In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, when a whistleblower testified, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said that the FBI had alerted Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) of at least one Chinese agent working at the business, raising fresh concerns about foreign interference at the significant social media site.
Famous hacker Peiter “Mudge” Zatko led Twitter’s security team until his dismissal in January. He claimed some staff was worried that the Chinese government would be able to gather information on the company’s users.
In 2020, when young hackers took over dozens of well-known accounts, including the verified profile of former U.S. President Barack Obama, Twitter came under fire for having weak security.
In his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Zatko claimed for the first time that Twitter was notified that Chinese government agents were employed by the social media giant, indicating that the company’s security vulnerabilities may be much more severe.
In spite of the severe market selloff, shares of Twitter increased by roughly 1%. The $44 billion sale of the firm by billionaire Elon Musk is the primary driver of the stock’s movement, and Tuesday’s increase signaled investors did not find any new information that may support Musk’s effort to back out of the agreement.
Additionally, many senators used the testimony to support legislation they had introduced to restrain the market power of Big Tech, with some even calling for immediate direct action against Twitter. Republican Grassley questioned how Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal would keep his job if the allegations were true.
The US government believes Twitter layoffs have a data purpose
In light of Elon Musk’s intentions for additional layoffs, the US government is now checking whether his foreign investment partners also have access to user data on the microblogging site.
According to sources, the government is requesting for further information regarding the secret arrangements of Elon Musk with foreign investors who own shares in the company.
Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud from Saudi Arabia and the Qatar Investment Authority are two of these investors. In addition, the government levels have already expressed alarm over Musk’s business dealings in China and Ukraine.
Government officials are currently “looking into whether Musk’s foreign investment partners have access to users’ private data on the platform.”
According to US Vice President Joe Biden, Musk’s “relationships with other governments is worthy of being looked at,” which is a cause for concern.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) should investigate Saudi Arabia’s ownership of Twitter, according to Senator Chris Murphy ( Democrat-Connecticut).
More than 3,000 employees and more than 4,800 contract workers were initially let go by Musk. More than 1,200 additional workers quit last week due to his “extremely hardcore” work style. Musk is reportedly considering laying off more Twitter staff once more, this time with a focus on the company’s sales and partnership division.