Elon Musk Targeted by FTC for Deposition in Twitter Privacy Probe
(Bloomberg) -- The US Federal Trade Commission plans to depose Elon Musk as part of its probe into Twitter Inc., the social media platform that Musk bought for $44 billion last year, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
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The FTC late last year deepened an investigation into Twitter’s privacy and data security practices in the wake of the company’s takeover by Musk, Bloomberg reported last year. The deposition of Musk would mark an escalation of that investigation.
The FTC has pummeled Twitter with document requests, asking the company to turn over communications related to its recent layoffs, Musk’s leadership and other topics, according to the congressional report. The agency is also asking for documents related to the so-called “Twitter Files,” a project in which Musk gave outside journalists access to internal Twitter information.
The information about the investigation comes from a report released Tuesday by the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, which provides insight into the FTC’s response to Musk’s Twitter takeover.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the FTC’s plans.
“A shameful case of weaponization of a government agency for political purposes and suppression of the truth!” Musk posted on Twitter Tuesday.
FTC spokesperson Douglas Farrar said in a statement that “it should come as no surprise that career staff at the commission are conducting a rigorous investigation into Twitter’s compliance with a consent order that came into effect long before Mr. Musk purchased the company.”
The FTC in the three months after Musk’s acquisition sent over a dozen letters to Twitter. The House Judiciary Committee Republicans in their report claimed the outreach shows that the agency has been “attempting to harass” the company.
Twitter is currently under a consent decree with the FTC, meaning the agency is supposed to conduct oversight of the company’s privacy practices. Many of the layoffs under Musk have hit employees charged with protecting privacy and security on the social media platform.
--With assistance from Leah Nylen and Kurt Wagner.
(Updates with FTC response, in seventh paragraph.)
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