Tweet Sparks Musk Fever In EU’s Poorest Corner

(FILES) This file illustration photo taken on August 5, 2022 shows a cellphone displaying a photo of Elon Musk placed on a computer monitor filled with Twitter logos in Washington, DC. – The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of Twitter shares on October 4, 2022 following a Bloomberg report on a possible new takeover offer for the social network by Elon Musk, at the price originally agreed in April. (Photo by SAMUEL CORUM / AFP)

 

 

An off-the-cuff tweet by Elon Musk has left Bulgarians over the moon, hoping the world’s richest man may be planning to visit the EU’s poorest region.

The Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter boss — who is not immune to bouts of online whimsy — recently commented on an image of the towering Belogradchik Rocks in northwestern Bulgaria under menacing clouds.

“Pretty sure that was in Elden Ring,” Musk tweeted, referring to one of his favourite video games.

Bulgarians were quick to educate him.

“Dear Elon, this is from Bulgaria! I invite you to see this place,” Tourism Minister Ilin Dimitrov responded.

Hundreds of other Twitter users did likewise, delighted by the attention for a country rarely in the spotlight of the rich and famous.

An official invite was promptly dispatched, accompanied by a silver rhyton drinking horn, a symbol of the ancient Thracian civilisation that Bulgaria prides itself on.

– Mystery deepens –
The plot thickened when the chef of a high-end restaurant about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Belogradchik published an email purportedly from SpaceX hinting at a visit by Musk in April 2023.

The whole episode ignited a social media buzz, with memes aplenty showing the billionaire drinking the local rakia alcohol or dressed in traditional Bulgarian attire.

Not everyone was star-struck. “He will come and buy our land,” one woman worried.

But the online frenzy has delighted Vladislav Terziiski, who took the picture of the spectacular Belogradchik rocks and its fortress some five years ago.

“It is so rare that good news from Bulgaria sparks such interest,” he told AFP, welcoming “the wave of reactions, jokes, anecdotes and expressions of national pride.”

As for a possible visit by the man himself?

“I am quite sceptical,” Terziiski said. “But I keep some hope in my heart.”

– ‘Three-day wonder’ –
The Belogradchik fortress awaits its “messiah”, political scientist Dimitar Ganev joked on Bulgarian television.

Almost obscured by the mist on a cold November day when AFP visited, the impressive rocks were indeed waiting… for tourists.

While visitors frequent the site in the warmer spring and summer months, the biggest group on that November day was a three-men camera crew filming for their own project.

Also, few of the 5,500 inhabitants of the little town at the foot of the fortress were getting that excited.

Like the rest of Bulgaria, whose population has been dropping since the end of communism, Belogradchik has lost half of its people since 1991.

Musk “does what he wants, why not come and visit a nice site and a poor region”, said Svetoslav Zahariev, a construction worker in his 50s, who was “disappointed to find the same misery” on his return here after 16 years working abroad.

More than 40 percent of the region’s people live below the poverty line, making it the EU’s poorest, according to Eurostat.

Local officials are pushing concrete government policies to help develop tourism, instead of empty declarations.

“You see how one picture has reached Musk. We can’t do all this alone, we need a government policy (for tourist development of the region),” longtime mayor Boris Nikolov told AFP.

Tourism numbers increased sharply after the Belogradchik Rocks were named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature poll by a Swiss foundation in 2007.

But people left “disappointed by the lack of infrastructure and accommodation”, deputy mayor Rosen Mladenov lamented.

“What is this country that relies on a tweet from Musk to develop its tourism!” he fumed.

And even if the tech billionaire comes, he “would only be a three-day wonder, unless he invests here”, Nikolov said.

So far Musk has remained uncharacteristically silent, ignoring numerous questions on Twitter from the Bulgarian media asking him to confirm or deny a visit.

Should Musk venture into this neglected corner of Bulgaria, he should not risk one of his Tesla cars on its rutted roads, a Sofia newspaper warned. Instead, it said, it was best he come in a rocket.

Musk Kicks Kanye West Off Twitter After Swastika Post

Kanye West and Elon Musk

 

Elon Musk kicked Kanye West off Twitter on Friday “for incitement to violence,” after the rapper posted a picture that appeared to show a swastika interlaced with a Star of David.

The post came hours after an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, in which West sparked outrage by declaring his “love” of Nazis and admiration for Adolf Hitler.

