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Twitter Whistleblower - Narrative Intelligence

August 25, 2022Evan Robert

The chaos at Twitter continues. The former security chief of Twitter, Peiter Zatko, has alleged that Twitter has severe security deficiencies and that Elon Musk's bot accusations are "on target". Twitter has denied Zatko's claims, dismissing him as a disgruntled employee. But this has done little to stop U.S. media swarming to this narrative as the Twitter-Musk trial approaches.

This EdgeTheory narrative intelligence brief analyzes the state of the whistleblower narrative, who's amplifying it the most, and which trends are driving the national conversation.

Over 700 articles in the past 5 days have mentioned the Twitter whistleblower narrative. The Hill, New York Post, and Business Insider are top three amplifiers of this narrative, combining for over 70 amplifications. By state, California media is fixated on this narrative the most, with 30 amplifications from local news outlets. New York was a close second with 21 amplifications.

Taking political bias into account, the coverage split between liberal and conservative outlets on this narrative is fairly even. Left-leaning outlets amplified 80 more articles than their right-leaning counterparts.

Amplifications by political bias

Peiter Zatko, while most definitely a top trend, is not the main trend associated with this narrative. That title belongs to Elon Musk (over 1,000 mentions), whose case against Twitter is strengthened by Zatko's leak. Tertiary trends like "fake accounts" are favorable for Musk's case, which is built upon the accusation that Twitter did not disclose the accurate percentage of bots on its platform when Elon was purchasing it. Zatko's report corroborates this.

However, a great many trends are critical of the whistleblower. "Opportunistic timing" is a keyword trend that echoes Twitter's response to Zatko's complaint; with a trial slated for this October, a Twitter spokesperson all but said that the leak was methodically timed to bolster Musk's claims. Another trend, "inconsistencies and inaccuracies", leaves little doubt to Twitter's stance on the allegations– they assert that Zatko's actions were that of a vengeful former employee rather than an individual concerned with Twitter's platform security.

Top keywords by total mentions

"Ineffective leadership" rounds off Twitter's response, attempting to discredit Zatko as an inept employee ahead of the trial.

These two narratives will most likely take center stage as the trial unfolds: Musk will say that the leak proves he was right about the bot counts and Twitter's dishonesty, and Twitter will claim that Zatko's actions were a stunt to sway public opinion, and that Zatko is an unreliable source as it pertains to both bot counts and platform security.

This narrative is far from over, and this EdgeTheory brief will automatically update as U.S. media's coverage of this trial progresses. Check back here to see how the narrative is being shaped every day:

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