Twitter CEO Elon Musk was denied a meeting with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amid its investigation of Twitter over its data and privacy practices, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Documents reviewed by the Times revealed that Musk asked to meet with FTC Chair Lina Khan but was rebuffed. A person with knowledge of the matter told the outlet that Musk requested the meeting late last year.
Khan told a Twitter attorney in a letter on Jan. 27 that the company should concentrate on meeting FTC investigators’ requests for information.
“I recommend that Twitter appropriately prioritize its legal obligations to provide the requested information,” she said. “Once Twitter has fully complied with all F.T.C. requests, I will be happy to consider scheduling a meeting with Mr. Musk.”
The Times reported that Musk spoke with Christine Wilson, the only Republican FTC commissioner, citing an email between the agency’s staff members and two people with knowledge of the matter. James Kohm, the FTC official responsible for overseeing investigations into whether companies are complying with privacy settlements, also was reportedly on the call.
The investigation stemmed from a whistleblower complaint that former Twitter security head Peiter Zatko made alleging that widespread security issues existed on the platform. Zatko testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Twitter has not complied with a 2011 consent decree with the FTC to keep a security program to protect users’ privacy and nonpublic consumer information.
Zatko said Twitter does not have a framework to protect user data or keep track of who is accessing information.
A person with knowledge of the matter told the Times that the FTC separately has tried to interview Musk for its probe, but the interview has not happened.
The Times reported that top executives at a company that the FTC is investigating rarely meet with the agency’s chair and commissioners while an investigation is ongoing, but these types of meetings sometimes occur when they are trying to convince the agency that they are devoted to following their pledges they have made to the FTC.
The FTC declined to comment to The Hill. Twitter responded to an inquiry from The Hill with a poop emoji, an automated response to press inquiries that the platform has been sending recently.
House Republicans said in a report earlier this month that the FTC requested Twitter provide internal communications, information about its Twitter Blue subscription service and the names of journalists who received Twitter records.
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