GM Halts Paid Twitter Advertising As Twit-in-Chief Elon Musk Takes Ownership

After a warning shot from the FTC to Twitter yesterdayTechCrunch obtained an internal email sent by Elon Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, to all other employees — in which he tries to assuage employees’ concerns by arguing that they are not individually responsible for complying with the FTC’s consent decree. .

We reproduce the full text of the email (sic) below — which was sent by Spiro to Twitter staff at 5:21 p.m. Nov. 10:

Elon – Questions arose today regarding the consent decree in effect at the time you took over the company.

We have the first ftc compliance review coming up since we took over and we’re going to deal with it.

The only party to the order is Twitter — not individuals who work at Twitter. Twitter itself (not individual employees) is a party and therefore only Twitter can be held liable.

I understand there have been people on twitter who don’t even work on the ftc issue commenting that they could go to jail if we don’t comply – it just doesn’t work. This is the company’s responsibility. It’s the company’s burden. This is the company’s responsibility.

We spoke with the Federal Trade Commission today about our ongoing obligations and are engaged in a constructive dialogue.

We will of course continue to comply with the consent decree and the legal department is processing it and will be happy to answer any questions



The 2011 consent decree required Twitter to establish and maintain a program to ensure and regularly report that its new features do not misrepresent “the extent to which it maintains and protects the security, privacy, confidentiality or integrity of any non-public user information “.

In a note (first reported by On the edge), posted on Twitter internally and visible to all employees, an outgoing in-house attorney said that actually individual engineers pose “personal, professional and legal risk,” which seems to contradict what Spiro sent in the above email.

On Thursday, key Twitter executives, including the company’s head of trust and safety Joel Roth, as well as chief information security officer Leah Kisner, chief compliance officer Marian Fogarty and chief privacy officer Damien Kieran abruptly left the company. The The FTC noted that they are watching with “deep concern” the ongoing situation at Twitter in light of the consent decree.

FTC fines Twitter $150 million earlier this year after establishing a breach of the agreement related to user data provided for security purposes used for ad targeting.

We’ve reached out to the FTC for clarification on the consent decree and individual employee liability and will update if we receive more information.

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