August 24, 2022
Illustration: The Washington Post via Getty Images; Protocol
Good morning! Twitter’s reeling in the wake of yesterday’s whistleblower complaint about the company misleading the FTC and misrepresenting security flaws to its board, among other things. Where does it go from here?
There’s one thing we know for certain about Peiter “Mudge” Zatko’s bombshell whistleblower complaint against Twitter: It raises a ton of questions for everyone already keeping a close eye on the company, from Elon Musk to regulators. So many questions.
What do the allegations mean for Musk’s acquisition? Zatko accuses Twitter of “lying about bots to Elon Musk” and claims that a senior executive tried to shut down a tool for quashing bot and spam accounts. At the very least, it’s giving Musk more ammunition in his court battle with Twitter.
What about regulators? Zatko filed the complaint with the SEC, Justice Department and the FTC, and there’s something in the complaint for everyone.
And what about Twitter’s security? Zatko paints Twitter as a cybersecurity nightmare.
Agrawal has so far responded by going on the offensive, telling employees that Zatko is “inaccurately portraying” aspects of his work; that the complaint lacks “important context”; and that Zatko was fired for “ineffective leadership and poor performance.”
That’s a message Agrawal will likely have to repeat a lot in the coming months in Washington, on Wall Street and in Delaware’s Court of Chancery, as Twitter tries to explain itself to the government, its investors, its users and its would-be owner.
— Nat Rubio-Licht and Sarah Roach
Leaving home can be difficult, and it certainly was for Brad D. Smith, the former CEO of Intuit. He left his small West Virginia hometown in search of economic opportunities after graduating from Marshall University. But after a 36-year Silicon Valley career, Smith decided to go back, give back and lead his alma mater. “I want to serve the next generation and help them understand that they and their peers can do amazing things right here in West Virginia,” Smith told Protocol’s Hirsh Chitkara.
Read the full interview about how he made the decision here.
DataRobot's AI Cloud for Financial Services Unlocks the Art of the Possible: DataRobot continues to attract clients in financial services who want to de-risk their AI investments and rapidly scale AI to almost every part of their operations, resulting in improved productivity and higher customer satisfaction.
Huawei’s Ren Zhengfei said the company shouldn’t try to scale during a recession:
Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong can’t guarantee that layoffs will be a one-time thing:
Atom Bank's Anne-Marie Lister said the four-day workweek is the "the future of working life":
Mishi Choudhary is Virtu’s new SVP and general counsel. Choudhary’s been a legal representative for open-source developers including the Free Software Foundation.
Peter Eliades joined Floating Point Group as head of distribution. Eliades is a former JP Morgan and Wells Fargo exec.
Adam Curry is Bluon’s new SVP of software and data. Curry was a researcher at Princeton University before joining the company.Raji Subramanian is Opendoor’s new CTO. Subramanian was the co-founder of Pro.com, which Opendoor acquired, and worked in several departments at Amazon before that.
Plex is facing a potential data breach. The company sent a letter to affected users saying a third-party got access to some data, including emails, usernames and encrypted passwords.
Packable is liquidating, according to CNBC. Just last year, the Amazon seller parent company was preparing to go public via a SPAC.
Lyft is cutting down on office space. The company plans to sublease parts of its offices in San Francisco, New York, Nashville and Seattle as it goes remote-first, Bloomberg reported.
Adam Neumann’s new startup looks very similar to Alfred, a company he invested in a couple years ago. But sources told Forbes that he distanced himself from the company before introducing Flow.
JD.com posted its slowest growth on record, even though it got a boost in June from China’s “618” holiday.
The Department of Labor is probing travel startup Pollen over allegations that employee wages haven’t been paid for weeks.
France is paying people to trade their cars for e-bikes, giving them as much as a 4,000-euro subsidy each toward a new ride.
Celsius sued a former investment manager for allegedly stealing millions in assets before the company went bankrupt.
Bay Area voice tech startup Sanas wants to make call center workers sound more “American.” “We don't foresee anything bad coming out of this,” the company’s president told SFGate, which is obviously never a bad sign.
Recruiting execs is a tough task, and it’s only getting harder as the fight for experienced talent becomes more competitive. To make the search for the right executive easier, you might want to think about what you’re looking for through a different lens: Consider exactly what risks your company faces and determine the skills needed to face those risks, HackerRank co-founder and CEO Vivek Ravisankar told Protocol Workplace reporter Allison Levitsky. That can help narrow down the search for people at other companies who have experience with your company’s challenges, rather than just looking at people with broadly similar experience.
DataRobot's AI Cloud for Financial Services Unlocks the Art of the Possible: Banks need to secure a competitive advantage in an increasingly tight race to harness best-in-breed technology. Decision makers need to not just plan a future-ready strategy, but also recognize the value of AI that could boost not just their performance in-house but also their reputation among their global customers.
Have a good day — see you tomorrow!