(CNN) — The world is watching the world’s richest man single-handedly destroy one of the world’s most powerful and important communication platforms, just weeks after acquiring it for $44 billion. And of course the world is watching the dramatic spectacle unfold – where else? – on Twitter.
It’s hard to succinctly summarize the utter chaos that has consumed Twitter over the past 12 hours as Elon Musk continues to wreak havoc on the Silicon Valley startup. “Honestly, it feels like the beginning of the end,” a Twitter employee recently said on Thursday night. fireddescribing the company as the “Titanic” with “everyone looking for lifeboats.”
Several of those employees appear to be senior executives. Platformer revealed on Thursday night that the head of Confidence and Security, Yoel Roth, had resigned. Bloomberg reported that his publicity chief, Robin Wheeler, was about to leave. And earlier in the day, we learned that the security director Twitter information chief Lea Kissner has resigned, as has chief privacy officer Damien Kieran.
To make matters worse, Kissner and Kieran’s departures came after a senior member of Twitter’s legal team warned in an internal message from the company that Musk’s only priority was “to recover the losses he incurs as a result of not being able to get out of his commitment to buy Twitter.” The employee added that Musk was not concerned about possible liability to the Federal Trade Commission, which apparently surprised the federal agency. A portal Elon Musk’s Twitter faces his ‘Titanic’ moment voice of the agency said that he is “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 are prepared to use them.”
But Musk also has other distressing problems.
The loss of top executives, especially Roth and Wheeler, will make it extraordinarily difficult to lure skeptical advertisers back to the social networking site. And after Musk effectively removed verification on Twitter, ushering in an explosion of trolls and others creating Twitter accounts. impostersit’s hard to see why advertisers would put their money (and faith) in Twitter.
And since Twitter relies heavily on advertising revenue, the developments spell exceptionally worrying news for the company that is already in jeopardy.
That’s why Musk is perhaps already raising the possibility of Twitter crashing. In your first email to all staff, where he abruptly announced a mandatory return to office, Musk warned that “the economic outlook ahead is dire” and said that “without significant subscription revenue, Twitter will most likely not survive the next economic downturn.” In his first meeting with Twitter employees, according to BloombergMusk said bankruptcy is on the cards if the company doesn’t start generating more cash soon.
Maybe Twitter will find a way forward. But the road ahead seems quite arduous. As the nonprofit watchdog Accountable Tech said Thursday night: “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. Once again, we would tell advertisers to jump ship, but at this point, no CMO in their right mind needs that advice.”
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ANALYSIS | Elon Musk’s Twitter faces its ‘Titanic’ moment with execs and advertisers leaking