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Biden administration puts Elon Musk on ‘Enemies List’ and retaliates against him for buying Twitter

Biden administration puts Elon Musk on ‘Enemies List’ and retaliates against him for buying Twitter

On Thursday, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, a notoriously activist official, faced scrutiny from House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) in her first appearance before the committee. .

The congressional hearing began with Jordan criticizing Khan’s tenure at the agency, calling it a “disaster.” Jordan specifically singled out the investigation into billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, arguing that it constituted FTC overreach.

Khan was relentlessly criticized by members of the committee, including Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY), who appeared to show instances of Khan’s ethics violations, including an issue related to his license to practice law “in good standing” .

Is Lina Khan in position with us?

Check it out yourself.

🎥: @RepHageman

— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) July 13, 2023

In a disturbing turn of events, it has also been revealed that the FTC under President Joe Biden’s administration sought action from Ernst & Young (EY) to penalize Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. EY, one of the major accounting firms, expressed concern that failure to comply with the government’s request could lead to retaliation.

The chilling news is consistent with the Biden administration’s record of retaliation and intimidation against political dissidents. The official Twitter account of the House Judiciary Committee shared this on Thursday.

🚨 WOW 🚨

Joe Biden’s FTC wanted Ernst & Young to punish @elonmusk’s Twitter.

If they didn’t, Ernst & Young feared the government would retaliate.

— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) July 13, 2023

“The FTC was so ‘adamant’ with EY, conveying that ‘this is absolutely what you’re going to do and this is going to happen, and you’re going to produce a report at the end of the day’ that would be negative on Twitter, which senior EY executives feared that, if EY resigned as independent counsel, “the FTC.” [would] take [] exception to [EY’s] remove and create [] “other” challenges for EY over time,” the Motion for a Protective Order in the US v. Twitter court case stated.

On Thursday, Twitter had filed a motion in federal court seeking to rescind or modify a 2011 FTC order governing the company’s handling of user information.

“This motion asks the Court to review an investigation that has become out of control and tainted by bias, and to terminate an inadequate consent order that can no longer serve any adequate equitable purpose,” the motion said . “As detailed below, the FTC has engaged in such irregular and inappropriate conduct that Ernst & Young (“EY”), the independent evaluator appointed under a consent order between Twitter and the FTC to evaluate the privacy, data protection, and the company’s information security program: “felt as if the FTC was trying to influence the outcome of the engagement before it had even begun.” The recent affidavit details how the FTC, through a series of interactions with EY immediately after Elon Musk acquired Twitter, he sought to co-opt EY’s independent assessment to generate evidence of “deficiencies in Twitter’s privacy and information security.”

So, the Biden administration was allegedly leaning on EY to raise issues of non-compliance in reference to the 2011 FTC order or possibly be retaliated against.

The initial settlement, which settled charges against Twitter for inadequate protection of user data, mandated a decade-long independent assessment of its security program and prohibited the platform from misleading consumers about its privacy practices for 20 years.

According to the new filing, Twitter wants the court to evaluate the fairness of the FTC’s 2011 order in light of the agency’s conduct, claiming the investigation has been tainted by bias and has gotten out of hand . The company alleges that the FTC has continually demanded onerous document protections, especially since Elon Musk took control of Twitter. Since Musk’s involvement, Twitter, operated by X Corp, says it has received 16 demand letters, compared with about 28 from the agency over the previous decade.

The filing also mentions the FTC’s demand to remove Musk, which is not a party to the Consent Order. In May 2022, before Musk’s involvement, Twitter reached a $150 million settlement with the FTC and the Department of Justice for allegedly violating the 2011 order by failing to adequately inform users about the use of your contact information for targeted ads.

On Thursday, Elon Musk commented on the new court filing, saying, “Incredibly illegal overreach by the FTC.”

The FTC had expressed its commitment to uphold its orders after key privacy and security executives left Twitter following the Musk acquisition. Twitter’s filing further suggests the company would ask the court to compel the FTC to provide evidence to X Corp and suspend enforcement of the deal until the evidence is presented.

In March, the FTC issued a series of demands to then-Twitter Inc., seeking the disclosure of internal communications about owner Elon Musk, as well as detailed information about recent layoffs. The FTC expressed concern that these staff reductions could compromise Twitter’s ability to protect its users.

In a total of 12 letters sent to Twitter and its legal representatives since the Elon Musk acquisition on Oct. 27, the FTC also requested the identification of all journalists who were granted access to company records. The commission also sought information about the launch of Twitter’s revamped subscription service called Twitter Blue, as disclosed in the documents.

“We are concerned that these staff reductions will affect Twitter’s ability to protect consumer information,” an FTC official wrote to Twitter’s lawyers on Nov. 10 after an initial wave of layoffs, according to a copy of the letter seen by the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, commented on Twitter in March: “Joe Biden’s FTC wanted Elon Musk to identify journalists with whom Twitter was in communication. We should not be surprised. They wanted to erase the First Amendment rights of journalists because they were bringing us the TRUTH!

Khan, known for her activism within the administration, has been at the forefront of challenging corporate mergers, particularly in the Big Tech industry. He arrives on Capitol Hill at a difficult time in his tenure, having recently experienced a major setback with the court’s ruling against the FTC’s attempt to block Microsoft’s acquisition of video game company Activision Blizzard.

This defeat follows an earlier loss in a case involving Meta’s purchase of a virtual reality app. Although the agency dropped the Meta case, it is appealing the court’s decision on the Microsoft acquisition.

Thus, the FTC has developed a track record of failing to protect Americans from Big Tech’s threat to monopolize digital media and social media discussions.

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