High-profile resignations put Twitter at risk of giant FTC fines

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2022
After three big executive departures, Elon Musk has made engineers responsible for compliance with a FTC ruling -- with enormous fines hanging over Twitter's head if directives aren't obeyed.

Twitter
Twitter


In the wake of Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, the company's chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all resigned. All three were responsible to some extent for guaranteeing that the company was complying with a FTC mandate about user data.

I've made the hard decision to leave Twitter. I've had the opportunity to work with amazing people and I'm so proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and the work we've done.

I'm looking forward to figuring out what's next, starting with my reviews for @USENIXSecurity

-- Lea Kissner (@LeaKissner)


In May 2022, Twitter settled with the FTC for allegedly breaking its privacy promises. Companies can't tell consumers they will use their personal information for one purpose and then use it for another.

According to the FTC, Twitter asked users for personal information to secure their accounts but then used it to serve targeted ads for its financial benefit. The agency is able to fine Twitter billions of dollars, repeatedly, through the Consent Order that is in place regulating future behavior.

The FTC is of course aware of the ongoing Twitter saga, as Douglas Farrar, the agency's director of public affairs, revealed.

"No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees, he recently said. "Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them."

An attorney on Twitter's privacy team wrote that they believe Musk's only priority at Twitter is figuring out how to monetize users, which could put him at odds with the decree. Recent evidence of that is the updated Twitter Blue subscription.

Engineers have reportedly been instructed to hold themselves accountable for obeying the decree. It's not clear what the penalties are for implementing something that falls afoul of the decree, nor who -- if anybody -- is supervising the effort.

And, sources believe that Musk doesn't care about the order. According to two sources and an internal message seen by The Verge, a Twitter lawyer said Musk is willing to take on risk and isn't afraid of the FTC.

Relations with government agencies isn't the only uncertainty amid the chaos at Twitter. Jobs are also affected, and many employees aren't leaving by their own choice like the privacy and security officers did.

Musk has laid off many workers, including the entire ethical AI team. Staff in product and content curation, communications, and engineering have also faced losses.

Twitter users and staff can expect more changes in the future as the new CEO remakes the company in his image, if they haven't already fled to greener pastures.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    JP234JP234 Posts: 758member
    The rats are deserting the ship. Think it might be and indication it's sinking?
    OferFileMakerFellerAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 12
    xbitxbit Posts: 370member
    Someone should remind Musk that GDPR fines are calculated as a percentage of revenue, not profit. ;)
    williamlondonAnilu_777OferFileMakerFellerAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,784member
    Uh oh, lawfare Elon. The swamp will have its vengeance!


    n May 2022, Twitter settled with the FTC for allegedly breaking its privacy promises. Companies can't tell consumers they will use their personal information for one purpose and then use it for another.
    According to the FTC, Twitter asked users for personal information to secure their accounts but then used it to serve targeted ads for its financial benefit. The agency is able to fine Twitter billions of dollars, repeatedly, through the Consent Order that is in place regulating future behavior.

    Unlike META and Google, of course.
    edited November 2022 williamlondonFileMakerFellerAlex1Ndocno42watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    A free-for-all is not what I’d like to relax so I’ve already checked out other platforms. Musk’s problem, not mine. 
    OferlolliverAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,157member
    The amount of press coverage that one billionaire gets on a daily basis is sickening, and he cannot take all the blame for it either.  Some of it was interesting for a while, but now the incessant reporting has crossed a line.  The news media sadly focuses in whatever is perceived to be a hot button issue at any given time.  No wonder the US is so polarized politically.  The media, claiming to be unbiased, feeds both sides and then reports on the conflicts the media has induced!

    The best thing the news media can do for the average citizen is to just stop reporting about Twitter and Musk for a while.  Tesla and SpaceX news as well.  No, we readers of the daily news really don't need to know.  The world will keep spinning, and life will go on.  People will be happier as a result.  Let Musk sort things out without all the scrutiny, and instead just tell us about far more interesting and less provocative "product" news and "breakthroughs" from the world of tech.
    williamlondonAlex1Nmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,315member
    Oh, and you haters think Musk is so stupid he doesn’t know about this, that he became the world’s richest man by being a dolt that doesn’t understand regulation and consent decrees? Really?

