Twitter Agreed To Pay Whistleblower $7 Million in June Settlement

Twitter agreed in June to pay roughly $7 million to the whistleblower whose allegations will be part of Elon Musk’s case against the company, WSJ reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The settlement was completed days before Peiter Zatko filed his whistleblower complaint in July. Mr. Zatko is the hacker who was Twitter’s security head before being fired in January. In his whistleblower complaint, Mr. Zatko accuses the company of failing to protect sensitive user data and lying about its security problems. Twitter’s confidential June settlement was related to Mr. Zatko’s lost compensation and followed monthslong mediation over tens of millions of dollars in potential pay, the people said. Such compensation agreements aren’t unusual when an executive departs a company prematurely and leaves behind potential stock options and other money.

As part of the settlement, Mr. Zatko agreed to a nondisclosure agreement that forbids him from speaking publicly about his time at Twitter or disparaging the company, the people said. Congressional hearings and governmental whistleblower complaints are two of the few venues in which he is permitted to speak openly, they said, and such exemptions are typical in compensation settlements. Mr. Zatko is set to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to discuss his allegations of security failures at Twitter. The same day, Twitter shareholders are being asked to vote on Mr. Musk’s proposed takeover of the social-media company.