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Twitter executives beat back against whistle-blower grievance.


Executives at Twitter pushed back on Wednesday against what they said was a “false” narrative being created around a former executive’s allegations concerning the company’s security practices.

At its weekly companywide meeting, Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, addressed a whistle-blower grievance made by Peiter Zatko, the previous head of security, who was fired in January. Mr. Zatko’s grievance, during which he accused Twitter of lying about its security practices and violating a 2011 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, was made public on Tuesday.

“This grievance that was filed yesterday is foundationally, technically and historically inaccurate,” Mr. Agrawal told employees on the meeting, which The Recent York Times listened to. “There are accusations in there with none evidence and lots of points made without essential context.”

Other executives — including Sean Edgett, the final counsel — echoed Mr. Agrawal. The privacy and security executives Damien Kieran and Lea Kissner spoke about improvements the corporate had made to its security.

“We have now never made a cloth misrepresentation to a regulator, to our board, to all of you,” Mr. Edgett said. “We’re in full compliance with our F.T.C. consent decree.” He added that an external auditor reviews Twitter’s compliance with the decree every two years.

Mr. Kieran also disputed Mr. Zatko’s claims that Twitter’s infrastructure lacked security, saying the corporate required employees to put in security updates on their laptops and use physical authentication keys and locked down access to internal systems after a 2020 hack.

“Peiter Mudge Zatko stands by every statement within the disclosure statements and appears forward to meeting with regulators to debate his allegations,” said Debra Katz, a lawyer for Mr. Zatko. “Twitter’s efforts to smear him are pathetic and ultimately might be unavailing.”

Mr. Zatko is scheduled to testify about his disclosures on Sept. 13 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On the meeting, Dalana Brand, Twitter’s chief people and variety officer, also discussed the corporate’s elevated attrition rate for the 12 months of about 18.3 percent. She attributed it to “internal challenges” and the macroeconomic environment. Twitter employed greater than 7,500 full-time employees at the tip of 2021.

A Twitter spokesman said that worker attrition was happening across the tech industry, driven partly by the worldwide macroeconomic climate, but that the corporate remained focused on its business and supporting its work force.

Mr. Zatko’s claims are set to be swept into Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk, who agreed in April to accumulate the social media company for $44 billion but has since attempted to desert the deal. Twitter is suing the billionaire in Delaware Chancery Court to force him to finish the acquisition.

Mr. Musk’s legal team has seized on Mr. Zatko’s grievance as evidence that Twitter has been misleading people concerning the variety of spam accounts on its platform. Mr. Musk has cited a scarcity of disclosure about spam accounts as a reason to terminate the deal.

In a hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for Mr. Musk mentioned Mr. Zatko’s grievance and asked a judge to require Twitter handy over more details about its bots and spam. Twitter’s lawyers said the corporate had already provided all the information required to check its bot tally and argued that Mr. Musk’s requests for extra data weren’t relevant to the case.

“There’s a whistle-blower grievance that has now been filed publicly that talks concerning the false information provided,” said Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Mr. Musk. “He was one in every of the highest handful of executives in the corporate.”

The judge said she would consider the matter and issue a ruling later.

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