Twitter’s privacy and security teams are in turmoil after Elon Musk’s changes to the service bypassed its standard data governance processes. Now, a company lawyer is encouraging employees to seek whistleblower protection “if you feel uncomfortable about anything you’re being asked to do.”
The company’s chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all resigned, according to two employees and an internal message seen by The Verge. Kissner confirmed their departure in a tweet on Thursday.
In a note posted to Twitter’s Slack and viewable to all staff that was obtained by The Verge, an attorney on the company’s privacy team wrote, “Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them. I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists. the dissidents, our users in un-monetizable regions, and all the other users who have made Twitter the global town square you have all spent so long building, and we all love.”
The FTC reached a settlement with Twitter in May after the company was caught using personal user info to target ads. If Twitter doesn’t comply with that agreement, the FTC can issue fines reaching into the billions of dollars, according to the lawyer’s note to employees. [Continue reading…]
The privacy departures prompted a rare warning from the Federal Trade Commission, which has emerged as the government’s top Silicon Valley watchdog. It marked the second time in two days that a federal official has expressed concern about the chaotic developments at the company, coming less than 24 hours after President Biden said Musk’s relationships with other countries deserved scrutiny.
The agency said that it was “tracking the developments at Twitter with deep concern” and that it was prepared to take action to ensure the company was complying with a settlement known as a consent order, which requires Twitter to comply with certain privacy and security requirements because of allegations of past data misuse. Three of the resignations Thursday were by members of a data governance committee established in the FTC deal, according to a former employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
Twitter was first put under a consent order in 2011, and it agreed to a new order earlier this year. If the FTC finds Twitter is not complying with that order, it could fine the company hundreds of millions of dollars, potentially damaging the company’s already precarious financial state. [Continue reading…]