Day of chaos brings Twitter closer to precipice, analysts say

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Just last week, one of the world’s most influential social networks laid off half its workforce; upset powerful advertisers; expanded key aspects of its product, repeatedly launched and rolled out other features designed to compensate for it, and witnessed an exodus of senior executives.

The wild swings on Twitter only appeared to accelerate on Thursday with more executive departures, growing chaos over fake and verified accounts and an unusual public rebuke from the US government.

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Twitter now appears to be on the brink, a point that Elon Musk himself appeared to concede on Thursday when he told employees that bankruptcy could be on the horizon although it’s far from the first time he’s been warned about bankruptcy. of one of your companies.

It’s an impressive turnaround not only for Musk, who bought the company for $44 billion, but also for a platform used by some of the most powerful people on the planet, including world leaders, CEOs and the Pope.

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The end of the interruption did not seem to be in sight this Friday (11). In its latest reversal on the matter, Twitter said it would reintroduce a gray “Official” badge for select accounts to help confirm their identities.

The decision came after Twitter was forced to fend off a wave of imposters from verified accounts this week, including some posing as former President Donald Trump, Nintendo and pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, among others.

These accounts were the result of Musk’s decision to rush to offer a blue checkmark to any account holder willing to pay $8 a month, no questions asked, as he races to find new ways to make money from the platform.

That paid subscription service was also suspended this Friday with little warning, just two days after its official launch, with the menu option to subscribe to Twitter Blue suddenly disappearing from Twitter’s iOS app — the only place the add-on was being offered. It was not immediately clear when the company will be able to restore the offer.

The gray “Official” badge has become an illustration of the whiplash users, employees and advertisers have experienced in recent days.

Hours after the gray stamps were released Wednesday as a way to help users differentiate between legitimate celebrity accounts and brands from accounts that only paid for a blue checkmark, Musk abruptly tweeted that he had “killed” it. the appeal, forcing subordinates to explain the reversal.

“We are not currently putting an ‘official’ label on the accounts, but we are aggressively going after impersonation and deception,” the verified Twitter support account tweeted Wednesday night.

The account’s next tweet, a day and nine hours later, said the exact opposite: “To combat impersonation, we’ve added an ‘Official’ label to some accounts.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on changes to the launch of the Twitter Blue or “Official” badges.

The difficult rollout of the paid verification feature drew widespread criticism from disinformation experts, who warned that it would make identifying reliable information much more difficult, particularly in the critical period following the US midterm elections. Even some of the platform’s fellow high-powered Musk users had difficult feedback.

“@elonmusk, entrepreneur to entrepreneur, for when you have your customer service hat on. I spent a lot of time muting all newly purchased checkmark accounts in an attempt to make my verified mentions useful again,” tweeted billionaire Mark Cuban.

“The bottom line is you have a decision to make,” Cuban added. “Take the new Twitter that democratizes all tweets by paid accounts and puts the onus on all users to curate them themselves. Or bring back Twitter curation. One makes Twitter’s time and information efficient. The other is horrible.”

At a Twitter Spaces event held for advertisers this week, Musk urged brands to continue using the platform after an increasing number of companies paused ads, causing what Musk previously described as a “massive drop in revenue”.

At the event, Musk sought to appear magnanimous in accepting responsibility for the company’s performance.

“If things go wrong, it’s my fault, because the responsibility rests with me,” he told an audience of more than 100,000 listeners.

But in particular, critics of Musk have described the billionaire as contemptuous of responsibility, even in the face of scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission, which publicly warned on Thursday, in a rare forward-looking statement, that it is “following recent developments on Twitter with deep concern.”

According to an internal Slack message posted by a Twitter employee and viewed by CNN, Musk showed little fear of FTC regulators overseeing the company’s various legally binding consent agreements, committing it to maintaining a robust cybersecurity program and producing written privacy impact reports ahead of launch. any new products or services, a requirement that may cover Twitter Blue.

The company is already facing billions in potential FTC fines for alleged privacy errors dating back to before Musk’s ownership.

But, the Twitter employee warned colleagues, Twitter could find itself even more legally exposed following the sudden resignation of several top Twitter executives charged with fulfilling the company’s FTC obligations, including its chief information security officer and chief privacy officer. .

Forced to deal with the looming risk of FTC oversight, Musk reportedly struck a conciliatory tone.

“Twitter will do whatever it takes to adhere to both the letter and the spirit of the FTC’s Consent Decree,” Musk wrote in an email to employees Thursday night.

The only thing Musk says is working in his favor on Twitter is user growth as more people tune in to see him falter as owner of the company.

“Twitter usage is on the rise,” Musk tweeted earlier this week, before adding a follow-up tweet: “Just hope the servers don’t melt!”

Source: CNN Brasil

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