Internet. Resignations, advertiser leaks … save who can on Twitter

Multiple resignations, warnings from authorities and fleeing advertisers: Elon Musk’s Twitter was under fire from all sides on Thursday, despite his mixed efforts to motivate remaining employees. “The future is very exciting, I can’t wait to do it with you,” the new boss said Thursday at the start of an internal meeting of employees who were not laid off during the mass layoff a week ago.

But the threat of bankruptcy was raised when he later admitted he did not know how badly the business would “go bankrupt” next year. “It is possible that we have a cash flow of several billions,” he said, according to messages among employees consulted by AFP.

A “difficult” path.

In an internal letter the day before, he had written to them that the road would be “difficult” and that they must now “be in person in the office at least 40 hours a week”. Employees also asked him about the risks associated with rapidly deploying new, untested features, the preferred method of the Tesla and SpaceX boss.

Because the US Competition Agency (FTC) issued a rare warning against the platform on Thursday: “We are following recent developments on Twitter with great concern. No CEO or company is above the law,” said an FTC spokesperson. He recalled that the platform risked significant fines if it did not comply with the rules of an agreement reached with the agency on data security and confidentiality.

“not boring”

However, many employees aware of these regulations are no longer on Twitter. The Tesla and SpaceX boss fired half of the Californian company’s 7,500 employees a week ago, ten days after buying it and becoming its sole master on board.

Hundreds of people had already left this summer and executive resignations have continued in recent days. On Thursday, Damien Kieran, data privacy manager, and Lea Kissner, security manager, announced their departures.

Other executives have also decided to leave, including Yoel Roth, Twitter’s “former head of trust and security,” as his profile indicated as of Thursday night. He had intervened several times in recent days to clarify the changes or to ensure that the fight against disinformation remained a “top priority”.

Robin Wheeler, a customer solutions executive whose departure had been reported by US media, however tweeted on Thursday evening: “I’m still here.”

Memes (humorous images) referring to chaos and panic multiplied on the platform. Elon Musk, he likes to repeat that content moderation, a safeguard against abuse on the platform, is intact. He asserted Thursday that Twitter usage “continues to grow,” adding, “One thing’s for sure: It’s not boring.”

Advertisers jump ship

But his rash decisions and provocations on Twitter have been a source of daily controversy for two weeks, worrying many authorities, advertisers, users and minority groups.

Some advertisers have suspended their spending on the highly influential social network, whose economic model depends 90% on advertising. Insider Intelligence has cut its forecast for Twitter’s ad revenue by 39% in 2023 and 2024.

Elon Musk wants to diversify revenue streams, from subscriptions for users to content creation tools for influencers. But Wednesday’s cacophonous launch of Twitter Blue, the new $8-a-month formula for verifying one’s account, resulted in conflicting official statements and an explosion of fake profiles.

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