U.S. FTC asks Twitter if it has resources to comply with consent decree

Figurines with smartphones and computers are seen in front of the Twitter logo in this illustration, November 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which enforces rules against deceptive practices, has contacted Twitter to ask if the company still has the resources to comply with a privacy consent decree, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Upheaval and mass layoffs at Twitter since its takeover by Elon Musk have sparked concerns that the social media giant might fail to abide by a May 2022 settlement with the U.S. regulator in which the company agreed to improve its privacy practices. That settlement preceded the Musk takeover.

Those concerns prompted the FTC last month to say it was "tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern. No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees," it said at the time.

In a settlement in May, Twitter agreed to pay $150 million and assess potential features for data privacy and security issues. It also resolved allegations that it misused private information, such as phone numbers, for advertising after telling users the information would be used for security reasons.

That settlement, in turn, was prompted by assertions that the company had violated a prior consent decree reached in 2011 after two data breaches, with Twitter pledging then that it would not mislead users about privacy protections.

The most recent letters were first reported in the New York Times.

Reporting by Diane Bartz Editing by Nick Zieminski

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