Elon Musk says federal probe of Twitter is a 'weaponization of a government agency and a 'serious attack on the Constitution'

Twitter HQ and Elon Musk composite
Elon Musk has been critical of journalists in the past.Getty Images
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  • The FTC has requested access to Twitter's internal communications, The Wall Street Journal reported.

  • The agency also asked Twitter to "identify all journalists" who could access its systems.

  • Elon Musk called this a "serious attack on the Constitution" as it pertains to freedom of the press.

Elon Musk criticized the Federal Trade Commission's investigation into Twitter, calling it a "serious attack on the Constitution" and a "weaponization of a government agency for political purposes."

Since he bought Twitter last year, the FTC has sent 12 letters to Twitter requesting internal communications relating to Musk, layoffs, and journalists who have access to company records, The Wall Street Journal reported.

But it's the FTC's request to "identify all journalists" who can access internal systems that appeared to have most incensed Musk.

Insider previously reported that Musk gave Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss access to Twitter's internal systems as they worked on the "Twitter Files."

In Twitter threads, Taibbi shared internal emails showing content-moderation decisions, such as the controversial censorship of a story about Hunter Biden's laptop, which Musk said demonstrated "free speech suppression."

On Tuesday, Musk criticized the FTC in a reply to a Twitter user who called the request relating to journalists "an outrageous attack on the First Amendment."

An FTC representative told the Journal that it routinely sought information that companies provide to third parties such as journalists because they couldn't withhold that same information from the FTC.

Musk has also criticized journalists on several occasions, briefly banning several from Twitter last November. CNN reported that he told a Morgan Stanley conference Tuesday: "Believe what you see on Twitter, not what you read in the newspapers. Because what you see on Twitter is the real thing, and what you read in newspapers is not."

Last May, Twitter agreed to pay a $150 million settlement after the Department of Justice and FTC said it failed to tell users their phone numbers and emails were being used for targeted advertising.

Since then, the FTC has kept a close eye on the company, telling Reuters in November it had "deep concern" after four privacy and compliance executives quit. The Journal reported that the government agency had asked Twitter for detailed information on layoffs because it's worried it now cannot properly protect users' data.

In November, Insider reported that Musk told Twitter staff he would do "whatever it takes" to comply with the FTC's regulations.

Twitter and the FTC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider