Twitter’s future may hinge on whether Musk can get out of the way

2 weeks ago 43

If you’ve been connected Twitter astatine immoderate constituent successful the past 3 weeks, you’ve astir apt noticed a batch of radical are talking astir its death. Elon Musk’s takeover and radical, rapid-fire changes person eroded idiosyncratic assurance successful the platform, killed advertisement walk and sent fractional the company’s planetary workforce packing. So what’s the harm truthful far, and what does the aboriginal look similar for Twitter?

Musk took power of Twitter connected October 27, and his archetypal determination was to sack cardinal executives astatine the institution and dissolve the committee of directors. In the week following, helium laid disconnected astir fractional the company’s 7500 employees, arsenic good arsenic thousands of declaration employees, seemingly obliterating overmuch of the company’s safety, communications, accessibility and moderation teams.

Twitter’s inactive  standing, but users and experts person  concerns.

Twitter’s inactive standing, but users and experts person concerns.Credit:AP

Also successful that archetypal week the work had an enormous surge successful racist slurs – whether that was a effect of reduced moderation oregon conscionable individuals feeling emboldened by the alteration of absorption – and it was reported that Musk was hopeless to find ways to monetise Twitter and marque billions successful operational savings to assistance recoup immoderate of his $US44 cardinal ($66 billion) investment.

Unfortunately for Musk, connected November 4 helium tweeted that Twitter had experienced a “massive drop” successful revenue, which helium blamed connected activistic groups pressuring advertisers to propulsion their campaigns. It is existent that advocacy groups had raised concerns that Musk’s planned changes would negatively impact misinformation and harassment issues connected the site, but it’s not wide whether that factored into the advertizing exodus.

In a motion that his occurrence astatine Tesla and SpaceX had not needfully prepared him for moving a media business, Musk responded by threatening and insulting advertisers connected Twitter.


After that, Twitter rolled retired Musk’s projected changes to subscription work Twitter Blue, which allowed immoderate idiosyncratic to summation a bluish tick adjacent to their sanction by paying a monthly fee. This had been a motion that the relationship was verified arsenic belonging to a notable person, outlet oregon agency. And it’s present that the astir publically disposable issues began to arise.

While Musk had agelong argued that the verification strategy was classist and should beryllium abolished, the caller strategy resulted successful an contiguous detonation of mendacious accounts that to astir users looked perfectly legitimate. Some astatine Twitter scrambled to institute a caller “official” label to marque it wide which accounts were trustworthy, but Musk unopen that down. And it has emerged that Twitter’s information squad warned Musk astir the dangers of revoking existent verification, with a prescient seven-page study that forecast antagonistic impacts connected advertisers and trust.

After the change, tweets from accounts claiming to beryllium subject contractor Lockheed Martin (saying it would nary longer merchantability weapons to Israel) and pharmaceutical institution Eli Lilly (saying insulin would beryllium made disposable escaped successful the US) appeared to impact the existent companies’ banal prices. And the endless impersonations – including a legitimate-looking Nintendo relationship posting a representation of Mario flipping the vertebrate – didn’t bash overmuch to person advertisers to spend. In fact, advertizing giants IPG, GroupM and Omnicom are each recommending that clients intermission spending. The Musk-run SpaceX, astatine least, is not listening to that advice, purchasing takeover advertisement packages connected Twitter to beryllium shown successful Australia and Spain. Twitter has paused its Blue subscription service, though Musk says it volition beryllium backmost astatine the extremity of the month.

Musk has said helium intends to support pushing Twitter to make features quickly, rotation retired and retreat “dumb things” to spot what works, and make a civilization of “hardcore” coding and growth. But speech from that making things confusing and scary for users, it has stableness and information implications too.

“If changes are introduced astatine immoderate organisation without due testing, determination is ever the anticipation that users could beryllium exposed to much attacks. A level the size and standard of Twitter, with millions of users worldwide, could person terrible consequences if information is not prioritised.” said Sherrod DeGrippo, vice-president astatine menace probe steadfast Proofpoint.

Musk has made claims astir Twitter lone to beryllium corrected by the platform’s ain fact-checking apparatus.

“The accelerated changes that are happening astatine Twitter person generated headlines worldwide. This adds to the imaginable threat, arsenic cyber criminals commonly usage themes related to large quality items oregon quality involvement stories, and societal engineering tactics to evoke action.”

Cloud information steadfast Mimecast besides reported a surge successful transgression enactment leveraging the Twitter verification chaos. Musk continues to blasted activists and trolls, and has a inclination to dog-whistle to his dedicated instrumentality basal erstwhile questioned.

When a US congressman called Musk out connected the information implications of the blue-tick changes, Musk insulted him and wondered wherefore helium was wearing a disguise successful his illustration picture. In respective cases, Musk has made claims astir Twitter lone to beryllium corrected by the platform’s ain fact-checking apparatus, which helium has mostly gutted. He’s besides claimed to person fired employees for correcting him publically connected Twitter, and many employees person taken to Twitter to accidental they were fired implicit disagreements.


Musk’s behaviour connected Twitter, which paints a representation of a idiosyncratic who takes disapproval highly personally, tweets impulsively and compulsively, and doesn’t attraction if his $US44 cardinal concern results successful the demolition of the full service, appears to beryllium the cardinal operator of concerns for the platform’s aboriginal among users.

Although alternative Mastodon’s monthly sign-ups person accrued by much than 1000 per cent, Twitter inactive boasts millions of users and is intimately integrated into galore different sites and services. If Musk tin support that basal functionality, execute immoderate benignant of stableness and coax backmost advertisers (or onslaught a equilibrium betwixt subscriptions and operating costs), Twitter is apt to persist successful immoderate form.

However, his committedness to decommission unnecessary services and proceed to bladed the workforce has prompted immoderate experts to pass Twitter whitethorn endure an contented oregon deficiency that would beryllium excessively costly to fix.

“It truly doesn’t substance whether you take to permission this tract oregon not. Make a back-up program and get your contacts successful order, due to the fact that this tract is apt to permission you,” tweeted hacker and information specializer Ian Coldwater.

“If you person immoderate apps oregon sites you log into connected to your Twitter relationship via OAuth, I powerfully urge changing that close present portion you inactive can.”

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