US govt to ‘probe’ Twitter as Musk plans more layoffs
SAN FRANCISCO: The US government is now looking into whether Elon Musk’s foreign investment partners have access to users’ private data on the micro-blogging platform, as he plans another round of layoffs.
The media reported, citing sources, the government is asking for more details about Musk’s private agreements with global investors who hold stakes in the company.
These investors include Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud and the Qatar Investment Authority.
Musk’s business dealings in both Ukraine and China have already drawn concerns among the government ranks.
The government is now “looking into whether Musk’s foreign investment partners have access to users’ private data on the platform”.
US president Joe Biden has expressed concerns that Musk’s “relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at.”
Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat-Connecticut) also called for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) to look into Saudi Arabia’s stake in Twitter.
In a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairperson Lina Khan, US senators have asked the agency to investigate whether the Musk-owned Twitter has violated consumer protection laws.
“We write regarding Twitter’s serious, willful disregard for the safety and security of its users, and encourage the FTC to investigate any breach of Twitter’s consent decree or other violations of our consumer protection laws,” the letter read.
In recent weeks, Twitter’s new CEO Musk “has taken alarming steps that have undermined the integrity and safety of the platform, and announced new features despite clear warnings those changes would be abused for fraud, scams, and dangerous impersonation,” the letter added.
According to reports, in prioritising increasing profits and cutting costs, Twitter’s executives have dismissed key staff, scaled back internal privacy reviews, and forced engineers to take on legal liability for new changes - preventing managers and staff tasked with overseeing safety and legal compliance from reviewing the product updates.
“Moreover, key Twitter executives responsible for the platform’s privacy, cybersecurity, and integrity resigned, further calling into question whether personal data is adequately protected from misuse or breach while the company explores new products and monetisation strategies,” the Senators told the FTC.
Musk first fired more than 3,000 employees, along with over 4,800 contractual workers. Last week, more than 1,200 more employees resigned over his “extremely hardcore” way of work.
Now, Musk is again considering firing more Twitter employees, this time targeting the sales and partnership vertical, as per reports.