The Federal Trade Commission is stepping up its investigation into some of Twitter’s most controversial decisions since Elon Musk took over the company last fall. That includes the company’s mass layoffs and the launch of Twitter Blue, as well as the company’s dealings with journalists involved in the so-called “Twitter Files,” according to an in-person interview. The Wall Street Journal.
At issue is Twitter’s 2022 with the FTC for using “deceptive” ad targeting. In addition to a $150 million fine, the company agreed to a “comprehensive privacy and information security program” at the time, as well as other strict measures designed to protect user privacy. But there is widespread concern from lawmakers and others that Twitter has fallen short of those requirements under Musk’s leadership.
Now, The Wall Street Journal reports that since last fall, the FTC has sent at least a dozen letters to Twitter in an effort to learn more about the company’s handling of layoffs, Twitter Blue, the “Twitter Files,” and other issues. The agency is also reportedly trying to impeach Musk as part of its investigation. The House Judiciary Committee also released a report on the FTC’s investigations to Twitter.
The report is not the first suggestion that Twitter may have run afoul of the regulator since Musk’s acquisition. The FTC previously said it had been monitoring the departures of key privacy and security executives. Lawmakers and others have also raised concerns about the hasty rollout of Twitter Blue, which was launched without a proper privacy or security review, a requirement of Twitter’s FTC settlement.
Similarly, if Bloomberg pointed out that the settlement also requires Twitter to restrict internal access to Twitter users’ data. Security experts have questioned whether Musk’s decision to hand over reams of internal documents and allow journalists access could violate his obligations with the FTC.
In Musk called the FTC’s actions “an embarrassing case of arming a government agency for political purposes and suppression of truth.” Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee also view the agency’s investigation as “harassment.”
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