Democratic senators send a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging an investigation into Twitter

A group of lawmakers urged the FTC to investigate Twitter for potential consent decree or consumer protection law violations in a letter Thursday.

The letter, addressed to FTC Chair Lena Khan and signed by seven Democratic senators, accused Twitter of “serious and willful disregard for the safety and security of its users” and alleged CEO Elon Musk “has taken troubling steps that have undermined the integrity and integrity of the platform” since its takeover. The senators also raised concerns about cybersecurity, fraud, and scams.

ANKARA, TURKEY – OCTOBER 6: In this photo illustration, an image of Elon Musk is shown on a computer screen and the Twitter logo on a mobile phone in Ankara, Turkey on October 6, 2022. (Mohamed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Dianne Feinstein of California, Ben Ray Logan of New Mexico, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Corey Booker of New Jersey and Robert Menendez of New Jersey signed the letter on Twitter.

Musk completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in late October, and has since made significant changes to the social media company. Some of his actions include laying off 50% of its workforce and launching a verification badge that users can purchase for $8 per month.

Some executives, including Chief Trust and Safety Officer Yoel Roth, Chief Privacy Officer Damian Kieran and Chief Information Security Officer Leah Kessner, have also left the company since his takeover. The senators wrote in the letter that these departures raised concerns about “whether personal data is adequately protected from misuse or breach.”

In the letter, the senators slammed Twitter Blue, the platform’s verification subscription service, claiming that Twitter “took no action to prevent consumers from being harmed until this rampant impersonation turned into a PR crisis.”

Twitter logo on the phone

POLAND – 11/15/2022: In this illustration, the Twitter logo is displayed on a smartphone screen. ((Photo illustration by Omar Marquez/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

A verification subscription launched earlier in November, with accounts impersonating public and corporate figures later appearing on Twitter. Musk backed away from the feature, saying Wednesday that it would relaunch in late November. He also announced policies regarding “parody impersonations”.

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The senators said they were “concerned” that the actions of Musk and other Twitter executives “may indeed constitute a violation of the FTC’s consent decree” with the company.

Twitter settled with the FTC and the Department of Justice in May over allegations that the social media company told users it would collect phone numbers, email addresses and other data for account security and did not disclose that it would also use the data for targeted companies’ ads. It was put in place by a two-decade consent decree that required a comprehensive information security program, mandatory audits, reporting, and other measures, as well as a $150 million fine.

Twitter logo

A sign for Twitter’s headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Friday, November 4, 2022. Employees were preparing widespread layoffs at Twitter on Friday, as new owner Elon Musk overhauled the social platform. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu/AP Newsroom)

“We urge the Commission to vigorously oversee its consent decree with Twitter and take enforcement action against any violations or unfair or deceptive business practices, including imposing civil penalties and imposing liability on individual Twitter executives where applicable,” the senators wrote in a statement. Thursday speech.

FOX Business has reached out to Twitter for comment on the letter. A FTC spokesperson confirmed receipt of the lawmakers’ letter by the agency but declined to comment.

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Earlier in November, the FTC said it was “following recent developments on Twitter with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our approval decisions,” said the FTC statement at the time. “Our amended approval order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are ready to use them.”

Julia Musto and Brick Dumas contributed to this report.

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