West had also shared a picture of a shirtless Musk getting sprayed with water, captioned: “Let’s always remember this as my final tweet.”

In response, Musk said: “Just clarifying that his account is being suspended for incitement to violence, not an unflattering pic of me.”

READ ALSO: China Police Deploy High-Tech Tools To Crush Protests

Musk, who previously called himself a “free speech absolutist,” has repeatedly said he believes all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter, and sought to remake the social media organization after he took control in October.

In an hours-long appearance on Infowars, the show fronted by Jones, West — now known as Ye — wore a black mask completely covering his face, as he ranted about sin, pornography and the devil.

“I like Hitler,” West said several times.

West hid his face completely under a mask that had neither eye nor mouth slits.

However, Jones addressed him as West as they spoke, Infowars billed the interview as being with West, and at one point Jones took West’s cellphone and posted a tweet on his account that appeared in real-time.

West, who has hinted he is running for US president in 2024, has spoken openly about his struggles with mental illness, but his erratic behavior has continued to raise concerns.

The businessman has seen his commercial relationships crumble after a series of anti-Semitic comments, as the one-time titan of fashion and music appears to have entered a disturbing spiral.

‘I love Nazis’

On Infowars, West drew shocked laughter and even disagreement from far-right host Jones.

“I see good things about Hitler also,” he told Jones.

“This guy… invented highways, invented the very microphone that I used as a musician, you can’t say out loud that this person ever did anything good, and I’m done with that.”

Hitler did not invent either of those things.

“I’m done with the classification, every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.

“I like Hitler.”

Jones, a serial provocateur who was ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for claiming one of America’s deadliest school shootings was a “hoax,” interjected that “the Nazis were thugs and did really bad things.”

West did not back down.

“But they did good things too. We gotta stop dissing the Nazis all the time… I love Nazis,” West said.

Hours after the interview, social media platform Parler, a favorite of conservatives for its hands-off approach to moderation, said a deal for West to buy the outfit was off.

“Parlement Technologies would like to confirm that the company has mutually agreed with Ye to terminate the intent of sale of Parler,” the network said on Twitter.

“This decision was made in the interest of both parties in mid-November.”

In October, German sportswear giant Adidas severed its lucrative tie-up with West after the star made anti-Semitic statements, including threatening to “go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” using a misspelled reference to US military readiness.

Paris fashion house Balenciaga and US clothing retailer Gap also ended ties with West, who appeared at a Paris fashion show wearing a shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter,” a rebuke to the Black Lives Matter racial equality movement.

Fuentes

West appeared on Infowars alongside Nick Fuentes, the same white supremacist with whom West had dinner last week at former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate, in a meeting that provoked outrage.

Thursday’s livestream sparked immediate condemnation from the Republican Jewish Coalition, which dubbed the three men “a disgusting triumvirate of conspiracy theorists, Holocaust deniers, and anti-Semites.”

“Given his praise of Hitler, it can’t be overstated that Kanye West is a vile, repellent bigot who has targeted the Jewish community with threats and Nazi-style defamation,” a statement from the group said.

“Conservatives who have mistakenly indulged Kanye West must make it clear that he is a pariah. Enough is enough.”

Twitter Fate In Doubt As Employees Defy Musk Ultimatum

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

The future of Twitter seemed to hang in the balance Friday after its offices were locked down and key employees announced their departures in defiance of an ultimatum from new owner Elon Musk.

Fears grew that a fresh exodus would threaten the very existence of one of the world’s most influential internet platforms, which serves as a key communication tool for the world’s media, politicians, companies, activists and celebrities.

According to ex-employees and US media, hundreds of employees chose “no” to Musk’s demand that they either be “extremely hardcore” or leave the company.

“So my friends are gone, the vision is murky, there is a storm coming and no financial upside. What would you do?” tweeted Peter Clowes, who refused Musk’s final warning.

Musk, also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has come under fire for radical changes at the California-based firm, which he bought less than a month ago for $44 billion.

He had already fired half of Twitter’s 7,500 staff, scrapped a work-from-home policy and imposed long hours, all while his attempts to overhaul the company faced backlash and delays.

His stumbling attempts to revamp user verification with a controversial subscription service led to a slew of fake accounts and pranks, and prompted major advertisers to step away from the platform.

