According to Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden's Federal Trade Commission is attempting to bully an independent auditing entity into punishing Twitter for alleged privacy violations.
The allegation surfaced in a motion submitted by X Corp, the holding company founded by Elon Musk to oversee Twitter, requesting the termination of a privacy settlement between Twitter and the FTC. The motion was filed in the U.S. district court for the northern district of California and argues that the settlement enables the FTC to oversee and ensure Twitter's adherence to privacy regulations, Breitbart News reported this week.
The outlet noted further:
Although the settlement was made before Twitter’s change in ownership, X Corp’s filing alleges that the FTC became increasingly aggressive after the takeover by Musk, a self-declared Republican and “free speech absolutist.”
According to the filing, the FTC even sought to pressure a supposedly independent auditor, Ernst & Young, into condemning Twitter.
"Recent sworn testimony details how the FTC, through a series of interactions with EY immediately after Elon Musk acquired Twitter, attempted to co-opt EY’s independent assessment in order to generate evidence of 'deficiencies in Twitter’s privacy and information security program,'" the filing states.
"These efforts included dictating to EY 'very specific types of procedures that they expected' EY to perform and '[conveying] expectations … about what th[e] results should be before [EY] had even begun any procedures,'" it added.
"The FTC was so 'adamant' with EY, conveying that 'this is absolutely what you will do and this is going to occur, and you’ll produce a report at the end of the day' that would be negative about Twitter, that senior EY leaders feared that, if EY resigned as the independent assessor, '[t]he FTC [would] take exception to [EY’s] withdrawal and create "other" challenges for EY over time,'" the filing continued.
Musk tweeted that the FTC's actions amounted to “insanely illegal overreach.”
Insanely illegal overreach by FTC
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 13, 2023
Following Musk's acquisition of Twitter, the company has faced mounting pressure from governments displeased with its heightened focus on free speech. Last month, Breitbart News reported, the Australian government issued a stern warning to him, threatening significant penalties if Twitter failed to remove "hate speech" from its platform within a specified 28-day period.
The European Union (EU) has been exerting pressure on Twitter regarding its purported inadequacy in addressing "hate speech." At the same time, the EU has warned Twitter of potential sanctions for suspending journalists from established mainstream media outlets who violate the platform's terms of service.
In December, the Washington Post's technology culture writer Taylor Lorenz was permanently suspended from Twitter amid Musk's ongoing purge of journalists from the platform.
Lorenz's suspension from Twitter occurred shortly after the platform implemented new policies on doxing, which she has faced accusations of engaging in previously. Following the confirmation of her suspension, the former New York Times journalist shared a video on TikTok, dressed formally and wearing a wide smile, openly acknowledging to her audience that she had indeed been banned from the platform.
In the video, Lorenz, accompanied by Ryan Mac from The New York Times, mentioned that both of them were suspended from the platform. She then took the opportunity to promote her presence on other social media platforms and asserted that she did not violate any of Twitter's rules.
Lorenz further reveals that she had contacted Elon Musk for a comment on a story just a few hours before her suspension.
"The new move comes just after Musk reinstated the accounts of several journalists who he had banned for allegedly doxing the movements of his private jet," the UK's Daily Mail reported at the time.