Noting that the company is already under a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission for past security and privacy breaches, Schakowksky said, “Musk should be held personally liable because he bought Twitter, took it private, and made a conscious decision to violate the 2011 Consent Decree in which Twitter made an unequivocal commitment to protect consumer data.
Earlier this week, a Twitter attorney said Musk’s frantic pace of rolling out new systems, including the new subscription service, would lead to “major incidents.” The FTC responded with a highly unusual warning that it was watching the company with “deep concern”.
Musk’s attorney reportedly tried to assuage Twitter employees’ concerns after the FTC warning.
“Twitter is already on privacy probation,” the senator said. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), which demands answers from Musk on the wave of “verified” fake accounts – including one impersonating Markey himself.
“Every day in this business brings increasing chaos that threatens the well-being of users,” Markey added. “The FTC has an obligation to ensure that Twitter and its executives meet their responsibilities under the law and agreements with regulators.”
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment. The vast majority of the company’s communications staff were laid off just over a week ago.
It’s not just data privacy that’s getting Democrats’ attention. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wants a powerful government council to investigate Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Twitter deal. And President Joe Biden said the platform is “spewing lies”, adding days later that he too would like to see Musk’s foreign connections investigated.
Musk probably did a disservice to the left when he backed Republicans on the eve of the midterm elections, arguing that a divided government is best for the country. It was an unusual move for a tech mogul, given that his fellow billionaires tend to avoid getting so directly into partisan politics.
And Musk tweeted a fake story about the Speaker of the House Nancy PelosiThe s-husband just days after taking over the platform, stoking fears among advertisers and users that his promise of more free and open dialogue on the platform would instead usher in a new era of misinformation and malicious content .
musk too said recently that “it is true that I have suffered unfair and deceptive attacks for some time from leading Democrats,” and he traded barbs on Twitter with leading Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), which has more than 13 million followers on the platform. Musk himself has over 110 million followers.
It’s the kind of behavior that will likely only increase friction with Democrats in the months to come.