It’s not a lament or ode to Twitter. It’s an attempt to understand how my favorite social media network could have become such a disaster.
Recently, a whistleblower named Peiter “Mudge” Zatko revealed rampant security improprieties at Twitter. According to the former security chief, the social media giant may have misled the government, downplayed the problem with spambots, and announced new security measures that weren’t in the pipeline.
Congress has been notified by the complaint in redacted format. Zatko is expected to testify before Congress regarding his claims, which Twitter representatives have described as a false narrative.
Also, it is becoming more serious.
Elon Musk made similar claims regarding misleading information. This was especially in relation to total accounts, e.g. the human ones. In the legal battle to determine whether Musk is allowed to leave Twitter, his legal team has been reenergized.
What’s the real issue here? In short, we don’t really know what is real and what isn’t real. Zatko claims that Twitter lies to us. Musk has misrepresented how many users the social media platform actually receives, if you believe him.
I’ve been an active user since the beginning, first with an original account I started using shortly after the launch date, then with a new account I’ve been using ever since. I have skin in the game because I’ve always been an active user and prefer the quick, truncated approach to social media. I’ve been known to post quick links to articles and, for many years, did that multiple times per day.
I’ve lived through all of the ups and downs, including rampant troll behavior, constant spambot activity, and even the time Russian hackers took over my account.
I’ve stuck with the platform through thick and thin.
This revelation makes me question my commitment.
My hope is that Twitter doesn’t go into yet another defensive posture, although from what I am seeing so far they are claiming the allegations are not true and plan to keep fighting Musk. Any other explanation than denial is likely to reveal guilt. Maybe it’s time to be honest.
Twitter might have to make some changes if it is truly infested by spambots and its security procedures are questionable. It might be necessary for them to make a bold decision, like locking down new accounts until they clean up. If there’s been a history of making security infrastructure announcements without the follow-through, then the firm should reveal more about what they plan to do and how they plan to do it. A security task force should be formed, similar to the one you would create in case of a major scandal or security breach. It will include experts from other firms.
Twitter should make bold steps to correct the damage.
We’re currently in a situation where Musk wanted to buy the company and then realized it wasn’t such a great move, and now another new situation where a whistleblower is making claims about the company that have landed him in front of Congress. How much more can we learn?
Twitter is having a problem. It’s time for them to stop talking and figure out an actual strategy, revealed in detail, about the next steps.
I’m not ready to delete my account yet, but it’s tempting.