On Friday, Musk appeared to be pressing on with his plans and reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of comedian Kathy Griffin, which had been taken down after she impersonated him on the site.

Musk did not immediately welcome back former US president Donald Trump, saying the “decision has not yet been made” on the return of the ex-leader.

Trump was banned for inciting last year’s attack on the Capitol by a mob seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 US election.

But hours later, Musk posted a poll to Twitter asking users to vote “yes” or “no” on whether to “Reinstate former President Trump,” though there was no clear indication that he would adhere to the results of the ad hoc survey.

Musk has done similar polls in the past, asking followers last year if he should sell stock in his electric car company Tesla.

– ‘Not super worried’ –

Fevered talk of the site’s imminent demise was driving record-high engagement on Twitter, according to Musk.

In a tweet, the South African-born billionaire said: “Record numbers of users are logging in to see if Twitter is dead, ironically making it more alive than ever!”

Musk added that the “best people are staying, so I’m not super worried.”

Despite Musk’s assurances, entry to Twitter’s offices was temporarily closed until Monday, even with a badge, according to an internal message seen on US media.

In leaked emails reported in The New York Times, Musk asked engineers critical to the site’s functioning to make their way to Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Friday to meet him in person.

Twitter did not respond to AFP requests for comment on the new measure.

In the ultimatum sent Wednesday, Musk had asked staff to follow a link to affirm their commitment to “the new Twitter” by 5:00 pm New York time (2200 GMT) on Thursday.

If they did not do so, they would have lost their jobs, receiving three months of severance pay.

Signs that government regulators were becoming impatient with Musk’s handling of Twitter also grew on Friday, especially over the platform’s ability to moderate content with a severely reduced headcount.

A group of US senators on Thursday said Musk’s plans for the site “undermined the integrity and safety of the platform… despite clear warnings those changes would be abused for fraud, scams, and dangerous impersonation.”

A top regulator for the European Union, meanwhile, said that Musk should be increasing the number of moderators in Europe, not reducing them.

Musk “knows perfectly well what the conditions are for Twitter to continue operating in Europe,” EU commissioner Thierry Breton told French radio.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government was watching developments at Twitter “with growing concern” and reviewing its presence on the platform.

AFP

Twitter Chaos Deepens As Key Executives Quit

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter descended deeper into chaos as key security executives resigned from the platform, drawing a sharp warning from US regulators.

The walkouts came after a turbulent launch of new Twitter features following the Tesla and SpaceX owner’s $44 billion buyout of the influential messaging app.

Musk warned employees Thursday that the site was burning through cash dangerously fast, raising the specter of bankruptcy if the situation was not turned around.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter,” tweeted chief security officer Lea Kissner, who reportedly stepped down with other key privacy or security executives.

In the most extraordinary exit, US media reported that Yoel Roth — the site’s head of trust and safety — stepped down just a day after staunchly defending Musk’s content moderation policy to advertisers.

Late on Thursday, Roth’s Twitter bio identified him as “Former Head of Trust & Safety at @Twitter.”

Media reports had said Robin Wheeler, who held a key role linking Twitter with advertisers and was considered a key Musk ally inside the company, was leaving but late Thursday she tweeted: “I’m still here.”

The site’s update included a launch of the long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allowed users to pay $7.99 per month for a coveted blue tick, as well as a separate gray “official” badge for some high-profile accounts.

But on Wednesday Musk scrapped the new gray label almost immediately, overshadowing the launch of the paid service, which is only available on the mobile app on iPhones and in the United States.

The launch also saw the emergence of a flurry of fake accounts as users used the opportunity to impersonate celebrities and politicians such as NBA star LeBron James or former British prime minister Tony Blair.

‘Deep concern’

The chaos drew a rare warning from the Federal Trade Commission, the US authority overseeing consumer safety that had put Twitter under watch for past security and privacy breaches.

“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” an FTC spokesperson said in a statement.

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” the spokesperson added, referring to past commitments by Twitter to obey US privacy rules.

Violating FTC decisions could cost Twitter millions of dollars in fines.

Musk fired half of the 7,500 employees of the California company a week ago, 10 days after buying the site and becoming its sole owner.

For the first time since the layoffs, the 51-year-old entrepreneur on Thursday addressed his remaining employees and urged them to help the site reach one billion users, according to employee text messages seen by AFP.

