Tag Archives: Elon Musk

Elon Musk Will Permanently Ban Accounts For Impersonation



Elon Musk’s Twitter has a new rule for everyone with an account on Twitter to follow, as he announced from his own account: “any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended”, The Verge reported. In a follow up tweet, Musk said “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”

According to The Verge, ever since Musk promised his Twitter would bring “power to the people” by offering verification to anyone willing to pay $8 for a subscription, some owners of already verified accounts have been renaming themselves Elon Musk, highlighting the issue that a verification system that doesn’t actually check who controls an account.

The Verge also reported that despite Elon Musk’s earlier statement that no major content decisions would come down until Twitter put together a content moderation council to vote on them, the service’s new owner has made this ruling, apparently, all by himself. The Twitter Terms of Service don’t reflect any new rule changes, and Twitter has not responded to an inquiry from The Verge about how its policies have changed.

The Associated Press reported that the $8 verified accounts are Musk’s way of democratizing the service, he claims. On Saturday, a Twitter update for iOS devices listed on Apple’s app store said users who “sign up now” for the new “Twitter Blue with verification” can get the blue check next to their names “just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow.”

The Hill reported that Musk has angered many users with changes to Twitter’s verification system, asking people to pay $8 a month for a subscription that includes the blue check mark.

According to The Hill, Elon Musk said the rules against impersonations would be “clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue,” adding that users would also temporarily lose verification if they change their profile name.

Personally, I find that to be a really bad decision. There are a lot of people who like to change their Twitter name to something that fits with Halloween or Christmas. If any of them have paid for the blue check mark, will they lose it by temporarily choosing a festive name? I get the feeling that Elon Musk doesn’t quite understand how people use Twitter.

The Hill also reported that the blue check mark previously was only awarded to authentic and verified accounts, including celebrities, politicians, public agencies, private businesses, and journalists, among others who could prove they had a notable online presence. But, the Hill stated, the new method of paying for a verification mark has raised concerns that it will make it harder to identify trusted sources on the platform.


Elon Musk Says Twitter’s Revenue Dropped Due To Activist Groups



Twitter Inc. has suffered “a massive drop in revenue” because of advertisers cutting back on using the social-media platform, new owner Elon Musk said Friday, as the company started sweeping layoffs just over a week after the billionaire took it over, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Musk, in a tweet Friday, blamed the cutback on advertising on “activist groups pressuring advertisers.” He said that the company hadn’t changed content moderation and had tried to address activists’ concerns. “Extremely messed up!” he said, casting the pullback as an assault on free speech.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that Mr. Musk’s remarks came after several big-name advertisers, including food company General Mills Inc., Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., and Pfizer Inc. and others have temporarily paused their Twitter advertising in the wake of the takeover of the company by Mr. Musk. German car-making giant Volkswagen AG said it had recommended to its various brands they pause advertising on Twitter to assess any revisions the company makes to its brand safety guidelines.

In addition, the social-media industry is struggling with weaker revenue from digital advertisers. Such advertising has slowed due to several factors, including rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, and Apple privacy changes that have made it harder to track the performance of ads.

The Guardian reported that other advertisers, including Audi and General Motors have paused their advertisement spending on Twitter, concerned about the direction it will take under Musk.

Business Insider reported that Interpublic Group (IPG) wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal that it has advised its clients to pause spending on Twitter advertising during the company’s “chaotic” interim. Interpublic Group wrote in an email on Monday that was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal: “The current situation is unpredictable and chaotic, and bad actors and unsafe behaviors can thrive in such an environment. At this moment, we cannot confidently state that Twitter is a safe place for brands.”

While I have seen some people on Twitter suggesting that users should start pushing brands to drop their advertising, I doubt that the brands would do so just because some random person tweeted that they should. Instead, it sounds like the companies who advertise on Twitter believe that Twitter is currently too chaotic right now for them to place (and pay for) advertisements.

This does not surprise me, considering the massive amount of layoffs and the lawsuit against Twitter that was filed by people who suddenly found themselves out of a job.


Twitter Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Layoffs



Twitter is being sued for not giving employees advanced written notice of a mass layoff, in violation of worker protection laws including the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act as well as the California WARN Act, both of which require 60 days of advance notice, TechCrunch reported.

Bloomberg first reported the news of the lawsuit, filed on November 3, 2022, in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California.

According to TechCrunch, the complaint alleges that Twitter began its layoffs on November 1, when it terminated the plaintiff in the lawsuit, Emmanuel Cornet, without providing the proper written notice in violation of U.S. and California law. Additional plaintiffs, Justine De Caires, Jessica Pan, and Grae Kindel said they were terminated on November 3 by being locked out of their accounts.

Twitter is also enacting widespread layoffs across its workforce today, on November 4, 2022, it stated, adding that California’s Employment Development Department had not received a notice related to the event.

