Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan opened the door to the possibility of new action against Twitter and CEO Parag Agrawal.
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko is a well-known hacker who previously served as Twitter’s head of security. Zatko was hired by then-CEO Jack Dorsey before being fired by his successor. Zatko came forward in August to blow the whistle about mismanagement at the company, claiming Twitter and its executives had misled investors about the scope of its bot problem, as well as its security issues.
Even more concerning, Zatko said the company was in violation of its 2011 settlement with the FTC over security issues. Chairwoman Khan is taking those allegations seriously, opening the door to an investigation into Twitter’s compliance with the terms of the settlement.
“There has absolutely been a problem with companies treating FTC orders as suggestions,” Khan said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, according to MarketWatch. “We have a program underway to really toughen that up.”
Khan also said she was “extremely disturbed” over the allegations and that the agency would be “looking at this closely.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal pressed Khan on whether the agency would name Agrawal in any action taken against the company, given Zatko’s claims that Agrawal was aware of the issues and Twitter’s alleged deception.
“Absolutely,” Khan said. “If we have a basis for naming individuals because we find that they meet the legal standard for that we won’t hesitate to do it.”