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Whistleblower claims Twitter is a risk to national security

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Twitter misled federal regulators about its defences against hackers and spam accounts, the social media company’s former security chief Peiter Zatko said in a whistleblower complaint

Shares of Twitter dropped sharply on Tuesday after the revelation of an explosive whistleblower complaint alleging the social media company misled federal regulators about its defences against hackers and spam accounts.

The disclosures come from Twitter’s former security chief Peiter Zatko, a famed hacker more widely known as “Mudge,” who has testified before Congress about the vulnerabilities of the internet in the past.

Zatko says “If you’re looking for computer security, then the internet is not the place to be.”

Zatko, seen in an interview with Reuters at the 2019 Black Hat cybersecurity conference, filed an 84-page complaint last month with multiple government agencies, alleging that Twitter falsely claimed it had a solid security plan and said he had warned colleagues that half the company’s servers were running out-of-date and vulnerable software.

The complaint, which was first reported by the Washington Post and CNN, was also sent to congressional committees.

A Twitter spokesperson said on Tuesday that Zatko was fired in January for “ineffective leadership and poor performance” less than two years after then-CEO Jack Dorsey appointed him to the role, and said his complaint was designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter.

The whistleblower complaint comes at a rough time for the social platform, as its embroiled in a legal battle with Elon Musk after he said in July he was ending an agreement to buy the company, alleging Twitter had violated the terms of the deal.

The world’s richest person has accused Twitter of hiding information about how it calculates the percentage of bots on the service.

The whistleblower complaint alleges Twitter prioritised user growth over reducing spam, offering executives massive bonuses for increases in daily users and nothing explicitly for cutting spam.

CNN reported that Musk’s legal team has subpoenaed Zatko, after the whistleblower disclosure was made public. The Tesla CEO could not be reached for comment.

This report produced by Chris Dignam, Reuters.

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Twitter updates font on mobile & web versions

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Have you noticed something different about Twitter?

 
Well, the social media giant has changed the font on its web and mobile app.

Apple users, sorry, you’re stuck with the old one.

It’s unclear why Twitter made the change, but it may have to do with spotting impersonators.

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Business

Justice Department & states sue Google in anti-trust lawsuit

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The Department of Justice and a handful of states have sued Google over the company’s dominance in the digital ad space.

 
This is the second anti-trust lawsuit the D.O.J. has filed against Google.

The D.O.J. and states are seeking to unwind Google’s alleged anti-competitive acquisitions in the advertising space, as part of the joint case.

“We alleged that Google has used anti-competitive exclusionary and unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press conference.

“Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, & unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its [digital ad] dominance.”

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Business

Spotify to cut six per cent of workforce

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Spotify is set to to cut 6,000 jobs, or six per cent of its workforce, adding to the massive layoffs in the tech space over recent weeks

The Stockholm-based company had benefited from pandemic lockdowns because more people were looking to be entertainment, when they were stuck at home.

Ek indicated that the company’s business model – which had long focused on growth – had to evolve, and bring costs in line.

“To bring our costs more in line, we’ve made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce our number of employees,” Ek wrote.

Spotify made “considerable effort” to rein in the costs over the past few months, “but it simply hasn’t been enough,” he said.

Spotify saw businesses pull back on advertising as factors including soaring interest rates pressured global demand.

Layoffs have since picked up steam over the past few weeks, with Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon axing jobs recently.

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