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Twitter fallout has many questioning the security, legitimacy of the platform

Twitter fallout has many questioning the security, legitimacy of the platform

Twitter fallout has many questioning the security, legitimacy of the platform

SAN FRANCISCO – The bird is out of the cage at Twitter after a weekend of chaos following Elon Musk’s arrival on the scene as the new owner of the social media platform.

Beginning on Oct. 27, Musk’s first act in his official capacity as the owner of Twitter was to fire CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and legal affairs policy chief Vijaya Gadde. Reports from both the Washington Post and Reuters seem to confirm that Musk’s team worked throughout the weekend in order plan for the company’s initial round of layoffs targeting 25 percent of its workforce. The action comes right before a stock grants payout due on Nov. 1 despite Musk’s denials (under most state employment laws those workers will still be entitled to that money). Reports in the media from sources in the company have said the layoffs will affect all sections of Twitter.

Many are nervous that twitter may find itself bereft of a proper security team, a similar situation to Patreon laying off it’s security team which Security Systems News reported on in early September.

Musk who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” began a fresh round of controversy by retweeting and endorsing a conspiracy theory about the recent attack on Paul Pelosi on Oct. 28. That tweet has since been deleted and replaced with another taunting an article covering the tweet from the New York Times.



This is just a sample of what’s unfolded in the past several days as Musk’s new Twitter begins to take shape. Hate speech flooded the platform hours after the takeover with the Washington Post reporting a 500 percent surge of the N-word on Twitter among other racial epithets orchestrated by a variety of different groups. Following the firing of Vijiya Gadde, Musk has promised that twitter will be forming a “content moderation council” that holds “widely diverse viewpoints” before re-instating any high-profile bans from the website but hasn’t disclosed information beyond that.  

In addition, an idea has been floated that the blue checkmark verification system will become a monthly paid service for users, an act whether intentional or unintentional puts legitimacy up for sale. There is also a question of just who is in charge behind the scenes at twitter. Though not made official at the time of writing internal documentation refers to Elon Musk as CEO, unofficially he refers to himself as “Chieftwit”.   

Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn) also called for an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment into the investors behind the funding for the twitter buyout, on twitter. “We should be concerned that the Saudis, who have a clear interest in repressing political speech and impacting U.S. politics, are now the second-largest owner of a major social media platform,” Murphy wrote. “There is a clear national security issue at stake and CFIUS should do a review.”



The Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) issued a statement via Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud announcing the company and the prince now hold a combined total of 34,948,975 shares of twitter, making them the largest joint investor, after Musk himself.

“If this deal goes through, two of the most important U.S. social media platforms will be owned, in whole or in part, by China (TikTok) and Saudi Arabia (Twitter),” Murphy concluded. “This is a dangerous trend, and we don't have to accept it.”

More on this story as it develops.


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