The Federal Trade Commission and its chairwoman, Lina Khan, delayed taking action against Twitter over a self-reported privacy issue until after Elon Musk secured billions to take over the social media giant in May 2022, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan charged Thursday.
"From the FTC's briefing and subsequent letter, it appears that the FTC acted against Twitter in May 2022 as a result of Elon Musk's (at the time potential) acquisition of the company," Jordan said in a letter to Khan.
"According to the information provided, in October 2019, Twitter self-reported a privacy issue. The FTC and Twitter reached a tentative settlement agreement in [redacted]. At the time, Commissioner Slaughter served as the FTC's Acting Chair. In June 2021, you became Chair. Despite the tentative agreement in [redacted], the Commission took no action against Twitter in 2021.
"The timeline of the FTC's actions raises significant questions," he added.
"A close examination of the information provided suggests that there is an unjustified approximate one-year gap in the FTC's actions with respect to Twitter. A reasonable conclusion is that neither you nor Acting Chair Slaughter seriously planned to take action against Twitter until political pressure arose given Mr. Musk's impending acquisition. The FTC's decision to enter the May 2022 Order after Mr. Musk's acquisition became apparent gave the FTC the power to then harass Twitter under cover of the May 2022 Order. Put simply, what the Committee has learned of the FTC's actions reinforces the concern.""
House Republicans in April issued a subpoena to the FTC for information related to the agency's probe into Twitter's adherence to privacy commitments it made to the U.S. government in the past.
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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