Breaking: Federal Trade Commission Is Asking Billionaire CEO Elon Musk To Reveal All Journalists Who Were Behind “Twitter Files”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is demanding that Elon Musk Turn over internal Twitter documents, which includes a list of the journalists who were behind the infamous “Twitter Files.”
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Tuesday about more than a dozen letters the FTC sent to Twitter and its legal counsel as part of a probe looking into Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter in 2022.
The information that was requested by the FTC included a demand to “identify all journalists” who were granted access to the company’s archives, to turn over anything involving the massive layoffs and the Twitter Blue subscription service, provide all internal communications related to Elon and explain why Twitter fired its deputy general counsel and former FBI lawyer Jim Baker.
The details of the letter came out from an interim staff report from the House Select Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government which accused the government agency led by FTC chairwoman Lina Khan of overreach.
“The timing, scope, and frequency of the FTC’s demands to Twitter suggest a partisan motivation to its action. When Musk took action to reorient Twitter around free speech, the FTC regularly followed soon thereafter with a new demand letter,” the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee wrote in a press release.
“The ostensible legal basis for the demand letters—including monitoring Twitter’s privacy and information security program under a revised consent decree between the company and the FTC—fails to provide adequate cover for the FTC’s action. A number of the FTC’s demands have little to no nexus to users’ privacy and information.”
There is no logical reason, for example, why the FTC needs to know the identities of journalists engaging with Twitter. There is no logical reason why the FTC, based on user privacy, needs to analyze all of Twitter’s personnel decisions. And there is no logical reason why the FTC needs every single internal Twitter communication about Elon Musk,” the committee added.
Some of the journalists who wrote various parts of the Twitter Files have called out the FTC’s actions.
“The Biden administration is demanding that @elonmusk explain why he allowed journalists access to the Twitter Files. This is an outrageous attack on the First Amendment,” writer Michael Shellenberger tweeted.
Musk replied, “A shameful case of weaponization of a government agency for political purposes and suppression of the truth!”
An FTC spokesman told the WSJ, “Protecting consumers’ privacy is exactly what the FTC is supposed to do,” adding the FTC is “conducting a rigorous investigation into Twitter’s compliance with a consent order that came into effect long before Mr. Musk purchased the company.”
In December, Musk granted independent journalists unprecedented access to Twitter’s archives, which were then published in a series of threads called “The Twitter Files.”
The Twitter Files exposed the platform’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, the suspension of former President Trump, the shadow banning of conservatives as well as the company’s closeness with government agencies like the FBI.
The FBI had flagged Twitter accounts suggesting that they were violating the company’s policies.