© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk’s photo is seen through a Twitter logo in this illustration taken October 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed the Federal Trade Commission’s chair for documents related to the regulatory agency’s privacy probe of Twitter, the panel said on Wednesday.
In a statement, the committee said its Chairman Jim Jordan and others had asked FTC Chair Lina Khan for information about the probe following billionaire Elon Musk’s $44 billion purchase of the social media company in October, but did not get an adequate response.
“Your voluntary compliance has been woefully insufficient. Accordingly, the Committee is issuing a subpoena to compel the production of documents necessary to inform our oversight,” Jordan said in a letter to Khan which accompanied the subpoena.
The subpoena is unnecessary, FTC spokesman Douglas Farrar said in a statement. “We have made multiple offers to brief Chairman Jordan’s staff on our investigation into Twitter. Those are standing offers made prior to this entirely unnecessary subpoena.”
The committee said in a March report that the FTC was harassing Twitter since it was acquired by Musk, and its statement said it was looking into allegations that the FTC “abused” its authority.
The subpoena is the latest Republican effort to check the power of the FTC, an agency that has been reinvigorated by the Biden administration and is probing pharmacy benefit managers to companies that tie employees down with non-compete contracts.
The agency has been concerned whether Twitter had the staffing to abide by a May 2022 settlement with the U.S. regulator in which it agreed to improve its privacy practices and place responsibility on people who held relevant positions.
Layoffs by Musk of some 3,700 people at Twitter had sparked concerns that the social media company may fail to abide by the settlement.