A whistleblower is claiming that Twitter engineers can still use the app’s “GodMode” and tweet from any account. Following talks with policymakers, the company could face a huge fine if the charges are proven to be true.
The Washington Post quoted a complaint by the whistleblower where they claim that any Twitter engineer can still activate an internal program and tweet from any account.
The whistleblower, who is a former Twitter employee and has been talking to both members of US Congress and the staff at the Federal Trade Commission, says that the company’s management had not actually fixed the issue as they claimed – the program, renamed to “privileged mode,” is still on the engineers’ work laptops.
According to the former Twitter employee, the firm has merely revoked the default access to the tool, but engineers can still activate it by changing a single line of the code from FALSE to TRUE.
“After the 2020 hack in which teenagers were able to tweet as any account, Twitter publicly stated that the problems were fixed,” the complaint shared with the Washington Post says. “However, the existence of GodMode is one more example that Twitter’s public statements to users and investors were false and/or misleading.”
Concerns about security soared in 2020 when in one incident, teenagers breached internal systems and tweeted as Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk, former US president Barack Obama, and others.
Twitter executives had previously stated that they repaired the glitches. But if the whistleblower’s accusations are proven to be true, the situation will turn out to have worsened under the leadership of Musk.
What’s more, the report says that “some people who have been in regular contact with the FTC say they think it is possible the agency may fine the company $1 billion or more” if it concludes that the company has continuously violated the FTC regulation.
The whistleblower spoke with the Washington Post on the condition of anonymity because other former employees have been threatened and harassed.
The report is just the latest testimony about the dismal state of Twitter’s privacy protections. Back in November 2022, another former employee, Steve Krenzel, said he had been asked to “track everywhere users go” by a large telecom provider sometime in 2015-2016.
The ex-Chief Executive Jack Dorsey rejected the request when asked for advice. However, Krenzel said he had been told by Twitter’s legal team that the request did not violate the user terms of service.
Twitter users also faced a major security threat as cybercriminals publicly disclosed 63GB of data, connecting over 200 million platform users with their names and email addresses.
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