U.S. Investigators Target Elon Musk For Testimony In Investigation

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Federal investigators at the Federal Trade Commission are hoping to get answers in a sit-down with billionaire Elon Musk, a new report from The New York Times explained on Tuesday.

There have been wide-ranging problems connected to Musk’s takeover of Twitter late last year, from the many technical difficulties that have sometimes emerged to the right-wing ideology Musk seems committed to distributing on his own account on the site, which is poised to fuel widespread suspicion of Musk’s basic credibility. The concern at that federal agency that the Times outlined in its new report centers on Twitter’s handling of data from users. “The investigation is focused on whether Twitter has adequate resources to protect its users’ privacy after the mass layoffs and budget cuts ordered by Mr. Musk,” the newspaper said.

Predictably, Republicans in the House were also expressing outrage about the scrutiny Twitter has been facing, the outlet noted, although that’s just extremely unsurprising. Republicans, including Donald Trump himself, have taken up criticism of some of Twitter’s past decisions — when different leaders were in charge — as a rallying cry, centered in large part on the site’s very temporary restrictions on distributing certain reporting from the New York Post about ostensible corruption involving the Bidens, even though those details remained widely available. Some Republicans have also gathered behind a proposal to broadly restrict federal personnel from getting in touch with interests like Twitter about content on their sites, although as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) — among others — noted, that could impact efforts to gather and distribute info about threats ranging from domestic extremism to foreign misinformation.

In perhaps a surprising move considering how often federal investigators stay mum, a spokesperson at the trade commission defended the agency’s investigative work. “Protecting consumers’ privacy is exactly what the FTC is supposed to do,” Douglas Farrar said. “It should come as no surprise that career staff at the commission are conducting a rigorous investigation into Twitter’s compliance with a consent order that came into effect long before Mr. Musk purchased the company.” That order is a binding agreement, which took shape before Musk took over Twitter, that demands — among other things — certain information be provided to the trade commission about the site’s handling of its users’ data. Among Musk’s ostensibly great ideas for running Twitter has been a high number of firings, impacting potentially basic operations at the site.