In a new complaint against Twitter, the plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that Twitter has violated the federal and California WARN Acts and certify the case as a class action suit. According to TechCrunch, it’s also asking the court to stop Twitter from having laid-off employees sign documents that would release their claims without informing them of the lawsuit. And it’s seeking a range of relief, including compensatory damages (including wages owed), as well as declaratory relief, pre- and post-judgement interest, plus other attorneys’ fees and costs.

TechCrunch also reported: Twitter hasn’t responded to requests for comment – but that could also be because its comms staff has been included in the layoffs.

The Verge reported that the lawsuit was filed in an attempt to “make sure employees are aware that they should not sign away their rights and that they have an avenue for pursuing their rights,” Shannon Liss-Riordan, the attorney who filed the complaint on Thursday night, told Bloomberg.

The Verge posted a copy of the lawsuit at the end of their article.

The Guardian reported that the lawsuit cited a similar situation with sackings at Musk’s other company, Tesla, where the company sought to obtain full release from its obligations under the Warn Act by offering severance of one or two weeks’ pay instead.

To me, this sounds like a pattern. I’m not surprised that the Tesla layoffs would be brought up in court, considering how similar they sound to the Twitter layoffs. It is unclear to me if Elon Musk was unaware of the labor laws or if he simply hoped he would get away with firing workers this way.


Elon Musk Begins Layoffs At Twitter



Elon Musk began laying off Twitter employees on Friday, culling the social media service’s 7,500-person work force a little over a week after completing his blockbuster buyout, The New York Times reported.

According to The New York Times, Twitter employees were notified in a companywide email that the layoffs were set to begin, according to a copy of the message seen by The New York Times. Workers were instructed to go home and not go to the offices on Friday as cuts proceeded. The message, which came from a generic address and was signed “Twitter,” did not detail the total number of layoffs.

“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global work force,” the email said. “We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward”

The New York Times also reported that in Dublin, home to Twitter’s European headquarters, some employees on Friday morning were cut off from the internal computer system and received an email about the job cuts.

“These decisions never come easy,” it said, “and it is with regret that we write to inform you that your role at Twitter has been identified as potentially impacted or at risk of redundancy.” Decisions were being made, the note said, depending on the country where a person lives and that more information would be shared “as soon as possible.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that later Thursday night, a growing number of Twitter employees said that they had lost access to the company Slack and email accounts, in an apparent sign that they were among those being laid off.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr Musk moved quickly to make personnel changes at the top of the company. Last week, on the same day he closed the deal, he fired Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal and three other top executives. Mr. Musk fired the executives for cause and is saying he isn’t required to pay them multimillion-dollar severance packages, the Journal reported. Other executives have departed since.

The Verge posted a copy of the entire Twitter memo that employees received. Someone posted it on Twitter, which is where I first saw it. If you aren’t on Twitter and curious about the memo, I recommend reading it from The Verge.

The Guardian reported that Musk is now the sole director of Twitter after dissolving the board, including the chair, Bret Taylor, and sacking a number of executives as soon as he took over the business last week.

According to The Guardian, the firings included the chief executive, Parag Agrawal, the chief financial officer, Ned Segal, and the head of legal, policy, and trust, Vijaya Gadde. As the de facto CEO, Musk has brought in a team of associates to help him run the business, including his personal attorney, Alex Spiro, and his tech investors Jason Calacanis and David Sacks.

Personally, I don’t think this sudden firing of employees was the smartest idea. It sounds as though Elon Musk is unaware how this will look to those who have been using Twitter for years. It has been mentioned that Twitter became extremely hostile (or, several accounts did) shortly after Elon Musk purchased it. Some are concerned that things are going to get a whole lot worse. Now that there are fewer employees, it will be much harder to have a report looked at or taken action on.


Elon Musk Reportedly Plans To Cut 75% Of Twitter Workforce



Elon Musk told prospective investors that he plans to eliminate nearly 75% of Twitter’s staff as part of his deal to take over the social media company, The Washington Post reported.

According to the Washington Post report, Twitter had already anticipated cutting funding to its infrastructure sites, including its data centers. Musk has said that, as the owner of Twitter, he would loosen content moderation policies and potentially pivot the company to a subscription-based profit model.

The Guardian reported that job cuts are expected in the coming months no matter who owns the company, according to the report, which cited interviews and documents. According to The Guardian, the news of Musk’s plans, should he ultimately take over the business, come at a difficult moment for Twitter. The company said in July that it had already “significantly slowed hiring” amid a wider economic downturn in the tech industry, where many companies have announced recent hiring freezes and layoffs.

In addition, the acquisition drama with Musk has fostered low morale, leading employees to quit in droves. Twitter has been embroiled in a legal battle with the billionaire for months after Musk tried to walk away from the $44bn takeover deal, before reversing course earlier this month and saying he would go through with it after all.

Bloomberg reported that Twitter, confronting reports that Elon Musk aims to gut its workforce as part of his takeover, told staff that there haven’t been plans for companywide layoffs since it signed a deal to be acquired by the billionaire.

Mashable reported that Musk might not even get to own the company until he passes muster with the Biden Administration – which is planning a “national security review” of Musk’s Twitter deal, alongside his Starlink satellite network.

