Another whistleblower is likely to testify when Elon Musk appears in court in two weeks over his $44 billion Twitter takeover deal.

Unlike the first whistleblower, former Twitter security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the second person is going to have some concerns about bots.

During his two-and-a-half-hour congressional testimony in September, Zatko did not mention the words “bots” or “spam” once.

The potential whistleblower would give information on internal research revealing that the platform’s bot issue is far worse than Twitter has admitted.


The would-be whistleblower claims to have been part of an internal report some years ago as a former Twitter employee.

The report allegedly found that at least 30 percent of Twitter’s daily active users are robotic spam profiles.

The whistleblower, whose identity has not yet been revealed, said: “Twitter execs laughed when they were told about the report and said, ‘We have always had a bot problem.”

His testimony may turn out to be a huge boost for Musk, as he made the bot issue the cornerstone of his legal argument for why he should be allowed to quit his deal to buy the site.

But Musk still has a major problem since the possible whistleblower is unsure if he wants to talk.

However, the would-be witness said: “I haven’t fully decided yet.”

He stated that he isn’t sure he’s prepared for the limelight that would come with testifying in one of the most closely watched cases in years.

On Wednesday, October 5, the two sides are set to switch witness lists, perhaps revealing if the second whistleblower would attend.

While Musk’s team has subpoenaed Zatko, the second whistleblower has not received one.

Twitter and Musk representatives declined to comment.

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The potential whistleblower said that Twitter’s chosen metric for measuring bots, Monetizable Daily Active Users, or mDAUs, is overly narrow and fails to fully represent the scale of the site’s spam problem.

He believes Twitter is not lying when it claims that less than five percent of its mDAUs are bots.

However, he objects to the use of mDAU as a metric in the first place and believes that the firm has not been honest with investors.

Twitter claims 238 million mDAUs, although there are many more overall daily users when automated bogus accounts that have not been disabled are included.

The spam accounts were detected because they showed bot-like behavior, such as posting on the hour and reacting to tweets within five seconds of another user posting them.

The person said: “The total number of active accounts was higher than the number we reported publicly.”

A source close to Twitter said the firm was not aware of the specific study detailed by the possible whistleblower.

The source pointed out that not all robotic accounts on the platform are spam.

Accounts like @howsmydrivingny, which automatically checks traffic violations based on license plate numbers, are “good bots” on the site.

Similarly, @met drawings automatically tweet public domain works from the Met’s drawings and prints section.

The source also argued the potential whistleblower should have no bearing on the five-day trial, which is set to kick off since he appears to not allege fraud or inconsistencies in Twitter’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. 

Musk’s decision to waive due diligence when he initially agreed to buy Twitter also weakens his argument about bots, legal experts say.

The whistleblower said that he had to delete the report when he left Twitter as part of an agreement to not keep confidential business information. 

Source: New York Post

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