March 27, 2023

US FTC says it’s following Twitter with ‘deep concern’

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Thursday it was monitoring Twitter with “deep concern” after the social media’s privacy and compliance officials stepped down, potentially putting it at risk of breaching regulatory orders.

The company’s security manager Lea Kissner on Thursday at Tweet said he would stop. Data protection manager Damien Kieran and Chief Compliance Officer Marianne Fogarty have also resigned from their positions, reports news agency Reuters. Yoel Roth, global head of security and integrity, later resigned after Musk’s first meeting together, the Washington Post reported.

The departures come after the platform’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk, moved quickly to clean house after taking over Twitter for $44 billion late last month. It announced plans to cut half its workforce last week, vowed to end fake accounts and charge $8 a month for Twitter Blue, which includes blue check verification.

“We are following Twitter’s recent developments with deep concern,” FTC Director of Public Affairs Douglas Farrar told Reuters.

“No CEO or company is above the law and companies must comply with our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance and we are ready to use them,” Farrar said.

Also on Thursday, tech news site The Information reported that Musk had warned Twitter’s remaining employees that the company could have a multibillion-dollar negative net cash flow next year and that “bankruptcy is not out of the question” if it can’t earn more than it spends. .

In May, Twitter agreed to pay $150 million to settle FTC allegations that it misused private information, such as phone numbers, to target ads to users after telling them the information was collected only for security purposes.

A lawyer for Twitter’s privacy team announced the executive departures in a memo seen by Reuters and posted on Twitter’s Slack messaging system on Thursday.

In the memo, the attorney cited Twitter chief legal officer Alex Spiro as hearing Musk was willing to take a “huge risk” with Twitter. “Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC,” the attorney quoted Spiro as saying.

Twitter did not respond to a request for comment on the FTC’s warning, the attorney’s note or the departures. Spiro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The direction of the platform under its new management”

Since taking over, Musk has fired former CEO Parag Agrawal and other senior executives, and the company’s advertising and marketing executives left soon after, fueling concerns that Twitter doesn’t have enough people to enforce its regulations.

The surveillance has also raised concerns that Musk, who has often waded into political debates, could face pressure from countries trying to control online speech.

That prompted US President Joe Biden to say on Wednesday that Musk’s “collaboration and/or technical relationships with other countries are worthy of review.”

Speaking to advertisers on Twitter’s Spaces feature on Wednesday, Musk told advertisers he was working to transform the platform into the power of truth and end fake accounts, hoping to rein in advertisers upset by the company’s changes.

His assurances may not be enough.

Chipotle Mexican Grill said Thursday it was pulling paid and owned content on Twitter “while we gain a better understanding of the direction of the platform under its new leadership.”

It joined other brands, including General Motors, that have suspended advertising on Twitter since Musk took over amid concerns that he is loosening content moderation rules.

Musk sent his first email to Twitter employees on Thursday, saying telecommuting would no longer be allowed and they would be expected to spend at least 40 hours a week in the office, according to Bloomberg News.

In the email, Musk said he wants to see subscriptions make up half of Twitter’s revenue.

On Thursday, Musk tweeted: “There are far too many corrupt old ‘verify’ checkmarks, so no choice but to remove the old Blue in the coming months.

The lawyer’s note, which confirmed the executive’s departures, was first reported by tech news site The Verge.

#FTC #Twitter #deep #concern

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