I just Googled “when did Elon Musk buy Twitter?” because I couldn’t remember. The answer: fifteen days ago. What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Anyway, here’s a collection of Twitter-related news as we watch the birdsite burn down, fall over, then sink into the swamp. To submit any I’ve missed, find me on Counter.social.
First Things First
Oct. 28 Welcome to Hell, Elon (The Verge). If there will be one classic piece of writing on the entire Twitter fiasco – one anthologized in overpriced textbooks and assigned as mandatory reading for every first-year business class – this is it.
Oct. 28 Can We Count the Ways in Which Elon is Going to Regret Owning Twitter? (TechDirt). As the Magic 8 Ball told us repeatedly in our youth, signs point to no.
It’s About the Money
Nov 7. Musk discusses putting all of Twitter behind a paywall (Casey Newton, Platformer). Musk tossed around the idea of making people subscribe for the coveted blue check mark almost immediately. He’s also considered making the entire site pay to play.
Nov. 9 Elon Musk sells almost $4bn of Tesla shares (BBC). Musk sold 19.5 million shares of Tesla worth about $3.95 billion. Since initiating the whole Twitter think, Musk has sold about $20 billion worth of Tesla. Naturally, Tesla’s stock price is not responding well. (Oh, and Tesla is facing a recall of some 40,000 vehicles (NBC) for potential power steering problems after a software update.)
Nov. 11 Elon Musk learns the hard way that being a Twitter troll is way more fun than being a mod (The Verge). As one of my friends noted, “$44 billion of fucking around buys an awful lot of finding out.”
Life Inside the Bird
Nov. 6 Twitter: Musk defends deep cuts to company’s workforce (BBC). It only took a week for about half of Twitter’s worldwide staff to be pink-slipped (pink-emailed?).
Nov. 8 Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks (MIT Technology Review). Cutting half of Twitter’s workforce left it without enough people to sustain the platform, according to an engineer.
Nov. 10 Twitter’s Security and Privacy Leaders Quit Amidst Musk’s Chaotic Takeover (Forbes). At least three of Twitter’s executives in charge of security and privacy quit, raising major – and majorly expensive – questions about federal compliance, among others.
Nov. 10 Inside Elon Musk’s first meeting with Twitter employees (The Verge). A complete transcript of the Chief Twit’s meeting with the remaining Twitter employees. Yikes.
Nov. 11 Twitter’s new leaders charged with helping Musk execute “dumb things” (Ars Technica). No, surely not! Doesn’t more money mean more genius, after all?
Nov. 11 Inside the Twitter meltdown (Casey Newton and Zoe Schiffer, Platformer). I can’t say it better than the authors: “Everything went from bad to worse at Twitter on Thursday.”
Here Comes the Law
Nov. 10 Musk’s Twitter loses key executives, triggers sharp FTC warning (Politico). The resignation of privacy and security leadership prompted the Federal Trade Commission to remind Musk that it can and will fine Twitter millions or billions of dollars per day for violations. Oof.
Nov. 10 Mass layoffs at Twitter, Meta and other companies spotlight a little-known US law that protects employees (CNBC). Elon, my poppet, my pignsnie, you can’t just go firing people on the spot. At least not this many people. At least not in California or New York. Anyway, brace yourself for WARN Act-related class actions, sir.
Nov. 11 Saudi Arabia is the Second-Largest Investor in Twitter. Sen. Chris Murphy Thinks the U.S. Should Look Into That. (Slate) That’s right – after Musk, the next largest Twitter investor is Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal. Insert “it’s fine” dog meme here.
How the Whole “User Verification” Thing is Going
Nov. 2 Hey Elon: Let Me Help You Speed Run the Content Moderation Learning Curve (TechDirt). A super-quick primer on why social media sites actually need content moderation (and why it’s so hard to get right). Reading the entire piece is guaranteed to make you 1500 percent more qualified to run Twitter than Elon Musk is.
Nov. 10 For $8, Twitter Blue users create a wave of checkmarked impostor accounts (Ars Technica). Imagine being the pharma giant who has to tell everyone that no, insulin is still outrageously expensive.
Nov. 11 Twitter brings back ‘official’ account tag; $8 blue-tick option disappears (Reuters). Who would have guessed that letting people pay to present themselves as official brand and individual accounts would have ended badly?
Nov. 11 15 Fake Verified Twitter Accounts Causing Absolute Chaos Right Now (Gizmodo). Turns out a lot of people have $8 and no reason not to pretend to be celebrities, politicians, or major corporations.
When Twitter stops letting you impersonate Tesla for the good of the nation, consider sending $8 my way for less lolz but more competence.