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Twitter security execs depart, FTC watching 'with deep concern'

New Twitter boss, billionaire Elon Musk, moved swiftly to clean house after taking over for $44 billion on Oct. 27, cutting half the social media company's workforce last week.

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The Twitter logo is displayed outside the company's headquarters in San Francisco. Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris
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Twitter's top privacy and compliance officers are leaving the company, according to an internal message seen by Reuters and a tweet, potentially putting the social media company at risk of violating regulatory orders.

"Our CISO, Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Compliance Officer ALL resigned last night. This news will be buried in the return-to-office drama. I believe that is intentional," an attorney on the company's privacy team wrote in a note posted to Twitter's Slack on Thursday that Reuters received from sources.

The company's security chief Lea Kissner confirmed that she quit in a tweet. Twitter's Chief Privacy Officer Damien Kieran and Chief Compliance Officer Marianne Fogarty have also resigned, according to the note.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the departures.

New Twitter boss, billionaire Elon Musk, moved swiftly to clean house after taking over for $44 billion on Oct. 27, cutting half the social media company's workforce last week, promising to stop fake accounts and charging $8 a month for the Twitter Blue service that will include a blue check verification.

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Musk immediately fired former Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and other top management, and the company's advertising and marketing chiefs left soon afterwards, adding to concerns that the Twitter does not have enough people in place to monitor that it remains compliant with regulations.

"We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern," a spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission told Reuters.

"No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them," the spokesperson said.

In May, Twitter agreed to pay $150 million to settle allegations by the FTC it misused private information, like phone numbers, to target advertising to users after telling them the information was collected only for security reasons.

Musk wrote his first email to Twitter employees on Thursday, saying remote work would no longer be allowed and that they would be expected in office for at least 40 hours per week, Bloomberg News reported.

In the email, Musk said he wants to see subscriptions account for half of Twitter's revenue, the report said.

On Thursday Musk tweeted: "Far too many corrupt legacy Blue 'verification' checkmarks exist, so no choice but to remove legacy Blue in coming months."

Musk told advertisers on Wednesday, speaking on Twitter's Spaces feature, that he aimed to turn the platform into a force for truth and stop fake accounts.

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Advertisers have been rattled by the changes at the company. Since Musk took over, several brands including General Motors have paused advertising on Twitter, concerned that Musk will loosen content moderation rules.

"Elon has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them," said the attorney on the Slack note.

"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."

Tech news site The Verge first reported on the internal Slack message.

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