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Ex-Twitter security head claims the company fired him to flout regulations

Ex-Twitter security head claims the company fired him to flout regulations


The former global head of security for Twitter claims in a lawsuit that the company fired him for protesting cost-cutting measures that could keep it from complying with the law.

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Elon Musk shrugging on a background with the Twitter logo
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

Alan Rosa, former head of security for Twitter, filed a lawsuit against X, Elon Musk, and company adviser Steve Davis, alleging that he was wrongly fired for protesting Musk-led cost-cutting measures. Lawyers for Rosa wrote in the complaint that the cuts hampered Twitter’s ability to comply with the regulatory demands of the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission.

The lawsuit alleged that Musk hired Steve Davis as an adviser and gave him broad authority, with which he immediately “began cutting Twitter’s products and services that supported and complied with the Twitter FTC Consent Decree.” Twitter had settled with the FTC over its inappropriate use of users’ personal information only a few months before, prompting the decree. Rosa’s suit complains that Davis and Musk were both “dismissive” of the decree.

In November, around the time Davis was hired, a lawyer for Twitter posted a message to Slack saying that anyone feeling uncomfortable about things Twitter was asking them to do should seek whistleblower protection.

Cuts allegedly included applications used to sniff out software vulnerabilities and Salesforce programs that the company needed to respond to law enforcement information requests. Rosa objected to both moves, he claimed, because it would keep the company from complying with both the Consent Decree and the EU Digital Services Act. Rosa claims in the lawsuit that he went to the company’s legal department with his complaints.

Rosa also says Davis gave him mere hours to “cut the physical security budget by an additional 50 percent by midnight,” which he said risked the company violating court orders to store hundreds of devices that were under litigation holds. The suit claims that five days after he objected to that change, Twitter revoked Rosa’s access and fired him without reason or notice, then withheld his severance package while it investigated his conduct as an employee.

Not long before Rosa’s firing, Musk laid off workers en masse, sparking an immediate lawsuit and the first wave of the Musk-era ad-pocalypse. As the money started to leave, Musk tried to tighten Twitter’s belt even further with novel approaches like selling all of its stuff or not paying the rent. After forcing former employees to give up their wrongful termination lawsuit and enter into arbitration that Twitter was obligated to pay for, Musk’s company simply refused to do so, sparking another lawsuit. Rosa’s lawsuit uses similar justifications to that lawsuit, citing a precedent.