Accountable Tech Raises Alarm over Elon Musk’s Data Grab in Letter to Twitter, Congress

For Immediate Release
June 8, 2022


Letter urges Congress to investigate if Twitter grants Musk access to full internal data system

On the heels of launching the “Stop the Deal” campaign with coalition partners, Accountable Tech sent a letter to Twitter general counsel Vijaya Gadde on Wednesday imploring the company to resist Elon Musk’s demands for access to sensitive data on millions of users, after the Washington Post reported Twitter plans to capitulate in hopes of saving their tenuous deal.

“We write to express deep concern over the news that Twitter, Inc. is planning to capitulate to Elon Musk’s demands for direct access to the company’s vast troves of sensitive user data,” Accountable Tech writes. “Doing so would threaten the privacy and security of users worldwide, and set a dangerous precedent as Mr. Musk continues to exploit his leverage. We strongly urge you not to acquiesce.”

While details on the data transfer are sparse, the “firehose” system to which he will reportedly get full access contains massive amounts of information on real-time tweets, the accounts they come from, and the devices from which they are sent. In underscoring the severity of the threat despite supposed limitations on how Musk may utilize such data, the letter highlights his repeated breaches of contractual obligations, the ongoing federal investigations into his misconduct, and his history of exploiting access to people’s data and online activities.

“If Twitter does choose to expose its users to Mr. Musk, we believe the United States Congress should immediately investigate to ensure Mr. Musk does not misuse the data to unfairly advantage his other business holdings or to expose Americans to targeted abuse and harassment,” the letter continues. “Twitter is a public company, and handing over the sensitive data of its users to Mr. Musk exposes the company’s users and shareholders, advertising partners, and the general public to a myriad of potential harms.”

ICYMI: The “Stop the Deal” campaign – launched last week in partnership with a dozen nonprofit advocacy organizations – is pursuing a variety of actions seizing on key regulatory and financial pressure points as Musk’s acquisition of the platform moves forward. The coalition argues a Musk-owned Twitter would give a megaphone to extremists, threaten the safety of marginalized communities, and threaten our already-fraying information ecosystem. Learn more about the “Stop the Deal” campaign here.


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