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FTC Investigates Elon Musk’s Handling of Twitter Privacy Amidst Federal Order

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently concluded an investigation into Elon Musk's management of the site formerly known as Twitter, now renamed X, in 2022. The FTC determined that Musk's actions nearly violated a federal privacy order, but the company's data security employees successfully prevented a breach from occurring.

In a letter, FTC’s Chair Lina Khan emphasized the appropriateness and necessity of the agency's efforts to ensure Twitter's compliance with the privacy order, particularly in light of the platform's history of privacy and security lapses. However, tensions between the FTC and House Republicans have arisen, with the GOP alleging that the agency has been "attempting to harass" the company since Musk's takeover.

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Musk, who took over Twitter with a pledge to champion free speech on the platform, swiftly implemented new procedures and terminated staff members. This led to a significant exodus, with approximately two-thirds of the company's employees departing.

The FTC continues to monitor Twitter's compliance with the consent order and is pursuing litigation to depose Musk. Violations of the settlement could result in substantial fines or charges against individuals, similar to the case of Uber Technologies Inc.'s former security chief, who was convicted of concealing a 2016 hack at the ride-hailing app.

The incident underscores the ongoing challenges faced by tech companies in maintaining data privacy and security standards, especially amidst changes in leadership and corporate restructuring. Musk's involvement in Twitter's management has drawn significant scrutiny, highlighting the importance of regulatory oversight in safeguarding consumer privacy rights.

As the FTC remains vigilant in enforcing privacy regulations, it serves as a reminder to companies and individuals alike of the potential consequences of failing to uphold data protection standards. Moving forward, continued diligence and transparency will be essential for companies navigating the complex landscape of digital privacy and security.