I think Mashable has the best take on this situation: Musk really really doesn’t like content moderation. He doesn’t see why there should be consequences for hate speech, or even actual insurrection. He seems to believe that Donald Trump belongs back on Twitter even as the two feud. He thinks it’s fun and edgy to tweet (and delete) pictures of himself with Ye (fka Kanye West) immediately after the troubled rapper made anti-semitic comments.

Personally, I think that if Elon Musk does purchase Twitter, it could cause the user experience to be even more chaotic than it currently is. Elon Musk has a history of abruptly changing his mind about things that affect a lot of people without warning. Stability is important, and too many changes could potentially influence people to seek out other types of social media.


Twitter Calls Elon Musk’s Third Attempt To Scrap Acquisition Invalid



Twitter said that payments to a whistleblower did not breach any of its obligations under the $44 billion acquisition proposed by Elon Musk, after the billionaire sent a third letter to try and call off the deal, CNBC reported.

The social media giant said it intends to enforce the agreement and close the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Musk, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. According to CNBC, Twitter shareholders will vote Tuesday on whether to approve or reject Musk’s takeover bid.

The Guardian reported that Twitter’s former head of security, Pieter “Mudge” Zatko, will appear in front of lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday. According to The Guardian, Zatko is expected to give damning evidence of data and information security failings at the social media platform, having outlined a litany of concerns in a whistleblower complaint last month.

The Guardian also reported that the Senate Judiciary committee hearing is not directly for the benefit of Elon Musk, who is trying to pull out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter and has been given permission to include Zatko’s revelations as another reason for walking away. According to The Guardian, Musk’s lawyers interviewed Zatko on September 9. But if Zatko’s actions are going to have an immediate impact, it will be at a trial in Delaware on October 17, where Twitter is attempting to force Musk to buy the company under the terms he agreed in April.

The Verge reported that Musk’s legal team cited Twitter’s multimillion dollar severance payment to former security chief and whistleblower Peiter Zatko as a violation of the merger agreement and a reason to end the deal. The letter was dated September 9, and sent to Twitter’s chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde.

According to The Verge, Twitter responded Musk and company on September 12, saying, “As was the case with both your July 8, 2022 and August 29, 2022 purported notices of termination, the purported termination set forth in your September 9, 2022 letter is invalid and wrongful under the Agreement… Twitter has breached none of its representations or obligations under the Agreement.”

Personally, I think this back-and-forth between Twitter and Elon Musk is getting tiring. I cannot see a way for them to work things out that results in making both sides happy. To me, this bickering between the two comes across as petty and annoying. Good luck to the judge who has to make the decision about how this mess gets resolved!


Elon Musk Has A New Reason To End His Twitter Takeover



A lawyer for Elon Musk argued in a letter Friday to Twitter Inc. that a roughly $7 million payment the company made to a whistleblower gives the billionaire more ammunition to walk away from a $44 billion deal to buy the social-media business, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Twitter agreed in June to pay a settlement to Peiter Zatko, who served as the company’s security head before being fired in January. The settlement was completed days before Mr. Zatko filed his whistleblower complaint in July, in which he accuses the company of failing to protect sensitive user data and lying about security problems, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter has denied the allegations and said Mr. Zatko was fired “for ineffective leadership and poor performance.”

Twitter didn’t reach out to Mr. Musk for consent before making the $7.75 million in payments to Mr. Zatko and his counsel, said Mr. Musk’s lawyer Mike Ringler, of Scadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He also said Mr. Musk first learned of the payment when Twitter filed the separation agreement with Mr. Zatko in court last week where he is fighting with Twitter over his effort to abandon the deal.

The Verge reported that Elon Musk has sent a third letter to Twitter attempting to terminate his $44 billion acquisition of the company. According to The Verge, the letter was dated September 9th, was sent to Twitter’s chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, and was used in a filing Twitter made with the SEC on Friday. The Verge has embedded a copy of the letter in their article.

So far, Elon Musk has attempted several times to end his deal with Twitter. In July of 2022, Elon Musk’s camp concluded that Twitter’s figures on spam accounts were not verifiable. Twitter responded that spam accounts make up less than 5% of the company’s daily monetizable users, which Twitter defines as daily users who are logged in and authenticated by Twitter.

Also in July of 2022, Elon Musk sought to terminate his deal by claiming that Twitter breached the terms of the deal by not being forthcoming about critical business information as it pertains to bots. He also requested that Twitter give him access to its “firehose” or stream of tweets.

In August, a judge rejected Elon Musk’s “absurdly broad” Twitter data request for years of data about Twitter Inc.’s spam and fake accounts. However, the judge ordered Twitter to provide a subset of the information to Mr. Musk’s lawyers.

And now, Elon Musk claims that the money that Twitter paid Pieter Zatko was a violation of the merger agreement and a reason to end the deal. Mr. Musk appears to be having a “buyer’s remorse” over his decision to buy Twitter.