Analysis: Elon Musk’s Twitter faces its ‘Titanic’ moment as execs, advertisers flee as trolls run rampant

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CNN Business

The world is watching as the world’s richest man single-handedly destroys one of the world’s most powerful and important communications platforms, just weeks after acquiring it for $44 billion. And of course the world is watching the dramatic spectacle unfold, where else? —Twitter.

It’s hard to succinctly summarize the absolute chaos that has consumed Twitter over the past 12 hours, as Elon Musk continues to wreak havoc on the Silicon Valley company. “It looks like the beginning of the end, honestly,” a recently fired Twitter employee said Thursday evening, describing the company as the “Titanic” with “everyone looking for lifeboats.”

Several of these employees are apparently senior executives. platform swept away By Thursday evening, the head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, had resigned. Bloomberg reported that its advertising chief Robin Wheeler was on the way. And earlier, we learned that Twitter’s chief information security officer, Lea Kissner, resigned, as did chief privacy officer Damien Kieran.

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To make matters worse, Kissner and Kieran’s departures came after a senior member of Twitter’s legal team warned in an internal company message that Musk’s only priority was to “recoup the losses he’s in incurred as a result of not exiting its binding obligation to buy Twitter.The employee added that Musk was not concerned about potential liability to the Federal Trade Commission, which appeared to raise eyebrows at the federal agency. A spokesman for the agency said it was “following recent developments on Twitter with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” the spokesperson added. “Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we stand ready to use them.”

But Musk also has several other nagging problems.

The loss of top executives, especially Roth and Wheeler, will make it extraordinarily difficult to attract already skeptical advertisers to the social media site. And with the effective verification of Musk’s nuke on Twitter, giving way to an explosion of trolls and such creating impostor accountsit’s hard to see why advertisers would put their money (and faith) in Twitter.

And given that Twitter relies heavily on advertising revenue, the developments represent exceptionally troubling news for the already embattled company.

That’s why Musk may already be considering the possibility that Twitter could collapse. In his first email to all staff, in which he abruptly announced the mandatory return to the office, Musk warned that “the economic situation ahead is dire” and said that “without significant subscription revenue, there are many chances that Twitter won’t survive the next economic situation.” recession”. In his first meeting with Twitter employees, Bloomberg reported that Musk said bankruptcy is on the table if the company doesn’t start generating more cash soon.

Maybe Twitter will find a way forward. But the road ahead looks quite difficult. As the nonprofit watchdog Accountable Tech said Thursday evening: “This hellscape is going to get more hellish. More hate speech and harassment. More deception and impersonation. More privacy and security risks for all of us. We’d tell advertisers to submit again, but at this point, no CMO in their right mind needs that advice.”

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