Revelations from a Twitter whistleblower could put the social media platform in serious legal jeopardy with the feds if that person has “the goods.”
(Video: Fox News)
That is the assessment of Fox News host Howard Kurtz, who anchors the “Media Buzz” show on Sunday mornings, and who characterized the allegations as “manna from heaven for Elon Musk, a gift from the digital gods” for his attempt to exit the Twitter takeover, a platform that he attempted to buy in the name of free speech.
In the video clip embedded above, Kurtz told colleague Martha MacCallum, host of “The Story,” that whistleblower Peiter Zatko, a.k.a. Mudge, is not just some rando and is instead a respected “big gun” in the technology industry.
Kurtz summarized the allegations Tuesday by asserting that Zatco “has come out and said that Twitter lied to federal officials about its efforts to reduce spam.”
Zatko’s information “could be the key to helping Musk get out of having to buy Twitter or to negotiate a settlement at a lower price, which may be his end game after all,” Kurtz claimed.
Kurtz then broadened the conversation: “Even beyond what ‘eccentric Elon’ does, this could be an existential threat to Twitter itself. If Zatco’s allegations are proven true — and the company CEO says, ‘oh, he was fired in January, he’s this disgruntled person, he’s not telling the truth,’ pretty common with these whistleblower cases — Twitter could end up being charged with securities fraud if the allegations are true, and that’s a big if. You know, sometimes whistleblowers are brilliant, they expose great stuff; sometimes they don’t have the goods.”
Elon Musk challenges Twitter CEO to ‘public debate’ on ‘bots’ as various broadcasters vie for rights https://t.co/Qhy4xvHSpJ
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 7, 2022
The media analyst added that “We’ll find out, but Elon Musk is one happy guy right now because he feels like he has someone who can help him get out of this thing.”
Billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, an intermittent-fasting fan, and Twitter are now suing each other over the on-hold $44 billion deal in a controversy over the extent of bogus accounts.
As alluded to above, Musk has tried to back out of the complex transaction, and Twitter wants a court to order the sale to go through.
The case is set to go to trial beginning on October 17 in a Delaware courtroom (assuming there aren’t delays for more “discovery,” including the release of additional documents, or a settlement.)
According to ABC News, “Zatko, who served as Twitter’s head of security until he was fired early this year, alleged in his complaint to U.S. officials that the company misled regulators about its poor cybersecurity defenses and its negligence in attempting to root out fake accounts that spread disinformation. Zatko received a subpoena Saturday from Musk’s team compelling him to testify in what Zatko’s lawyers emphasized would be an ‘involuntary’ deposition ahead of the coming courtroom battle between Twitter and Musk.”
Along with a meme, the quirky Musk previously shared a portion of a Washington Post article apparently along these lines:
So spam prevalence *was* shared with the board, but the board chose not disclose that to the public … pic.twitter.com/lXk48TFZL1
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2022
In an entirely separate matter, Kurtz earlier this month delivered a brief editorial in response to CNN firing “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter:
“When I came to Fox nine years ago to launch ‘Media Buzz,’ I made it a personal policy not to talk about the rival show on CNN. Well, that program has now been cancelled…I’m not gonna knock anybody. I wish them well. But I will say this: Chris Licht, the new president of CNN made clear when he took over in the spring that he wanted less extreme partisanship on the network. A return to its roots, and that makes sense. The problem is after six years of bitterly anti-Trump and relentless anti-Fox programming, CNN had surrendered that reputation…then the ‘sugar high’ of Trump-driven ratings wore off…”
Kurtz continued: “Now when you have two media shows going head to head, and the one with less than half the ratings is taken off the air, that might be considered part of the story, but most mainstream accounts…didn’t bother to mention ‘Media Buzz’…many also didn’t mention that the other show on CNN had been my show. I helped build that franchise. I was very proud of being fair to conservatives, liberals, independents, and everyone else. It was a different era at CNN…so now there’s only one media analysis on national television, and you’re watching it.:
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