Twitter CEO Big Tech

Senate Democrats Attempt To Sic Biden’s Market Regulator On Elon Musk

The letter comes after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday there was “no basis” for an investigation into Musk’s purchase of the social media site by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Multiple Democratic senators wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Thursday demanding an investigation into Twitter following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s purchase of the social media site.

The letter comes after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday there was “no basis” for an investigation into Musk’s purchase of the social media site by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

This despite comments from President Biden on Nov. 9 that the deal was “worthy of being looked at” based on a $1.9 billion investment from a holding company largely owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia.

“In recent weeks, Twitter’s new Chief Executive Officer, Elon 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 senators, led by Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, wrote to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan. “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.”

Some Republicans expressed concern that Khan turned the FTC into a partisan weapon in Oct. 2021, saying she “abandoned long-standing bipartisan practices” since her confirmation with bipartisan support. Only one Republican remains on the commission since commissioner Noah Phillips announced his intent to resign in August, Reuters reported.

Musk completed the purchase of Twitter on Oct. 27, after trying to back out of a $44 billion deal to take the company private, claiming executives of the social media site misled him over the number of so-called “bot“ accounts. The company began massive layoffs Nov. 4.

Musk characterized himself as a “free speech absolutist” and refused to censor Russian media on Starlink in March, but the site has seen a decline in revenue as major companies paused ad purchases. Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts threatened Musk Monday after the Tesla CEO said the senator’s Twitter account “sounds like a parody” following a Nov. 11 tweet by Markey linking to a Washington Post report on the social media site.

“We urge the Commission to vigorously oversee its consent decree with Twitter and to bring enforcement actions against any breaches or business practices that are unfair or deceptive, including bringing civil penalties and imposing liability on individual Twitter executives where appropriate,” the senators wrote.

Seven Democratic senators in total signed the letter to Khan.

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