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Elon Musk Claims Twitter Ordered Former Security Chief to Destroy Evidence as Part of Severance Package

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Just before Elon Musk revived his proposal to buy Twitter last week, the billionaire accused the company of ordering a whistle-blower to destroy evidence of its missteps as part of a $7.8 million (roughly Rs. 64 crore) severance package. Peiter Zatko, Twitter’s ex-head of security, said he burned 10 handwritten notebooks and deleted 100 computer files at the behest of company managers as part of his separation agreement, according to October 3 court filings that were unsealed Monday. The books contained notes of the whistle-blower’s meetings with company counterparts during his year-long tenure as security chief, the filings show.

Zatko has been at the centre of Musk‘s arguments that Twitter misled him about a raft of operational problems at the social media platform — which justified walking away from the $44 billion (roughly 3.6 lakh crore) buyout. The billionaire then reversed course last week and agreed to buy the company for the original $54.20 (roughly Rs. 4,500)-per-share price.

“Twitter’s attempt to buy Mr Zatko’s silence failed, but Twitter achieved its secondary aim of ensuring Mr Zatko’s corroborating evidence would never come to light,” Musk’s lawyers said in the unsealed filing.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing, which is part of the Twitter lawsuit to force Musk to consummate the buyout that has since been paused.

Delaware Chancery Judge Kathaleen St J McCormick put the case on hold and set an October 28 deadline for Musk and Twitter to complete the deal. Musk’s lawyers are asking McCormick to sanction Twitter’s attorneys for ordering the destruction of potential evidence in the case.

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Zatko created a stir in Washington when he testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee last month that Twitter’s lax approach to computer security threatened US national security.

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Twitter has said it fired Zatko in January for poor performance and said he gave “a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context.”

Zatko contends he warned Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal about serious computer security issues and privacy concerns tied to the social media platform’s operations that amounted to violations of settlements the company reached with government regulators. He also said his Twitter colleagues showed little interest in doing a deep dive into the issue of how many spam and robot accounts were included among the company’s more than 230 million users.

Musk’s lawyers accused Twitter’s top two lawyers, Vijaya Gadde and Sean Edgett, and Chief Privacy Officer Damien Kieran, along with Agrawal, of seeking to cover up the violations of the legal settlements by ordering Zatko to destroy his documents.

The document-destruction order deprived Musk’s legal team of “critical corroborating evidence of Mr Zatko’s allegations, which would support his account of key meetings and conversations relevant to this case,” according to the unsealed filing.

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Meanwhile, Twitter complained in its own unsealed filing that Jared Birchall — Musk’s top aide — showed up to his September 21 pre-trial deposition in the case unprepared to answer questions about a host of issues related to the transaction.

“Throughout the deposition, Birchall unequivocally conceded both his lack of knowledge and his lack of preparation — on topic after topic,” Twitter’s legal team said in the filing. Birchall runs Musk’s family office and was deeply involved in the negotiations over the buyout of the social media platform.

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Twitter’s lawyers said Birchall had little or no information about his communications with government regulators about the deal, the hiring of data scientists to review the number of spam or robot accounts embedded in Twitter’s customer base or the Musk side’s efforts to retrieve relevant messages about the transaction.

A spokesman for Musk’s lawyers didn’t immediately respond Monday to a request for comment about Twitter’s complaints about Birchall’s deposition performance.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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What Are WhatsApp Polls and How Do You Use Them? All You Need to Know

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WhatsApp’s new features and updates which have rolled out over the past few months have made the messaging experience much better. Now, WhatsApp users can even create polls in personal and group chats to see what their friends and contacts think. Both iOS and Android users can use this feature. A poll could help take the opinions of group members on any topic or idea, or could be useful for making plans quickly. Just like your chats, the responses you send to a poll question will be protected by end-to-end encryption. At the moment, Telegram and Facebook Messenger allow group polls. You can easily start using this new WhatsApp feature on your smartphone.

Here is How to Create a WhatsApp Poll

Step 1: Update WhatsApp to the latest version

Step 2: Open the private or group chat in which you want to create a poll

Step 3: For Android, tap on the paper clip icon at the bottom of the screen. For iOS, select the plus (+) icon at the bottom of the screen.

