FTC's Musk hunt continues

Eray Eliaçik
Mar 8, 2023
Updated • Mar 8, 2023

The FTC has asked Twitter about its efforts to keep user data secure when it gets rid of outdated PCs and office equipment, as well as who may have gained access to internal communications and information thanks to Elon Musk.

Remember Twitter Files? The FTC has asked Elon Musk to reveal the names of all journalists who had access to Twitter files.

Yes, even before Elon Musk bought the company, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had its eye on Twitter. The government organization, however, is worried that the social media giant's seemingly endless round of layoffs could compromise the safety of its user data more than ever.

What is going on between Twitter and FTC, again

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee's Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government unveiled the requests in a new report, describing the FTC's actions as "harassment and overreach," according to Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The report states, the FTC has now sent Twitter well over a dozen demand letters since Musk acquired the company.”

“There is no logical reason why the FTC, on the basis of user privacy, needs to analyze all of Twitter’s personnel decisions. And there is no logical reason why the FTC needs every single internal Twitter communication about Elon Musk.”

- From the report

Elon Musk-related or sent emails, memoranda, Slack chats, communications with the FTC, records concerning former Twitter deputy general counsel Jim Baker, and data on the company's computer and office equipment sales were among the requested items.

The "Twitter Files," a series of pieces written by journalists to whom Musk gave access to confidential company communications and documents, was also a major subject of the subcommittee's investigation. The FTC asked for a list of journalists and other media who were given access to the company's Slack logs, internal documents, and other resources, which the panel deemed to be excessive.

According to a consent order Twitter agreed to in 2011 to settle claims it hadn't adequately protected user information, and which it enlarged in 2022 for utilizing people's security phone numbers to target adverts, the FTC is requesting this information. As part of that agreement, Twitter was tasked with developing and documenting “a comprehensive privacy and information security program” to safeguard user data. However, according to anonymous sources cited in the NYT report, Musk stopped paying Collibra, a company that had developed software used by the impacted teams to monitor Twitter's compliance.

Musk was warned from the start

In a Slack communication, a business attorney warned of "billions" in fines for Twitter if it did not comply with the decree last November before the firm began its many rounds of layoffs. After the meeting, Musk sent an email saying, I cannot emphasize enough that Twitter will do whatever it takes to adhere to both the letter and spirit of the FTC consent decree... Anything you read to the contrary is absolutely false.”

Despite all these events, Twitter still wants to paint the world map completely blue. Do you think they will be able to survive these investigations and succeed it?


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  1. TelV said on March 8, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    It hasn’t been explained who the FTC is, but I assume it refers the the US Federal Trade Commission. Writers should bear in mind that Ghacks has a worldwide following and isn’t confined to the USA. Readers may be unfamiliar with acronyms which solely apply to countries like the USA.

    Anyway, since the FTC is a consumer protection organization it has every right to the information is considers to be in the public interest and should be commended for pursuing cases regardless of content, not ridiculed.

    Pending FTC cases relevant to Twitter can be found here: https://www.ftc.gov/legal-library/browse/cases-proceedings?search=Twitter&sort_by=search_api_relevance

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