Elon Musk entered Twitter with a sink, was he foreshadowing the future of the company? Read on!
Elon Musk has always had a love-hate relationship with Twitter. He loves that he gets an audience for his dad jokes on the platform; he hates that few people laugh at them.
Musk is the “it girl” from every American high school movie. He is Regina George from Mean Girls; he has all the power, and he has a burn book that he has brought to Twitter.
If you’ve browsed the internet at all in these past few weeks, you are likely caught up on all the Twitter drama unfolding right now. It all started when the Tesla CEO bought Twitter for over US$40 billion. Actually, it started much earlier when he was considering purchasing the company and going back and forth on his plans.
After taking over the company, Musk said he didn’t like how the social media platform functioned. According to him, it placed way too much emphasis on content moderation and user safety (the ethics team was among the first to go), which was unnecessary. Thus began his reign, starting with massive layoffs and court cases as fired employees sued Musk for not adhering to labor laws.
So, what is Twitter under Musk shaping up to be?
Layoffs, pleas and utter confusion
When Musk laid off most of its team overnight, the internet went into a frenzy. The company sent out emails to most employees saying that Twitter was downsizing and their jobs were affected. Many others were laid off in such a highly humiliating fashion that their laptop screens just went blank. Overall, nearly half the total strength of Twitter was laid off, with their termination effective immediately. Many of them took to LinkedIn to seek jobs, while some have filed a case against Musk for laying them off without notice. Legally, he needed to give them a warning of at least sixty days.
What’s interesting is that Musk talked about how Twitter had been burning cash to the tune of US$4 million per day, focusing on stuff like privacy and content moderation. So, he had to let go of the employees. However, not even a week after firing them, reports affirmed that he was asking many of them to return! (Does Musk know how to put up a show or what?)
An US$8 fee for blue tick verification
Besides downsizing, another goal of his for the company is to charge people to become verified users. Currently, many celebrities and companies have the coveted blue tick. By charging a monthly US$7.99 fee for this tick, Musk claims that he wants to get rid of a “lords and peasants” system on Twitter and take a stand for free speech.
However, this is likely to have the opposite effect. Only people with money to spend freely will opt for the monthly verification, thus widening the lords and peasants divide. Plus, it might give political parties more power to spread propaganda and figuratively buy votes.
Bye bye, impersonators…and Amber Heard
Soon after he took over as Twitter’s CEO, many impersonator accounts of Musk sprung up on the platform. In fact, Musk’s own account was considered a bot at one point! To address that, Musk decided to get rid of all impersonator accounts. He tweeted, “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”
While he was at it, he probably thought, why not get back at an ex, too? Browse Twitter, and you will find that Amber Heard’s account has disappeared. Is Musk the kind of ex who would buy a company for petty revenge, or did Heard opt out of more former relationship drama? There is no way to tell for sure.
Get YouTubers on board
To get traction on the social media site, Musk decided to lure content creators from YouTube with the promise of more money. However, where will that money come from if people start leaving the site? After all, advertisers, like Carlsberg and United Airlines, have already started pulling back, with many others following suit. They worried that the lack of content moderation would lead the platform astray. And how will it compete with giants in the field, such as TikTok and Instagram?
Twitter is not the only digital giant laying off employees right now. Companies like Microsoft, Netflix, Apple and Meta are also engaging in mass layoffs as they bear the brunt of an impending recession. However, it is the way Musk went about restructuring the company that has people shocked. According to Twitter’s Vice-President for Europe, Middle-East and Africa, Bruce Daisley, “[Musk] doesn’t know what he’s doing.” He, among others, feels that Twitter has taken an undemocratic turn that might lead to the social media giant’s downfall.
Twitter is a chaotic place to be right now. Moreover, there are no clear signs of where the platform is headed: will it become a mass-driven victory or a space for misinformation and biased views?
Besides, these layoffs might signal worse things to come in the overall economy.
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