Musk’s Twitter mess leads to stern warning from FTC

Many were removed, but the company has struggled to rein in them as it cut half of its workforce.

Among these changes, Twitter’s top cyber security officer Twitter’s chief privacy officer and chief compliance officer resigned within the past 24 hours, according to an internal Slack message from lawyers on the company’s privacy team. Slack, obtained by POLITICO and first reported by The Verge, said all three company officials resigned yesterday.

The turmoil sparked a stern warning from federal regulators on Thursday. “We are closely monitoring Twitter for the latest developments,” an FTC spokesman said, adding “[n]o The CEO or company is above the law and the company must comply with our consent statute. “The FTC statement is an unusual move by a regulator, which rarely issues statements before enforcement actions.

Twitter is currently pursuing two consent statutes under the FTC’s past security and privacy breaches. In May, the company was fined $150 million for violating its first consent order since 2011, and it remains on the lookout for any future violations. “Our revised consent decree provides us with new tools to ensure compliance, and we are ready to use them,” an FTC spokesman said Thursday.

‘Blue’ launch brings fakes

The platform itself remains besieged by fake accounts under the watchful eye of regulators.

A ‘Joe Biden’ account posted obscene jokes before being deleted; a fake Rudy Juraney offered to fight Ellen Dershowitz. A wave of fake accounts has also swept the sports world, with a “verified” account posing as LeBron James demanding trades.

Although these have since been removed, a separate set of verified blue checkmarked politicians’ accounts with the word “mock” in their handles have emerged to evade suspension.Musk has November 6 on Twitter Accounts that do not state that they are impersonations will be suspended.Fake accounts of New York gubernatorial candidatesLizelding (parody),” for example, appeared to have met Musk’s standards and was awake Thursday morning.

The Twitter change was driven by Musk’s swift decision to open up the company’s “verified” status to anyone willing to pay an $8 a month subscription to the service, known as Twitter Blue. The subscription is to boost returns on his $44 billion purchase of the platform; Musk also said the new service will help weed out spam and fake accounts.

So far, it appears to be doing the opposite: Paid accounts automatically include a “blue check” verification badge, so users spend money and then set up accounts to impersonate public figures, like this one posing as Tony Blair Tweets about the Iraq War.

Many of them were quickly suspended, but not before the posts and screenshots went viral. Musk said accounts that engage in “impersonation, deception or deception” will be actively suspended.

FTC appears important

An internal warning from Twitter’s lawyers on Thursday raised serious concerns about how quickly Musk forced the company’s engineers to make changes and how it could lead to a direct violation of the future FTC by the company.

“Over the past two weeks, Elon has made it clear that he only cares about making up for what he has suffered from his failure to get out of his binding obligations to buy Twitter,” the Slack source said.

The rollout of verification features is typically much slower to ensure compliance with privacy laws and other regulations, but Musk’s frantic pace means the process is now the responsibility of engineers, the letter said.

“I expect that all of you will be under pressure from management to push for changes that could lead to significant events,” the letter said.

In addition to these issues, Twitter’s lawyers are concerned that Musk is willing to fight the FTC, which could cost the company billions of dollars in fines.

“I heard Alex Spiro (current head of law) say that Elon is willing to take a huge risk for this company and its users because ‘Elon sends rockets into space and he’s not afraid of federal trade Committee,'” the lawyer’s letter said.

The FTC’s enforcement capabilities have grown significantly thanks to Twitter’s past consent decrees.

Part of the required audit, according to Twitter’s agreement, means the company must have an assessor to evaluate its privacy and security programs — and the FTC can talk to them at any time to determine if there are any red flags that should be investigated. The company also has subpoena capabilities that can compel Twitter employees to talk under perjury, all of which are admissible in court.

These investigations can take up to a year, and past violations, as well as the harm caused, often factor into penalties.

legacy solutions

The expanded Twitter Blue subscription service is designed to replace the traditional blue checkmark that government officials, journalists and other high profile personalities have received since 2009. Musk said he doesn’t like the current two-tier system with and without blue checkmarks. Also on Thursday, Musk tweets He plans to remove the remaining blue checkmark “in the coming months”.

“It’s leveling the playing field here. It’s obviously not that special to have a checkmark, but I think it’s a good thing,” Musk said in a Twitter space event with advertisers yesterday. “I don’t like the situation with landlords and farmers where some people have blue checkmarks and some people don’t.”

However, a top advertising firm is advising its clients — who spend more than $40 billion globally — to suspend advertising on Twitter because of trust and safety issues with their brands under Musk.

With 90% of Twitter’s revenue driven by advertising, Musk appears to be rapidly pushing releases to make up for lost ad dollars as advertisers worry The recent proliferation of hate speech And Musk’s own conspiracy theories about Paul Pelosi.

The billionaire said everyone — including advertisers — must pay for the new blue checkmark.

While Thursday’s chaos was largely the product of Musk’s abrupt change of platform, it was also reminiscent of Twitter’s early days, when misinformation regulation became a public priority and the company put in place tighter guardrails against fake accounts .

Donald Trump’s own account name @realdonaldtrump evokes an era on Twitter when celebrity impersonation was common and fake corporate accounts could even have their own followers.

However, given the rise of deliberate disinformation, election messing and Russian bots, the risks surrounding social media have grown since then, and experts worry that reopening Twitter as a paid-for-free door could have civic ramifications at a distance Twitter news source.

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