Democratic senators send FTC letter urging investigation of Twitter

A group of lawmakers has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Twitter in a letter on Thursday for possible declarations of consent or violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

The letter, addressed to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan and signed by seven Democratic Senators, accused Twitter of “serious, willful disregard for the security of its users” and claimed CEO Elon Musk has “taken alarming steps that have undermined the integrity and security of the platform” since his acquisition. The senators also raised concerns related to Internet securitycheating and fraud.

Elon Musk with the Twitter logo

ANKARA, TURKEY – OCTOBER 06: In this photo illustration the image of Elon Musk appears on a computer screen and the logo of Twitter on a mobile phone in Ankara, Turkey on October 06, 2022. (Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

YELLEN SAYS THERE IS “NO BASIS” FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF MUSK’S $44 BILLION TWITTER ACQUISITION

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Dianne Fienstein of California, Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Robert Menendez of New Jersey signed the letter regarding Twitter.

musk completed its $44 billion purchase of Twitter in late October and has since made major changes at the social media company. Some of his actions include firing 50% his staff and the introduction of a verification badge that users can purchase for $8 per month.

Some executives, including Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, Chief Privacy Officer Damien Kieran, and Chief Information Security Officer Lea Kissner, have done so also left the company since its acquisition. These discrepancies, the senators wrote in the letter, raised concerns “whether personal information is adequately protected from misuse or breach.”

In the letter, the senators criticized Twitter Blue, the platform’s verification subscription service, claiming Twitter “didn’t take any action to prevent consumers from being harmed until this rampant impersonation became a public relations crisis.”

Twitter logo on a phone

POLAND – 2022/11/15: In this photo illustration a Twitter logo viewed on a smartphone screen. ((Photo illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)/Getty Images)

The verification subscription, which launched in early November, features accounts impersonating public figures and companies then appear on Twitter. Musk reset the feature and said Wednesday it was would restart End of November. He also announced policies regarding “parody impersonations.”

ELON MUSK SAYS FAKE TWITTER ACCOUNTS MUST HAVE “PARODY” IN THE NAME AFTER A FLORE OF ACCOUNTS IMPOSING HUMAN

The senators said they were “concerned” that the actions of Musk and other Twitter executives “may already constitute a violation of the FTC’s consent decree” on the company.

Twitter has come to terms with that FTC and Department of Justice In May, the social media company told users it would collect phone numbers, email addresses and other account security data, without disclosing that it would also use the data for targeted advertising from companies. It was subjected to a two-decade consent decree that mandated a comprehensive information security program, mandatory audits, reporting and other measures, and the payment of a $150 million fine.

Twitter logo

A Twitter headquarters sign is seen in San Francisco on Friday, November 4, 2022. Employees braced for widespread layoffs at Twitter on Friday as new owner Elon Musk overtakes the social platform. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu/AP Newsroom)

“We urge the Commission to vigorously monitor its Decree of Consent with Twitter and take enforcement action against violations or business practices that are unfair or deceptive, including imposing civil penalties and, where appropriate, imposing liability on individual Twitter executives,” the senators wrote in her letter Thursday.

FOX business took to Twitter to comment on the letter. A spokesman for the FTC confirmed receipt of the agency’s letter from the legislature, but declined to comment.

ELON MUSK SAYS TWITTER WILL BREAK THE 280 CHARACTER LIMIT “SOON”.

In early November, the FTC said it had “followed the latest developments on Twitter with great concern”.

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must comply with our consent regulations,” the FTC said in a statement at the time. “Our revised Consent Order gives us new tools to ensure compliance and we stand ready to use them.”

Julia Musto and Breck Dumas contributed to this report.

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