Senior members of Twitter’s privacy and security teams have left the company, according to an internal message from a company attorney obtained by ABC News that warns of employment contract violations and legal repercussions if new owner Elon Musk breaches an FTC agreement.
Among the staff who left were privacy officer Damien Kieran, compliance officer Marianne Fogarty and information officer Lea Kissner, according to the message. Kissner confirmed his resignation in a Tweet earlier this morning. None responded to ABC’s request for comment.
The message was posted to Twitter’s Slack by an attorney from Twitter’s privacy team and visible to all staff. “Over the past two weeks, Elon has shown that he cares only about recouping the losses he incurs as a result of his inability to evade his binding obligation to buy Twitter,” the lawyer wrote to these partner’work. The Verge first reported on the lawyer’s message.
The Twitter lawyer’s post comes after Musk announced he would require employees to be in the office 40 hours a week, eliminating remote work. The lawyer believes that this is a “fundamental change to our employment contracts”, they wrote to the Slack group made up of more than 2,000 members. “I don’t personally believe that Twitter employees have an obligation to return to the office. Certainly not without notice,” the attorney wrote.
“He chose to make this deal,” Twitter’s attorney added regarding Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. “We all face this as a result of the choices he made.”
Twitter’s lawyer reminded his colleagues that they still have unlimited PTO. “Maybe today is a good day to rest and recharge,” they wrote.
This member of Twitter’s senior counsel went on to describe Musk’s apparent disregard for any potential legal repercussions that may arise in the near future.
In the message, the lawyer referred to the FTC settlement accepted by Twitter in May; the company was caught using phone numbers and emails for targeted advertising, even though they were only supposed to be used for multi-factor authentication logins. The FTC fined the company $150 million and provided Twitter with a list of new compliance rules.
If the company refuses to comply with the FTC agreement, Twitter could be fined billions of dollars, according to the Slack message from the company’s attorney.
But the attorney claims in the post that they heard Alex Spiro, Musk’s attorney and current head of Twitter’s legal department, say “Elon is willing to take a huge risk on this company and its users, because ‘Elon puts rockets in space, he’s not afraid of the FTC.'”
Twitter’s legal team is asking engineers to “self-certify” compliance with FTC rules and other privacy laws, according to the company attorney’s post. “This will place an enormous amount of personal, professional and legal risk on engineers,” they wrote. “I anticipate that you will all come under pressure from management to implement changes that will likely lead to major incidents.”
An FTC spokesperson told ABC News “We are following recent developments on Twitter with grave concern. No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our Revised Consent Order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are ready to use them.”
Twitter’s attorney left Twitter’s Ethics Helpline number and a link to https://whistlebloweraid.org/ at the end of the email.
“It has been an honor to work with all of you,” they wrote. “I’m going to take a PTO day today.”
Twitter did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment.