(Bloomberg) — Elon Musk’s Twitter-related headaches multiplied on Tuesday, with the US Federal Trade Commission expanding its investigation into the company’s handling of user data and police in Southern California for information about an alleged motor vehicle assault that may have involved a member of his security. the details.
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On top of these legal developments, the billionaire executive is also involved in a potential long-term search for a new CEO for the social network, a position he said no one really wanted. Musk also found time to argue publicly with an investor in Tesla Inc. , the electric car company he runs, and who criticized Musk for his Twitter post.
Musk’s pursuit and purchase of Twitter Inc. It overburdens Tesla shares and undermines his fortune, ousting him from his position as the richest person in the world. After running a Twitter poll asking users if he should step down as company president — the query was met with resounding yes — he’s actively looking for a potential replacement, said a person familiar with the matter.
Whatever the outcome of this research, Musk will need to grapple with mounting concerns on the part of the Federal Trade Commission. The federal agency is deepening an investigation into Twitter’s privacy and data security practices in the wake of Musk’s takeover, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
FTC lawyers questioned two former CEOs last month about whether Twitter was able to comply with the agency’s 2011 approval order since Musk took over, said three people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named while discussing a confidential investigation. Musk’s Oct. 27 acquisition displaced several law, privacy and compliance executives at the social media company, prompting a broader investigation.
The two former executives questioned by the FTC, the people said, are Damien Kieran, Twitter’s former chief privacy officer, and Leah Kessner, its top cybersecurity official. Kieran and Kesner pulled out of Twitter on November 10, along with their chief compliance officer.
The FTC has already opened a new investigation into Twitter after the company’s former chief cybersecurity officer, Peter Zatko, filed a whistleblower complaint, the people said. Zatko testified in Congress in September, claiming that the platform was a “time bomb of security vulnerabilities”.
Musk’s Twitter also parted ways with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the law firm that previously represented the company before the Federal Trade Commission and negotiated both the 2011 consent decree and the terms of the related May settlement over a violation of that agreement.
Wilson Sonsini declined to comment.
Nearly 5,000 of Twitter’s 7,500 employees have left the company since Musk took control, including the general counsel and chief privacy officer.
When Bloomberg reached out to Musk about the FTC’s expanded investigation, he replied, “Why was Bloomberg News asleep on the switch regarding government censorship of social media?”
Meanwhile, police in South Pasadena are seeking to question the billionaire’s security team over an incident that Musk said posed a threat to his family’s safety — and one he used to justify a series of punitive steps against Twitter users.
The incident occurred on the evening of December 13, when authorities in South Pasadena, Los Angeles County, responded to a report of a vehicle attack with a deadly weapon. The alleged victim told officers that another driver confronted him and accused him of following their car onto the interstate, according to a statement released Tuesday from the South Pasadena Police Department.
As the other driver was leaving, he hit the alleged victim with his car, according to the statement, which said the incident was videotaped by both parties. The person who said they had been beaten, who was only described as a 29-year-old man from Connecticut, did not identify the suspect or indicate if the altercation was “more than a coincidence.”
Police learned two days later that the suspect was believed to be a member of Musk’s security team. Authorities said Musk was not present during the incident. The detective is trying to reach Musk and his security team to take the statements.
Musk tweeted last week about an incident around the same time, saying that a “crazy stalker” had intercepted a car belonging to him and climbed onto the hood. Musk linked the situation to a Twitter account that tracks the location of his private jet, saying in the same post that he was taking legal action against its operator. The account has been suspended, although there is no clear connection between it and the incident in South Pasadena. He also temporarily banned journalists who reported on the aircraft tracking from Twitter.
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