The Federal Trade Commission reportedly demanded that Twitter CEO Elon Musk turn over internal company communications and information about the company’s mass layoffs as well as sit for a deposition as part of an investigation into the company, according to a Tuesday report.
The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee published a report Tuesday titled, “The Weaponization of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): An Agency’s Overreach to Harass Elon Musk’s Twitter,” outlining alleged harassment of Twitter from the FTC, which is led by Democrat Lina Khan.
“Consisting of over a dozen FTC demand letters to Twitter that — in the span of less than three months following Musk’s acquisition — make more than 350 specific demands, this information shows how the FTC has been attempting to harass Twitter and pry into the company’s decisions on matters outside of the FTC’s mandate,” the House Judiciary Committee said in a statement. “The timing, scope, and frequency of the FTC’s demands to Twitter suggest a partisan motivation to its action.”
The FTC said in one letter to the company that its concerns centered around how changes at the company would “impact Twitter’s ability to protect consumers’ information.”
The Houses Judiciary report highlighted examples of demands that were made by the FTC that it said has “little to no nexus to users’ privacy and information,” including:
Information relating to journalists’ work protected by the First Amendment, including their work to expose abuses by Big Tech and the federal government;
Every single internal communication “relating to Elon Musk,” by any Twitter personnel — including communications sent or received by Musk — not limited by subject matter, since the day Musk bought the company;
Information about whether Twitter is “selling its office equipment”;
All of the reasons why Twitter terminated former Twitter employee and FBI official Jim Baker;
When Twitter “first conceived of the concept for Twitter Blue,” Twitter’s new $8/month verified account subscription; and
Information disaggregated by “each department, division, and/or team,” regardless of whether the work done by these units had anything to do with privacy or information security.
“There is no logical reason, for example, why the FTC needs to know the identities of journalists engaging with Twitter,” the statement from the House Judiciary concluded. “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.”
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Musk responded to the repeated demands from the FTC by writing on Twitter: “This is a serious attack on the Constitution by a federal agency.”
This is a serious attack on the Constitution by a federal agency.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 7, 2023