Twitter boss Elon Musk is ‘not above the law’, US regulators have warned.
US regulators say they are viewing events at Twitter with “serious concern” after the platform’s chief privacy and compliance officer resigned. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said new CEO Elon Musk was “not above the law”.
Separately, Musk told employees that bankruptcy was not an issue at Twitter. The company is in turmoil after Musk laid off thousands of employees last week.
The ability for users to purchase verified status as part of a new subscription has raised concerns that twitter could be overrun by fake accounts.
On Thursday, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, updated his profile on the social media platform to say he is no longer in the role.
According to reports, Chief Privacy Officer Damien Kieran and Chief Compliance Officer Marian Fogarty have resigned, and the company’s Chief Security Officer Lee Kisner has also resigned.
Deviations may increase the risk of Twitter violating regulatory mandates. The company was fined $150 million (£119 million) in May for selling user data and had to agree to new privacy rules.
“We are following the latest developments on Twitter with grave concern,” said Douglas Farrar, the FTC’s director of public affairs. “No CEO or company is above the law and the company must abide by our consent decree.”
Farr said the FTC has “new tools to ensure compliance and we are ready to use them.” Twitter paid a fine in May to settle allegations that it illegally used user data to help sell targeted ads.
Along with the fine, they agreed to new rules and had to implement an enhanced privacy and security program overseen by officials who reportedly resigned.
Since taking over, Musk has fired former CEO Parag Agarwal and other top executives, and the company’s head of advertising and marketing has also stepped down, leaving Twitter without enough people to oversee compliance.
In a separate development, Musk told employees in a meeting that he was unsure about the company’s future financial performance and could face bankruptcy. “We have to bring in more cash than we use,” Musk said.
According to the report, he urged employees to work with a “fantastic sense of urgency.”
A comment was posted on Twitter. The Verge, a tech website that released the full text of Musk’s speech to employees, reported on Twitter that it does not have a communications department. The direction in which Musk is taking the social media company has scared many big advertisers.
Twitter makes most of its money from advertising, but Musk’s changes have seen some big advertisers pause spending.
It joins other brands, including automakers General Motors, Volkswagen and Audi, and food maker General Mills, which owns brands such as pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Cheerios and Lucky Charms.
Some brands are concerned that Musk will loosen content arbitration rules and lift permanent Twitter bans on controversial figures, including former US President Donald Trump.