FTC says it’s ‘tracking the developments at Twitter with deep concern’

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday said it is deeply concerned with the way billionaire Elon Musk has been handling Twitter since his recent purchase.

“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” an FTC spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. “No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them.”

Twitter was fined a $150 million civil penalty over the spring for violating a 2011 FTC consent order by using the personal information of users for advertisements from May 2013 to September 2019.

The FTC has required Twitter to follow a number of new provisions, including an enhanced privacy and security program to protect users.

After months of legal wrangling, Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October and has begun overhauling how the company works.

He slashed around half the workforce and rolled out a new Twitter Blue program that includes a verification check mark for $8 a month, which has led to widespread concerns over the impersonation of official accounts.

Amid the changes, some privacy and security personnel at Twitter have resigned their jobs, including the chief information security officer, Lea Kissner.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter,” Kissner tweeted Thursday. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing people and I’m so proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and the work we’ve done.”

A current Twitter employee told The Washington Post that several other security and privacy employees have resigned.

Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko, a former security chief at the company, testified to a Senate committee in September that Twitter lacks cybersecurity safeguards and has potentially given sensitive information about users to China and India.

Updated at 1:39 p.m.

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