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Twitter asks federal court to terminate 2022 FTC privacy settlement

<i>Justin Sullivan/Getty Images</i><br/>
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By Brian Fung, CNN

Washington (CNN) — Twitter has asked a federal court to terminate a 2022 privacy settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that is the subject of an ongoing FTC investigation, alleging that the probe has “spiraled out of control and become tainted by bias.”

The request accuses the FTC of prejudging the probe’s outcome and of pursuing a “campaign of unceasing demands” for information that allegedly only ramped up after billionaire Elon Musk acquired the social media platform in October.

Investigators now seek to depose Musk himself, the filing said, calling for the court to intervene to stop the investigation by ending the company’s consent agreement with the FTC.

The FTC declined to comment.

The filing coincided with FTC Chair Lina Khan’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, where panel Republicans are expected to grill Khan on her agency’s handling of the investigation.

The origins of the FTC probe trace back to allegations first reported by CNN and The Washington Post and made by Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, last summer. Zatko claimed, in a damning whistleblower disclosure predating Musk’s takeover, that Twitter suffered from deep security vulnerabilities that violated the terms of its FTC agreement.

The agreement was first signed in 2011 before being updated in 2022 when regulators accused Twitter of misusing account security information, including user phone numbers, for targeted advertising purposes.

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