The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wanted to compel Twitter to turn over internal communications and documents related to employee layoffs, reported Wall Street Journal.
As Twitter continued to downsize, the federal regulator feared the company would soon be left with too few employees to comply with an earlier FTC ruling that, in light of numerous company’s data breach, obliged to introduce strict new measures to protect user information. As a result, a federal agency has apparently asked Twitter to turn over internal correspondence related to its new chief, Elon Musk.
The WSJ report is based on 12 letters the FTC sent to Twitter and the company’s lawyers after it was acquired by Elon Musk last October. They have raised concerns about Twitter’s ability to honor the $150 million deal it signed with the federal agency last May.
“We are concerned these staff reductions impact Twitter’s ability to protect consumers’ information,” a representative from the FTC apparently said in one of the letters sent last November.
The FTC letters have now gone to the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, which on Tuesday released excerpts of them in a report sharply critical of the federal agency’s investigation, the WSJ reported. The committee has accused the FTC of overstepping its authority and says the agency is casting too wide a net when it comes to requirements for Twitter.
“There is no logical reason, for example, why the FTC needs to know the identities of journalists engaging with Twitter,” the committee’s recent report says. “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.”
One cause for concern is the FTC’s apparent request for Twitter to “identify all journalists” who accessed internal company documents — no doubt referring to the so-called “Twitter Files” that were published primarily by one journalist, former Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi, who now runs his own Substack. The agency apparently asked Twitter to describe “the nature of the access granted” to each reporter and questioned how providing access to that data “is “consistent with your privacy and information security obligations under the Order.”