Elon Musk Tried to Meet with FTC Chairman About Twitter, But Was Refused
Mr. Musk has cultivated relationships with Republicans who have cheered his vision for Twitter, which has no policies limiting what can be said on the platform. Earlier this year, he met with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and the heads of a Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee subcommittee focused on the “weaponization” of the federal government.
This month, the subcommittee released a report on the FTC’s investigation of Twitter, accusing the agency of “planning an aggressive campaign to harass Twitter.”
David Vladeck, a former head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection who served in the Obama administration, said talking to a commissioner who was not the chairman was “not a wise strategy” for Mr. Musk, And with the agency’s only Republican, it might seem “more political.”
Mr. Kovacic said Mr. Musk had been in direct contact with FTC members before. He met with FTC commissioners, including Mr Kovacic, in 2006 to raise competition concerns after a group of aerospace companies announced plans to form joint ventures to challenge Mr Musk’s rocket company SpaceX.
Mr. Vladeck said the FTC could eventually fine Twitter again for privacy violations, possibly much more than the $150 million fine it paid the previous time.
Mr. Musk has moved to change some features of Twitter’s platform as the FTC’s investigation deepens. He plans on Saturday to remove the verification checkmark, the social network’s main way of confirming users’ identities, from including celebrities and other high-profile individuals not signed up for Twitter Blue, an $8-a-month subscription service.
Twitter is also planning to charge organizations $1,000 a month to be verified, but will include its top 500 advertisers and the 10,000 most-followed previously verified, according to an internal document seen by The Times. Organization makes an exception. According to the document, all accounts that purchase checkmarks will be vetted to ensure they are not impersonating someone else.
Ryan Mack Contribution report. Kitty Bennett contributed research.