Technology

US government still not sure about Elon Musk’s Twitter

The U.S. government is still looking into Elon Musk's $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.

The U.S. government is still looking into Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter. Bloomberg reports that the U.S. government is investigating whether or not Musk’s foreign investment partners have access to users’ personal information through the service.

Bloomberg quotes people familiar with the matter as saying that the government wants to know more about Musk’s private agreements with international investors like Saudi Arabia’s Prince Al Waleed bin Talal al-Saud and Qatar’s Investment Authority. The legitimacy of Musk’s business dealings in both China and Ukraine have also raised eyebrows.

Earlier this week, Janet Yellen, who heads the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in addition to her role as Treasury Secretary, said that she sees “no basis” to investigate Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. On the other hand, President Joe Biden said that Musk’s “relationships with other countries are worthy of being looked at.” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) also requested that CFIUS investigate Saudi Arabia’s stake in Twitter. “I don’t understand this decision,” Murphy said in response to Yellen’s comments. “CFIUS is designed to review transactions like this.”

Several legislators are calling for the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Twitter. These include Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

The senators wrote to FTC chairwoman Lina Khan, requesting an investigation into whether or not Musk’s Twitter violated consumer protection laws, saying that the CEO “has taken alarming steps that have undermined the integrity and safety of the platform.” Musk’s Twitter Blue with a verification account is mentioned in the letter. This feature was removed from Twitter due to many fake verified accounts. Musk anticipates verifying Blue later this month and re-enabling it.

Compliance with the terms of the settlement Twitter reached with the FTC earlier this year regarding allegations that it used user data to serve targeted ads is also on the table. The lawyer for Twitter has already warned the company could face billions in fines if it doesn’t follow the agency’s consent order, as Alex Heath of The Verge reported.