Former Employee Says There's a 'GodMode' on Twitter

A former Twitter employee revealed that the company has access to all users' accounts and can "tweet" from any account if needed. The confession was revealed by a former Twitter employee to a congressman with the United States Federal Trade Commission (Federal Trade Commission / FTC). 

In his testimony, the former Twitter employee said that every engineer or engineer/technician at Twitter still has access to activate an internal program called "GodMode". Through GodMode, staff at Twitter can tweet from anyone's account. The program is said to be still active and changed its name to "Privilage Mode". 

According to a former Twitter employee, the program was actually created for advertising purposes. The goal of this program is to allow Twitter staff to compose tweets using an advertiser's account when the advertiser is unable to do so themselves. 

Regarding the existence of GodMode, according to a former Twitter employee who testified, GodMode can still be accessed on every laptop belonging to a Twitter engineer. GodMode can be accessed only by making a simple code change, from "FALSE" to "TRUE". 

When that mode is used, it warns anyone trying to use it "THINK BEFORE YOU DO THIS." Summarized Pentadrivers from The Washington Post, Thursday (26/1/2023), the former Twitter employee who exposed the existence of GodMode said that he dared to become a whistleblower after being motivated by the testimony of the former head of Twitter security, Peiter Zatko, in 2020. 

If you remember, in 2020, teenagers from the United States hacked large accounts. At that time, a number of accounts belonging to celebrities such as Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Kanye West, and even Elon Musk, were broken into and misused for Bitcoin fraud. 

Twitter said at the time that it had fixed the problem and improved security and protected user privacy. However, at that time, Zatko denied Twitter's claims and said that Twitter did have poor access controls and even tended to commit violations.

Also, a former Twitter employee claims engineers at the social media company can still use GodMode. This mode allows them to tweet from anyone's account. The former employee turned whistleblower alleged that GodMode (now renamed "privileged mode") remained on the laptop of every Twitter engineer who wanted it.

To activate it, these engineers only needed a production computer and a simple code change from "FALSE" to "TRUE". Allegations about GodMode were previously filed in a lawsuit filed in October by the non-profit law firm Whistleblower Aid with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In an interview with The Washington Post, the leaker said the purpose of the privileged mode program was to allow Twitter staff to tweet on behalf of advertisers who couldn't do it themselves. However, this kind of capability raises considerable concerns for user safety.

Concerns about Twitter's own safety spiked after an incident in 2020 when teenagers broke into Twitter's internal systems and tweeted as Musk, Barack Obama and a number of other figures. Twitter executives in 2020 said they had fixed the glitch, but the reporter denied this.

"After a 2020 hack where teens could tweet as any account, Twitter has publicly stated that the issue has been fixed," the whistleblower said.

"However, the existence of GodMode is yet another example that Twitter's public statements to users and investors are false and/or erroneous," it added.

This latest accusation is said to prove Twitter has violated the law. This latest accusation led to Twitter reopening the 2020 case, which sparked interesting findings. Namely, engineers were apparently able to delete or restore anyone's tweets. The whistleblower also claims that Twitter cannot record parties using or abusing this special mode.

The new allegations from the whistleblower were filed by Whistleblower Aid, the same nonprofit that represents Peiter Zatko, Twitter's former head of cybersecurity. The FTC is reportedly interviewing a number of former Twitter employees about the allegations.