Three of Twitter's top security, safety and privacy executives have resigned, moves that add to what had already been a chaotic two-week run since Elon Musk took control of the company.
Twitter’s chief information security officer and chief compliance officer resigned late Wednesday as the company started implementing changes that would allow users to more easily impersonate major brands and government officials.
The departures came just hours before Musk sent his first email to Twitter employees, titled “difficult times ahead” and implementing a mandatory return-to-work policy.
Later Thursday, Twitter's head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, also resigned, according to a person familiar with the situation who requested to remain nameless as they were not authorized to speak about internal company matters.
Roth had emerged since Musk's acquisition as a leading voice at the company about its ongoing moderation efforts and work to limit an uptick in hate speech. Musk publicly vouched for Roth multiple times in recent weeks.
Lea Kissner, the chief information security officer, confirmed they had left in a Twitter post Thursday morning. Chief Compliance Officer Marianne Fogarty has also left the company, according to a person familiar with the situation who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
“I don’t watch Game of Thrones. I certainly don’t want to play it at work,” Fogarty tweeted Monday.
A spokesperson for the Federal Trade Commission said in an emailed statement that it is keeping watch on the situation.
“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” the spokesperson wrote. “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 prepared to use them.”
On Wednesday, Twitter rolled out the new Twitter Blue, which allows any user to purchase a verification badge for $7.99 per month as long as they joined Twitter before Nov. 9. As feared by cybersecurity professionals, users immediately used the pay-to-play feature to impersonate public figures and brands. One user impersonating LeBron James demanded a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers.
The resignations add to what has already been a chaotic two weeks with Musk at the helm of Twitter, where he recently said the company “will do lots of dumb things in coming months.”
“We will keep what works & change what doesn’t,” he added.
In the hours after the departure announcement, some employees speculated in the company’s Slack chat and in private messages seen by NBC News that the resignations as well as the company’s recent move to ship features quickly could put it at risk of action from the FTC, which has previously fined the company and accused it of deceptive practices. As part of its settlement with the FTC and the Department of Justice, Twitter agreed to “implement robust compliance measures to protect users’ data privacy,” the DOJ said in its announcement of the settlement.
After the rollout of the paid verification feature on Wednesday, one employee told NBC News they were staying with the company just to keep their department “from going off the rails.”
The employee compared Musk’s management style of creating new policies by publicly tweeting about it first to that of the Trump White House, saying he is setting new rules on the site “by Tweet edict,” then forcing employees to enforce them from then on.