Elon Musk is in the crosshairs of US federal regulators over his handling of privacy and security issues since he took over at X (formerly known as Twitter).
In a new court filing made public on September 11, 2023, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) revealed further details about a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation that has been ongoing since March 2023. The FTC has been examining Musk’s supervision of Twitter Blue and the ‘Twitter Files,’ a series of disclosed internal Twitter documents published from December 2022 through March 2023.
In 2022, under the leadership of its previous CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter was fined $150m by the FTC, which forced the company to enhance some of its privacy and security measures via an administrative order.
The court filing suggests that Musk may have violated the said order after taking over the company.
Specifically, the court filing said that Musk’s granular control of X Corp fostered a “chaotic environment” and his mass layoffs prevented remaining company officials from complying with their obligations to the FTC.
The FTC quoted Damien Kieran, Twitter’s former chief privacy officer, who said that Twitter Blue launched so quickly that a “security and privacy review was not conducted in accordance with the company’s process for software development.”
Additionally, the US government raised concerns over some of Musk’s decisions, such as rearranging servers between data centers. This practice, revealed by former employees during the FTC investigation, was against Twitter’s policy.
Finally, the court filing suggests that Musk himself should not be exempt from testifying in court regarding X’s actions since he “has been deeply involved in the fundamental transformation” of the company.
Although neither Elon Musk nor X Corp commented on the new court filing, in March the billionaire called the FTC investigation “a shameful case of weaponization of a government agency for political purposes and suppression of the truth!”