large numbers of bot accounts on Twitter and other major social media platforms is dangerous because it gives foreign malign actors and hostile governments a means to influence and manipulate another country’s political processes.
Musk filed paperwork over the summer to back out of the US$44 billion offer he made to purchase the platform after he said Twitter executives were not being transparent about fake accounts. Twitter sued Musk afterward, and the case is pending in Delaware.
He and his legal team have suggested that the number of bot accounts may be as high as 33 percent, far more than the 5 percent Twitter claimed.
In August, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security who was personally hired by Twitter founder and then-CEO Jack Dorsey, said in an explosive interview that current management had not been upfront and honest with Musk regarding the number of fake, bot, and spam accounts on the platform.