Social media firm Twitter has moved to subpoena Sen. Elizabeth Warren in an effort to require her to turn over communications with the SEC and FTC.
The legal action follows on the heels of Sen. Warren’s call for the SEC to investigate Tesla head Elon Musk’s dual service as CEO of both Twitter and the automaker. In response, Twitter’s attorneys notified a federal court that the company is seeking access to all of Warren’s documents related to her recent communications with the two commercial agencies.
It is unclear what the company hopes to learn from the records. Lawmakers are oftentimes averse to turning over such confidential internal documents, and courts are typically unwilling to force their disclosure.
The legal action is being taken in connection with litigation involving the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission’s pursuit of consent orders from 2011 and 2019. The orders relate to Twitter’s alleged breaches of user privacy promises. Documents may provide insight into why Warren questioned Musk’s ability to manage both companies.
In defense of the businessman, Musk has asked a judge to modify or void the consent orders claiming they have enabled excessive oversight. Furthermore, Musk has requested the FTC to wait on conducting a deposition until a judge’s decision concerning the request has been made. Both requests have been granted, though a hearing will take place in November.
When questioned as to why they felt compelled to take such legal action, a Twitter spokesperson had little to offer in the way of explanation, saying only, “We have a responsibility to our shareholders and to the public to ensure we operate within the law and all necessary regulations.”
Warren and her team have yet to issue any type of comment in relation to the subpoena.
Critics point to Twitter’s use of the subpoena as a way of deflecting attention away from Warren’s accusations of conflict of interest and Musk’s potential abuses of power. It also serves as a reminder that, in silicon valley, information often reigns supreme, and access to it can translate to immense advantages for those parties holding the keys.
It will likely be some time before any sort of conclusion is reached related to Warren’s documents and the implications of Musk’s dual service remain up for debate.
As for now, one thing is abundantly clear: in the tech world, the fight to control information is as heated as they come.