Musk also warned that the company was bleeding cash and expressed fear about the effects of the poor economy on his newly bought business.

“You may have noticed I sold a bunch of Tesla stock. The reason I did that is to save Twitter,” he is reported to have said.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives warned that the Twitter episode could have serious repercussions for electric car manufacturer Tesla.

“Brand destruction is our biggest worry with this Twitter circus show. It’s that simple and I can’t ignore it for Tesla stock,” Ives wrote on the site.

Twitter is also crippled by the decision of advertisers to stay away from the platform, concerned about Musk’s plans.

The tycoon announced he was ending work-from-home policies at Twitter, which had been a widespread practice at the San Francisco-based company.

“If you don’t show up at the office, resignation accepted,” he told employees.

Elon Musk Says Twitter May Face Bankruptcy As Key Executives Resign

The Twitter sign is seen at their headquarters on October 28, 2022, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Constanza HEVIA / AFP)

 

Elon Musk says Twitter may face bankruptcy as key security executives resigned from the platform, drawing a sharp warning from US regulators.

The walkouts came a day after the turbulent launch of new features introduced by Tesla and SpaceX owner Musk following his $44 billion buyout of the influential messaging app.

Musk on Thursday warned employees that the site was burning dangerously through cash, raising the specter of bankruptcy if the situation was not turned around.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter,” tweeted chief security officer Lea Kissner, who reportedly stepped down with other key privacy or security executives.

In the most extraordinary exit, US media reported that Yoel Roth, the site’s head of trust and safety stepped down just a day after staunchly defending Musk’s content moderation policy to advertisers.

The convulsions followed the unveiling of the site’s long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allows users to pay $7.99 per month for a coveted blue tick, as well as a separate gray “official” badge for some high-profile accounts.

But the release descended into tumult on Wednesday when Musk scrapped the new gray label almost immediately, overshadowing the launch of the pay service, which is currently only available on the mobile app on iPhones and in the United States.

The launch also saw the emergence of a flurry of fake accounts as users used the opportunity to impersonate celebrities and politicians such as NBA star LeBron James or former British prime minister Tony Blair.

Early media reports also said Robin Wheeler, who held a key role linking Twitter with advertisers and was considered a key Musk ally inside the company, was leaving but late Thursday she tweeted: “I’m still here.”

READ ALSOMusk ‘Kills’ New Twitter Label Hours After Launch

 ‘Deep Concern’

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

The chaos drew a rare warning from the Federal Trade Commission, the US authority that oversees consumer safety which had put Twitter under watch for past security and privacy breaches.

“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” a spokesperson for the FTC said in a statement.

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees,” the spokesperson added, referring to past commitments by Twitter to obey US privacy rules.

Violating FTC decisions could cost Twitter millions of dollars in fines.

The 51-year-old entrepreneur fired half of the 7,500 employees of the California company a week ago, 10 days after buying the site and becoming its sole owner.

For the first time since the layoffs, Musk on Thursday addressed his remaining employees and urged them to help the site reach one billion users, according to employee text messages seen by AFP.

Musk also warned that the company was bleeding cash and expressed fear about the effects of the poor economy on his newly bought business.

“You may have noticed I sold a bunch of Tesla stock. The reason I did that is to save Twitter,” he is reported to have said.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives meanwhile warned that the Twitter episode could have serious repercussions for electric car manufacturer Tesla.

“Brand destruction is our biggest worry with this Twitter circus show. It’s that simple and I can’t ignore it for Tesla stock,” Ives wrote on the site.

Twitter is also crippled by the decision of advertisers to stay away from the platform, concerned about Musk’s plans.

The tycoon announced he was ending work-from-home policies at Twitter, which had been a widespread practice at the San Francisco-based company.

“If you don’t show up at the office, resignation accepted,” he told employees.

AFP

Twitter Will Do Lots Of Dumb Things In Coming Months – Elon Musk

In this file illustration photo taken on October 04, 2022, a phone screen displays a photo of Elon Musk with the Twitter logo shown in the background in Washington, DC. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) 

 

New Twitter owner Elon Musk has warned that the microblogging platform “will do lots of dumb things in coming months”.

Musk said this on Wednesday after Twitter stopped a new verification tool hours after its introduction. The social media platform had unveiled its long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allows users to pay $8 per month for the blue tick verification, as well as a separate grey “official” badge for some high-profile accounts.