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Step 4: Select ‘Poll’

Step 5: Type the question you want to ask, along with response options

Step 6: Finally, tap on ‘Send’ to share the poll

Up to twelve response options can be offered to recipients for each poll, and these are not time-bound. Users can also see the responses selected by others by tapping on ‘View votes’.

The Meta-owned messaging app has recently worked on several updates, rolling out new tools including the Call Link feature, the ability to message yourself, and Companion Mode. While some of these new features are not available to all users at the moment, WhatsApp does plan to make them accessible to everyone in the coming days. The most recent and talked-about feature apart from WhatsApp polls is Communities. These allow users to have separate groups under one “Community” to organize large conversations.

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“With Communities, we’re aiming to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else. The alternatives available today require trusting apps or software companies with a copy of their messages – and we think they deserve the higher level of security provided by end-to-end encryption,” stated WhatsApp in a blog post.

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Elon Musk Calls Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban ‘Grave Mistake’, Condemns Violence

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Twitter’s ban on then President Donald Trump after January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters was a “grave mistake” that had to be corrected, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Friday, although he also stated that incitement to violence would continue to be prohibited on Twitter.

“I’m fine with Trump not tweeting. The important thing is that Twitter correct a grave mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service,” Musk said in a tweet. “Deplatforming a sitting President undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.”

Last week, Musk announced the reactivation of Trump’s account after a slim majority voted in a Twitter poll in favor of reinstating Trump, who said, however, that he had no interest in returning to Twitter. He added he would stick with his own social media site Truth Social, the app developed by Trump Media & Technology Group.

Republican Trump, who 10 days ago announced he was running for election again in 2024, was banned on January 8, 2021, from Twitter under its previous owners.

At the time, Twitter said it permanently suspended him because of the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the Capitol. The results of the November 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden were being certified by lawmakers when the Capitol was attacked after weeks of false claims by Trump that he had won.

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Trump repeatedly used Twitter and other sites to falsely claim there had been widespread voter fraud, and had urged supporters to march on the Capitol in Washington to protest.

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The attack is being investigated by US prosecutors and a congressional committee.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday on Musk’s statement that Trump did not violate any Twitter terms of service when his account was suspended.

Earlier on Friday, Musk tweeted that calling for violence or incitement to violence on Twitter would result in suspension, after saying on Thursday that Twitter would provide a “general amnesty” to suspended accounts that had not broken the law or engaged in spam.

Replying to a tweet, Musk said it was “very concerning” that Twitter had taken no action earlier to remove some accounts related to the far-left Antifa movement. In response to another tweet asking if Musk considered the statement “trans people deserve to die” as worthy of suspension from the platform, the billionaire said: “Absolutely”.

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Change and chaos have marked Musk’s first few weeks as Twitter’s owner. He has fired top managers and it was announced that senior officials in charge of security and privacy had quit.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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WhatsApp Reportedly Testing Voice Status Update for iOS Beta: All Details

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WhatsApp, the Meta-owned instant messaging app, is reportedly working on a feature that will let iOS users share voice notes in their status updates. As of now, the users can only share pictures, videos and links in their WhatsApp status. However, once the new feature will be rolled out, WhatsApp users on iOS will be reportedly able to share voice notes or voice clips as well in their status updates on the app. According to the report, the messaging platform is testing the feature on iOS Beta for an upcoming update.

According to a report by WhatsApp development tracker WABetaInfo, WhatsApp users on iOS will be able to share a voice note of up to 30 seconds alongside text in their status updates, similar to what they can currently do in a WhatsApp chat.

The report has also shared a screengrab of the same, hinting at the upcoming feature, which shows a microphone icon on the bottom of the text status.

WhatsApp on iOS users will be required to click on the microphone icon and record their voice to upload it as their status update. They can even add text to it, if needed. It is worth noting that the voice status updates will only be shared with the people selected in the privacy settings. Also, these voice notes will always be end-to-end encrypted.

Not only iOS, but this ability is said to be also being tested in WhatsApp beta for Android’s upcoming update. As of now, this feature is still under development, so it would be very early to say anything.

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Meanwhile, WhatsApp recently rolled out WhatsApp Polls to users on both Android and iOS. The Polls feature was introduced alongside ‘Communities’, a feature that allows users to have separate groups under one umbrella to organise group conversations. WhatsApp Polls lets users create polls within the group with the ability to vote. Facebook Messenger and Telegram currently allow users to add group polls. WhatsApp’s poll feature will be protected by end-to-end encryption.

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