Twitter Faces Deeper FTC Probe Into Privacy, Security Practices: Report

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is deepening its probe into Twitter’s privacy and data security practices, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. The FTC’s lawyers have questioned two former company executives in the past month on the social media platform’s compliance with the agency’s 2011 consent decree, the report added. The agency has asked the company if it has the required resources to comply with the privacy consent decree, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

Upheaval and mass layoffs at Twitter since its takeover by Elon Musk have sparked concerns that the social media giant might fail to abide by a May 2022 settlement with the US regulator in which the company agreed to improve its privacy practices. That settlement preceded the Musk takeover.

In a settlement in May, Twitter agreed to pay $150 million (roughly Rs. 1,240 crore) and assess potential features for data privacy and security issues. It also resolved allegations that it misused private information, such as phone numbers, for advertising after telling users the information would be used for security reasons.

That settlement, in turn, was prompted by assertions that the company had violated a prior consent decree reached in 2011 after two data breaches, with Twitter pledging then that it would not mislead users about privacy protections.

Mass layoffs at the firm, which was bought by billionaire Elon Musk in October for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,37,465 crore) has sparked concerns that the social media company may fail to abide by the settlement.

Twitter laid off roughly 3,700 employees in early November in a cost-cutting measure by its new owner.

The company did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comments, while the FTC declined to comment.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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