Home Employees saved Elon Musk from himself with Twitter Files

Employees saved Elon Musk from himself with Twitter Files

Elon Musk‘s Twitter takeover has been anything but simple. In fact, his $44 billion acquisition of the social media site — now rebranded as X — is the subject of an ongoing US Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. The investigation aims to ascertain whether the 52-year-old Space X and Tesla mogul followed the correct legal procedures when it came to filing the takeover paperwork or whether he deliberately misled anyone in the process of buying Twitter.

The Twitter Files fallout continues

But one thing that really threw a spanner in the works was something dubbed “the Twitter Files.” In short, the Twitter Files result from Musk making internal documents and Slack messages available to journalists like Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger. These internal documents detailed numerous content moderation decisions made by Twitter over the years before Musk’s takeover, such as the removal of Donald Trump’s account and the banning of Kanye West.

Yet, the thing concerning the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) isn’t the content of these files themselves but the extent of access granted to third parties like journalists and the data protection implications.

In a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, the FTC chair Lina Khan divulged how “Elon Musk had reportedly directed staff to grant an outside third-party individual ‘full access to everything at Twitter […] No limits at all’.”

Unsurprisingly, as the letter points out, these lofty claims spurred the FTC to investigate whether direct access had actually been given to these third parties. But it turns out direct access to these documents wasn’t given to journalists, despite Musk’s orders for them to be so.

“Based on a concern that such an arrangement would risk exposing non-public user information in potential violation of the FTC’s Order, longtime information security employees at Twitter intervened and implemented safeguards to mitigate the risks,” the letter confirmed.

According to Khan, these long-time Twitter staff had the “right to be concerned given that Twitter’s new CEO had directed employees to take actions that would have violated the FTC’s Order.”

So, without Musk even realizing it, these employees saved him from what would have been a serious data protection headache.

Featured Image: Generated by Midjourney

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Charlotte Colombo
Freelance Journalist

Charlotte Colombo is a freelance journalist with bylines in Metro.co.uk, Radio Times, The Independent, Daily Dot, Glamour, Stylist, and VICE among others. She most recently worked as a Staff Writer for entertainment outlet The Digital Fix for two years and, prior to that, worked with Business Insider and Dexerto on their digital culture desks. She’s also appeared on BBC Radio 5 and The Guardian podcast to share her expertise on technology, influencers, and niche internet subcultures. She holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has been freelancing for three years. She has a wide range…

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