Twitter executives quit amid company turmoil


Washington
CNN Business

Just days after Twitter laid off thousands of employees, several executives from teams working on privacy and security at the platform have reportedly resigned.

Twitter’s chief information security officer announced his resignation Thursday, leaving one of the company’s most critical roles vacant just as scrutiny is mounting over Twitter’s future and the erratic decisions of its new owner, Elon Musk.

In a tweet, Lea Kissner, the former CISO, said they were waiting to figure out their next steps.

“I’ve made the difficult decision to leave Twitter,” Kissner he tweeted. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people and I’m very proud of the privacy, security and IT teams and the work we’ve done.”

Kissner did not immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did he publicly offer his reasons for leaving Twitter.

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of integrity and security, also resigned from the company on Thursday, according to a source familiar with the situation. In the days following Musk’s acquisition of the company, Roth emerged as a public voice explaining and advocating some of the many changes that were being implemented. He joined Musk in a Twitter Spaces discussion Wednesday to calm concerns about the platform’s handling of harmful content amid the changes.

Their resignations are the latest example of the internal turmoil that has rocked Twitter following mass layoffs at the company.

Kissner’s departure reportedly coincided with the resignations of several other Twitter leaders Wednesday evening over fears about the company’s legal exposure to the Federal Trade Commission, according to an internal Slack message seen by CNN . According to the Slack message, Twitter’s head of privacy, Damien Kieran, resigned on Wednesday evening. Kieran posted a tweet Thursday evening that appeared to refer to his own resignation. The independent journalist Casey Newton and The Verge first reported the resignations.

In the Slack message, a Twitter employee wrote that Musk’s only priority is to “recoup the losses he is incurring as a result of not exiting his binding obligation to buy Twitter.”

Lea Kissner, Twitter's chief information security officer, announced her resignation from the company on Thursday.

The employee’s post also claimed that Musk’s approach to monetizing the platform could endanger vulnerable users, including human rights activists and political dissidents.

It could even put Twitter’s own employees in legal jeopardy, the message suggested, after the employee claimed Musk wasn’t concerned about Twitter’s potential liability to the FTC.

The employee claimed to have heard Alex Spiro, Musk’s lawyer and, according to the message, Twitter’s new chief legal officer, say that “Elon puts rockets into space, it’s not afraid of the FTC.” Spiro told CNN that “we are in an ongoing dialogue with the FTC and will work closely with the agency to ensure that we are in compliance.”

In a statement, an FTC spokesman said it is “following recent developments on Twitter with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” the spokesperson said. “Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we stand ready to use them.”

Twitter has twice settled with the agency over user privacy violations and faces allegations from its former security chief, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, that the company under former CEO Parag Agrawal had breached its FTC obligations for the third time. If proven true, Zatko’s allegations could result in billions of dollars in fines and personal liability for Agrawal.

The message describes plans at Twitter to transfer FTC compliance responsibilities to individual workers who remain at the company.

“This will pose a great deal of personal, professional and legal risk for engineers,” the message warned, according to The Verge. “I predict that all of you will die [sic] pressured by management to push for changes that are likely to lead to major incidents.”

— CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report

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