2nd September 2022
Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko, has made a disclosure to US Congress and federal agencies citing serious privacy and security vulnerabilities about the platform. It is being reported that this may now have an impact on Twitter’s ongoing legal case over the proposed $44bn sale to Elon Musk. At the same time, Twitter has continued to launch new features for the platform - including podcasts and a much anticipated edit feature.
Reports appeared this week that the allegations made by Zatko have resulted in his subpoena by Elon Musk’s legal team who are seeking his testimony as part of Musk’s upcoming legal battle with Twitter over the proposed $44bn deal to buy the platform. Musk is trying to terminate that sale citing that Twitter was in “material breach” of its agreement and had made “false and misleading” statements during negotiations relating to the prevalence of spam bots on the platform.
That legal battle now looks to become more protracted as Musk’s legal team is also reported to have filed for a new timeline that would push a court date out until mid to late November and also sent a new termination letter that cites the disclosure testimony from Zatko.
Whilst the legal case rages on (creating much media hype), Twitter is continuing to roll out innovations to its platform, launching 3 new features this week: Adding podcasts to Twitter Spaces; launching a ‘Circle’ feature globally – allowing users to send tweets to select followers only; And after years of user requests, finally testing an edit feature.
The podcast integration will be available in a revamped Spaces tab for a select group of English-speaking audiences on iOS and Android globally. Content is grouped together in ‘Stations’ around topics such as news, sports, and music, with recommendations based on the themes and people you follow. Users can access personalized selections of Spaces and these will feature podcasts from around the world with users able to ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ to indicate if podcasts are interesting to them or not.
‘Circle’ is similar to the Instagram ‘Close Friends’ feature, with Twitter users able to add up to 150 people to their Circle and send them specific tweets. People included in a Circle see a special green badge under tweets to indicate that the post is only available to that group and not the user’s public timeline.
An edit function is the most requested feature ever from users and Twitter has held out against one since it was first created…but it seems to finally be relenting as it announced it was testing the feature this week.
During the test, tweets will be editable a few times in the 30 minutes following their publication. Edited Tweets will appear with an icon, timestamp and label so it’s clear to readers that the original Tweet has been modified. Tapping the label will take viewers to the Tweet’s edit history, which includes past versions of the Tweet. The time limit and version history are intended to protect the integrity of the conversation and create a publicly accessible record of what was said.
If successful the service will be expanded to subscribers of Twitter’s Blue service later this month. Blue subscribers pay for early access to the latest features and also premium features, to help customise their Twitter experience. Twitter Blue is available in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and Twitter has said the expanded test of the edit feature will only take place in one country.
Twitter’s upcoming court showdown with Musk is generating huge media interest, with the world’s richest man taking on one of the world’s (and journalist’s) favourite social media platforms. It is perhaps unsurprising that Twitter is keen to keep focus on new innovations for its platform and users, whilst the legal battles continues.