Democrat senators want FTC to investigate Twitter

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


Last week, a group of seven Democratic senators called upon the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Twitter over “concerns” the liberals have about the ways new owner Elon Musk is changing the company.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut took the lead in penning a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan, a document that also bears the signatures of Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

In the letter, the senators say Musk might have, through the changes he’s sought to implement, particularly Twitter Blue, caused Twitter to violate an FTC consent decree.

“We write regarding Twitter’s serious, willful disregard for the safety and security of its users, and encourage the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate any breach of Twitter’s consent decree or other violations of our consumer protection laws,” the senators wrote.

The decree to which the senators refer was a 2011 arrangement between the FTC and Twitter which required Twitter to ensure its site features accurately represent the extent to which users’ security and privacy were protected. Twitter has a history of disregarding the decree and this year, prior to Musk’s acquisition, had been fined $150 million for violating the same.

When Musk sought to create new revenue streams, the senators said, they were forced to act.

“Twitter knew in advance that there was [a] high likelihood the Twitter Blue product could be used for fraud, and still it took no action to prevent consumers from being harmed until this rampant impersonation became a public relations crisis,” the letter reads.

Blumenthal and company also, without anything resembling subject-matter expertise and little else to go on beyond conjecture, accused Twitter of having “undermined the integrity and safety of the platform” and created “new features despite clear warnings those changes would be abused for fraud, scams, and dangerous impersonation.”

For all of their sudden interest in keeping Twitter honest, the senators seem to be primarily engaged in political bandwagoning. There really was no reason, other than a successful attempt to grab headlines, for them to involve themselves at all.

The senators’ request of the FTC is akin to a farmer asking his horse to run away after it’s already left the farm.

As reported by TechCrunch, the FTC warned Twitter to honor its commitment to the consent decree seven days prior to Blumenthal’s letter.

In a second TechCrunch article, one written six days prior to the Blumenthal letter, a Twitter attorney was reported to have sent an email to Musk promising to work to honor the decree in question.

But in Washington, D.C., the facts need not get in the way of posturing.

The left has a particular distaste for Musk’s ownership of Twitter and has made numerous efforts to damage the company. Last week, FISM reported numerous leftist groups were pressuring advertisers to leave the platform.

Blumental, who fashions himself as a friend to the consumer, appears quite skilled at attaching himself to topics du jour and calling on some part of the federal apparatus to take action.

Indeed, if one visits Blumental’s Twitter account, one will notice that the senator is now on week two of hurling criticism at concert ticket seller Live Nation. He also recently partnered with Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar to demand the Department of Justice intercede and “restore competition” in the ticket-selling market.

On Monday, Musk announced that he was once again pushing back the launch of the Twitter Blue subscription service, saying that he wanted to ensure that the company could prevent impersonation through the service. Ensuring the validity of each user has been a high priority of Musk since taking over the platform.