However, the new grey label was almost immediately scrapped, overshadowing the launch of Twitter Blue, which is currently only available on the mobile app on iPhones and in the United States.

“I just killed it,” Musk tweeted, referring to the new “official” badge hours after it was added to government accounts, big companies, and major media outlets.

“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in the coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t,” the world’s richest man added.

READ ALSOMusk ‘Kills’ New Twitter Label Hours After Launch

The “official” badge was only going to be offered to “government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers, and some public figures”.

“A lot of folks have asked about how you’ll be able to distinguish between @TwitterBlue subscribers with blue checkmarks and accounts that are verified as official, which is why we’re introducing the ‘Official’ label to select accounts when we launch,” Twitter’s Early-Stage Products Executive Esther Crawford said before the badge was launched.

“Not all previously verified accounts will get the ‘Official’ label and the label is not available for purchase. Accounts that will receive it include government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers, and some public figures.

“The new Twitter Blue does not include ID verification – it’s an opt-in, paid subscription that offers a blue checkmark and access to select features.

“We’ll continue to experiment with ways to differentiate between account types,” Crawford added.

No Plan To Ban Twitter Or Any Social Media Platform, Says FG

The Nigerian government banned Twitter last year but later rescinded the move.

 

The Federal Government says it has no plan to ban any social media platform but will not watch any medium throw the country into chaos.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said this on Thursday while presenting the scorecard of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government from 2015 to 2022. At the press conference in Abuja, the minister noted that the Federal Government is monitoring Twitter under the new ownership of Elon Musk.

READ ALSO: Musk ‘Kills’ New Twitter Label Hours After Launch

“Permit me to quickly address an issue that has elicited a lot of inquiries from the media in recent times. Many of your colleagues have called to ask us what will become of our agreement with Twitter in view of the change in its ownership,” the minister explained.

“Many have asked for our reaction following reports that there has been a spike in fake news, disinformation, and hate speech since the micro-blogging site changed ownership.

“Many have even asked us if another ban is in the offing. Let me say this: We are closely monitoring the evolving developments at Twitter. It has never been our intention to ban any social media platform or stifle free speech. Not at all. What happened in the case of Twitter is well-known to all.

“Twitter became a platform of choice for those who want to destabilize Nigeria using fake news, disinformation, and hate speech. No nation will allow any social media platform to plunge it into anarchy. Definitely not Nigeria.

“But we have continued to engage positively with the different social media platforms, including Facebook, Google (owners of YouTube), and Twitter. We have no intention of banning any social media platform again. But we will also not sit by and allow any platform whatsoever to throw our nation into crisis.”

Nigeria last year banned Twitter and claimed it was used to spread fake news and hate speech. The move, was, however, rescinded in January after the social media platform agreed to the government’s terms.

Musk ‘Kills’ New Twitter Label Hours After Launch

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 26, 2020 the logo of US social network Twitter is displayed on the screen of a smartphone and a tablet in Toulouse, southern France (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

Twitter launched two new verification tools Wednesday but “killed” one of them hours later in a messy start to owner Elon Musk’s campaign to revamp the influential platform following his $44 billion buyout.

The social media platform unveiled its long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allows users to pay $7.99 per month for a coveted blue tick, as well as a separate gray “official” badge for some high-profile accounts.

But the new gray label was almost immediately scrapped, overshadowing the launch of Twitter Blue, which is currently only available on the mobile app on iPhones and in the United States.

“I just killed it,” Musk tweeted hours after the new tag was added to government accounts, big companies and major media outlets.

“Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works & change what doesn’t,” the world’s richest man added.

The U-turn invited further scrutiny of Musk’s plans for Twitter a week after he laid off thousands of workers and drew a massive drop in spending by advertisers, who are wary of the site’s direction.

The blue tick has been a mark of an account’s authenticity and doubts emerged that public figures or media outlets would pay for it. The official gray tag was seen by observers as a workaround to solve that problem.

The launch of the new official label began Wednesday and was on the accounts of companies such as Apple and BMW, as well as public ones such as the White House and major media outlets.

But only hours later, it was gone for many of them.

Accounts that had received the “official” badge — including Agence France-Presse, BBC News, Pope Francis and Kanye West — saw the mention disappear.