    "Twitter users and staff can expect more changes in the future as the new CEO remakes the company in his image, if they haven't already fled to greener pastures.”

    And what greener pastures would those be with tech companies either laying off thousands or 
    freezing hiring, hmmmm? Meta? Oops, nope.
    williamlondonFileMakerFellerentropyswatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,556member
    lkrupp said:
    Oh, and you haters think Musk is so stupid he doesn’t know about this, that he became the world’s richest man by being a dolt that doesn’t understand regulation and consent decrees? Really?

    "Twitter users and staff can expect more changes in the future as the new CEO remakes the company in his image, if they haven't already fled to greener pastures.”

    And what greener pastures would those be with tech companies either laying off thousands or freezing hiring, hmmmm? Meta? Oops, nope.
    No but I do think his string of successes, through the talent and hard work of others, and his wealth has made him arrogant and believing he can’t fail. Believing he can do whatever he wants and nobody can touch him. The laws of the FTC, and SEC, and economics are about to prove him very wrong. Very expensively wrong.

    And I’m going to be sitting back here with a bowl of popcorn enjoying the show as a billionaire gets his comeuppance. 
    roundaboutnowFileMakerFellerAlex1Nmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 12
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,784member
    This is an indulgence, Musk isn’t doing it for profit.
    if I had a heap of bullion lying around I would have some pretty expensive hobbies too. Irritating the entitled would be quite high on the list.
    docno42watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    I see only two options: either he is extremely short-sighted and ignorant, and compromised by his ego.
    Or, he is taking his steps to transform Twitter into western WeChat:

    https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/10/23452488/elon-musk-twitter-bank-q-and-a

    X.app to come?

    Also this: plus his background on PayPal.

    From an armchair view it might be easier to have a huge social platform and add payments, as opposed to creating a payment system and search for users.
    (Apple could pull this off, bc IMHO all iCloud users were already basically „on the hook“ to some extent.).

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    jdw said:
    The amount of press coverage that one billionaire gets on a daily basis is sickening, and he cannot take all the blame for it either.  Some of it was interesting for a while, but now the incessant reporting has crossed a line.  The news media sadly focuses in whatever is perceived to be a hot button issue at any given time.  No wonder the US is so polarized politically.  The media, claiming to be unbiased, feeds both sides and then reports on the conflicts the media has induced!

    The best thing the news media can do for the average citizen is to just stop reporting about Twitter and Musk for a while.  Tesla and SpaceX news as well.  No, we readers of the daily news really don't need to know.  The world will keep spinning, and life will go on.  People will be happier as a result.  Let Musk sort things out without all the scrutiny, and instead just tell us about far more interesting and less provocative "product" news and "breakthroughs" from the world of tech.
    Yes, you're absolutely right. The news media should stop all reporting on any subject once a limit of 3 stories is reached in any given month. It's so tiresome to read what's happening in the world when something else has already happened in that domain previously.

    It would make the news so much more wonderfully varied and I can't think of a single negative that might result from this excellent plan.
    edited November 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,556member
    I see only two options: either he is extremely short-sighted and ignorant, and compromised by his ego.
    Or, he is taking his steps to transform Twitter into western WeChat:

    https://www.theverge.com/2022/11/10/23452488/elon-musk-twitter-bank-q-and-a

    X.app to come?

    Also this:

    plus his background on PayPal.

    From an armchair view it might be easier to have a huge social platform and add payments, as opposed to creating a payment system and search for users.
    (Apple could pull this off, bc IMHO all iCloud users were already basically „on the hook“ to some extent.).

    this history and his stated philosophical stances are why I’ve not used PayPal either. He may have had some impressive businesses successes, that I applaud, but I don’t trust the man. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,733member
    xbit said:
    Someone should remind Musk that GDPR fines are calculated as a percentage of revenue, not profit. ;)
    Easy solution - just turn it off in Europe.  Or better if European countries are so uptight about it, they can block their citizens access to it.  
    watto_cobra
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