Elon Musk walked into Twitter headquarters in San Francisco last week carrying a kitchen sink, allowing him to tweet a pun about his $44 billion takeover of the social media company. On Friday, however, the realities of thousands of layoffs and a slew of advertisers fleeing the platform seems to finally be sinking in for the self-appointed Twitter CEO.
Musk’s Twitter is having a bad week, to say the least. Reports indicate that about half the workforce is expected to be fired on Friday, and a lack of internal communication in the company has put those that remain on edge. Musk has toyed with new revenue streams to keep the company afloat, especially after leveraging $13 billion in debt onto the company as part of his purchase. Which is probably why this tweet on Friday complaining that advertisers are fleeing the platform is bad news all around.
Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.
Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk wrote Friday. “Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”
It’s a very Trump-like thing to Tweet, as many people pointed out. And amid all the bluster of his takeover and the human cost of massive layoffs, it’s hard to parse any of this as good news for the future of the company. Blaming activists or not, Musk isn’t hiding the fact that advertisers aren’t buying his message that a platform littered with unmoderated free speech is a good place to put ads for less inherently racist things like soda and laundry detergent.
Musk on loss of advertisers:
“We’ve done our absolute best to appease them. And nothing has worked.”
— Lauren Hirsch (@LaurenSHirsch) November 4, 2022
That said, what’s left of Twitter’s content moderation team seems to have a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. Shortly after Musk’s tweet was sent out, suggested context was added to it by users in an attempt to limit disinformation on the social media platform.
More worryingly, perhaps, are reports that a half-strength Twitter may not be ready for election day in the United States next week. And with an unproven new verification system set to launch a day before people go to the polls, things really could get much worse from here.
Here’s what’s going on at Twitter right now: It’s a nightmare.
Employees are sounding the alarm about how it could make getting reliable information on this site during Tuesday’s elections impossible.pic.twitter.com/OChS8ZYK8k
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 4, 2022
But hey: at least Elon still has his memes.