– ‘A lot of work’ –

Esther Crawford, an executive who announced the gray tick on Tuesday, insisted that the official label was still going to be part of the relaunch, but that “we are just focusing on government and commercial entities to begin with.”

“There are no sacred cows in product at Twitter anymore. Elon is willing to try lots of things — many will fail, some will succeed,” she tweeted Wednesday.

“The goal is to find the right mix of successful changes to ensure the long-term health and growth of the business.”

During a panel for advertisers broadcast on Twitter, Musk exercised some damage control, admitting that a lot of work lay ahead to get the site to the place he wished to reach.

“We’ve got a lot to do on the software side. I can’t emphasize that enough,” he said.

Musk took control of Twitter after a drawn-out legal battle in which the mercurial tycoon tried to renege on a deal that many believe he overpaid for.

It emerged on Tuesday that Musk sold $4 billion worth of shares in Tesla to help pay for a transaction in which he took on billions of dollars in debt.

Twitter Blue is seen as one way to overcome the loss in advertisers since Musk took over.

Twitter last week fired half of its 7,500 employees, which Musk said was necessary as the company was losing $4 million a day.

AFP

Elon Musk Sells Nearly $4bn In Tesla Stock –  SEC Filing

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 02, 2022, Elon Musk arrives for the 2022 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

Tesla chief Elon Musk sold nearly $4 billion worth of shares in the electric car company, SEC filings showed Tuesday, more than a week after he closed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.

Musk has been pushing for ways to pay for the massive deal, for which he took on billions of dollars in debt and earlier sold $15.5 billion worth of shares in Tesla.

On Tuesday, documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that he had disposed of more than another 19 million shares, worth in excess of $3.9 billion.

Musk took control of Twitter and fired its top executives in late October, after a drawn-out back-and-forth between the world’s richest person and the influential social media company.

The billionaire initially tried to step back from the deal after his unsolicited offer was accepted in April.

He said in July that he was canceling the contract because he had been misled by Twitter over the number of fake “bot” accounts, allegations rejected by the company.

After Musk sought to terminate the sale, Twitter filed a lawsuit to hold the entrepreneur to the agreement. With a trial looming, he revived his takeover plan.

READ ALSOUS Livid As Basketball Star Griner Is Moved To Russia Penal Colony

Overhaul 

On Friday, Twitter sacked half of its 7,500-strong staff as its new owner launched an overhaul of the company.

Jack Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006 and stepped down as CEO last year, tweeted to apologize for growing the site too quickly, following news of the firings.

Musk has been searching for ways for the social media platform to make money after the buyout, including an idea to charge users $8 a month for verified accounts.

The move would help overcome a potential loss of advertisers, Twitter’s main source of revenue, after many top brands put their ad buys on hold, uneasy about Musk’s well-known disdain for content controls.

Musk’s actions and statements since taking over the reins of Twitter have prompted concern, including warnings from the United Nations.

UN rights chief Volker Turk has urged Musk to make respect for human rights a priority for the social network.

Musk has insisted that content moderation remains a priority for Twitter and that he would create a council dedicated to the task.

Musk’s decision to pull Twitter off the stock market has allowed him to make major changes quickly, but it also took the company more heavily into debt, a risky choice for a money-losing business.

AFP

Twitter To Suspend Handles Engaging In Impersonation

In this illustration file photo taken on April 26, 2022 a phone screen displays the Twitter logo on a Twitter page background, in Washington, DC. – Elon Musk said on May 13, 2022 he was putting a temporary halt on his much-anticipated deal to buy Twitter, sending shares in the social media giant plunging. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP)

 

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk on Sunday said handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be suspended.

Musk also targeted those impersonating others on the platform, as several users who changed their username to variations of “Elon Musk” appeared to have their accounts suspended.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk tweeted, adding that pseudonyms were allowed as long as users do not “engage in malicious deception.”

Musk also defended Sunday his much-criticised launch of a paid subscription service to verify user accounts.

“Widespread verification will democratize journalism & empower the voice of the people,” he tweeted, responding to concerns from associations, advertisers, and even the United Nations, who fear a surge of hate speech and misinformation on the network.

Under the new plan, users paying $8 per month for the platform’s subscription service, Twitter Blue, would receive the network’s famous blue checkmark that signals a verified account.

