FTC Orchestrated Aggressive Campaign to Harass Twitter After Elon Musk Takeover: House Panel

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The House panel investigating the weaponization of the federal government said Tuesday the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has orchestrated “an aggressive campaign to harass Twitter” as part of its “unusual response” to Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social network.

The Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released an interim report highlighting the FTC’s apparent overreach in making more than 350 specific demands for information within a period of less than three months after Musk took the helm.

According to the report, the federal agency inundated Twitter with demands to reveal information about hiring and firing decisions and “every internal communication relating to Elon Musk.”

Particularly concerning for the panel, the FTC wanted the names of journalists who were granted access to internal Twitter files during their work “to expose abuses by Big Tech and the federal government.”

Among others, the FTC sent over 60 letters demanding information about Twitter’s subscription product alone. The agency also demanded to know if Twitter was “selling its office equipment” and “all of the reasons” why former FBI official Jim Baker was fired.

“These demands have no basis in the FTC’s statutory mission and appear to be the result of partisan pressure to target Twitter and silence Musk,” the report states (pdf).

The committee said it recently obtained dozens of nonpublic FTC letters to Twitter, which it noted fall directly within its authority to investigate and report “on instances of the federal government’s authority being weaponized against U.S. citizens.”

Demands for Journalists’ Names ‘Inappropriate’

The House committee’s report criticizes the FTC’s demand for information about journalists, calling it inappropriate in any setting.

The report emphasizes that the FTC’s “campaign to harass Twitter” could have a chilling effect on the ability of journalists to report on matters of public interest and calls for greater protection of First Amendment rights.

After journalist Matt Taibbi published the first installment of the “Twitter Files,” exposing a government-Big Tech censorship machine, the FTC sent its first letter to Twitter.

By Caden Pearson

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