READ ALSO: Twitter Sacks Half Of Its Staff As Musk Launches Overhaul

That feature is currently offered only to eligible accounts, such as public figures, an approach Musk described as a “lords & peasants system.”

On iPhones, the social network’s app already mentions the new service but its launch has been postponed to Wednesday, the day after the US midterm elections, according to the New York Times.

“Blue checkmark: Power to the people. Your account will get a blue checkmark, just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow,” Twitter detailed in the app update’s description.

“Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission,” Musk tweeted Sunday.

But many observers fear the eruption of fake accounts.

Platform user Kyle Grantham said Musk’s new policy would “let anyone (who) gives me money appear to be a legitimate source of news, rather than just ensuring all legitimate sources of news are confirmed to be who they say they are.”

AFP

Elon Musk Laments ‘Massive Drop’ In Twitter’s Revenue

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

New Twitter owner Elon Musk has cried out over the massive drop in the microblogging site’s revenue which he claimed is caused by activist groups pressuring advertisers.

He said this is happening even though nothing has changed with content moderation on the platform since his takeover.

“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,” Musk tweeted on Friday.

He became Twitter’s sole director after finalizing his $44 billion purchase of the social media site and dissolving its corporate board earlier in the week.

After the purchase, for which Musk has said he overpaid, the billionaire has been looking for ways for Twitter to make money – and fast.

READ ALSO: Banned Twitter Accounts To Be Restored – Musk

His most recent is the proposal to charge $8 a month to anyone on Twitter who would receive a blue “verified” badge, assuring the public that the account is authentic.

Musk has said he wants to increase Twitter’s revenue from $5 billion last year to more than $26 billion in 2028.

General Mills and Volkswagen are some of the top global companies that suspended their advertising on the platform on Thursday as pressure builds on Musk to turn his platform into a successful business.

The first major advertiser to suspend advertising following the takeover was US auto giant General Motors.

Officials and civil rights groups have expressed worry that Musk will open the site to uncontrolled hate speech and misinformation as well as reinstate banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump.

Twitter’s major revenue comes from advertisers and Musk has tried to calm the nerves by reassuring that the site would not become a “free-for-all hellscape”.

Twitter Says Layoffs To Begin Friday Via Email

Elon Musk and a Twitter illustration

 

Twitter said it will start laying off employees on Friday, as the new billionaire owner Elon Musk moves quickly after his big takeover to make the messaging platform financially sound.

A company-wide email seen by AFP says Twitter employees will receive word via email at the start of business Friday, California time, as to what their fate is.

It does not give a number but the Washington Post and New York Times reported that about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees will be let go.

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“In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global work force,” the email said.

Twitter employees have been bracing for this kind of bad news since Musk completed his mammoth $44 billion acquisition late last week and quickly set about dissolving its board and firing its chief executive and top managers.

A workplace and employee review and other projects ordered by Musk were reportedly so exhaustive and grueling that some engineers slept at Twitter headquarters over the weekend.

The email sent Thursday told workers to go home and not report for work on Friday.

“Our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended,” the email said. Those on the way to the office should turn around and return home.”

The email acknowledged that Twitter is going through “an incredibly challenging experience.”

“We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward,” it added.

Saddled with the purchase of Twitter, for which Musk has said he overpaid, the tycoon is looking for ways for Twitter to make money – and fast.

His most recent idea was to charge $8 a month to anyone on Twitter who would receive a blue “verified” badge assuring the public that the account is authentic.

A news report this week said Musk wanted to charge $20 a month but faced a backlash, including from bestselling novelist Stephen King, who tweeted: “$20 a month to keep my blue check?” It was followed by an expletive.

Musk responded on Twitter, seemingly bargaining with King: “we need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”

Musk has said he wants to increase Twitter’s revenue from $5 billion last year to more than $26 billion in 2028.

Top global companies, including General Mills and Volkswagen, suspended their advertising on Twitter on Thursday as pressure builds on Musk to turn his platform into a successful business.

US auto giant General Motors last week was the first major advertiser to suspend advertising following the takeover.

Officials and civil rights groups have expressed worry that Musk will open the site to uncontrolled hate speech and misinformation as well as reinstate banned accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump.

Advertisers are Twitter’s main source of revenue and Musk has tried to calm the nerves by reassuring that the site would not become a “free-for-all hellscape”.