Business

Could the arrival of Elon Musk lead to social network harm?

At least we will say that Elon Musk’s first weeks at the helm of Twitter had been eventful, even chaotic. If Tesla’s boss, who proposed the social network for 44 billion {dollars}, by no means hid his need to make radical adjustments for the agency with the blue chicken, it took solely twenty days to see the first response.

And for good cause, with each day losses of greater than $4 million, the California firm is on the verge of chapter. Less than ten days after his arrival, Elon Musk started layoffs, slicing half of Twitter’s 7,500 workers. If some had been thanked, others—senior executives at the agency who disagreed with the new boss—introduced their resignations. This is the case for social network safety chief Leah Kisner, buyer belief chief Yoel Roth, privateness chief Damien Kieran and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty.

Less restraint, extra hatred

Of better concern than layoffs are associated positions. If he cuts inside his personal workforce, the multi-billionaire additionally terminates the contracts of hundreds of subcontractors who work on content material moderation on Twitter. A measure that digital technique advisor Virginie Klave fears is the rise of uncensored messages: “There is an enormous threat of spreading hate messages. It is hoped that some of them won’t be deleted or solely delayed,” he defined, including that moderation is one of the recurring criticisms in opposition to the social network. But the new boss needed to guarantee, “Twitter’s dedication to content material moderation will stay unchanged”.

But at a time when moderation is one of the priorities of digital, Elon Musk’s undertaking is out of place, warns Emmanuel Patrick, founder of the social media lab: “He is an assumed libertarian, he repeated a number of occasions that he needed to. Twitter is a spot for full freedom of expression. . But it’s at odds with the struggle in opposition to on-line hate”, speculates the knowledgeable, who fears that Twitter won’t turn into “another social network with a focus of far-right and faux information”. And it have to be stated that Elon Musk’s initiatives don’t have a tendency to reassure customers and traders. This is the case of “Twitter Blue”, a brand new subscription for eight {dollars} monthly that enables you to confirm your account regardless of your notoriety. The system – launched in early November and since quickly suspended – permits anybody to apply for certification, beforehand reserved for public figures, media and types.

But the provide shortly generated controversy and spawned hundreds of faux accounts. Among these impersonators are figures like George W. Bush, Joe Biden, LeBron James and even Elon Musk. The state of affairs turned much more alarming when a verified account, figuring out pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly, posted a tweet saying that its “insulin is now free”. The message, which instantly went viral, was eliminated simply two hours later, inflicting the agency’s shares to tumble, but additionally to the dismay of sufferers. “It’s symbolic, however the blue badge, when it was created at the starting of Twitter, was given to verified media and journalists. They needed to make Twitter an editorial platform. Elon Musk does the reverse. He considers that the voice of the media needs to be at the identical degree as the residents, however it may be problematic with faux information,” Emmanuel Patri decrypts.

Lack of technique

The billionaire’s creativeness didn’t cease there. On November 9, it launched an “official” badge to distinguish paid licensed accounts – the well-known “Twitter Blue” – from public curiosity accounts, comparable to authorities, media and accounts of main manufacturers and best-known personalities. In different phrases, a badge supposed to authenticate these accounts…precisely the identical operate as the earlier blue badge. A characteristic that disappeared in the early afternoon, earlier than reappearing a couple of hours later. “Please do not forget that Twitter goes to do quite a bit of silly issues in the coming months. We’ll maintain what works and alter what does not,” merely responded the billionaire.

A spherical journey that displays an entire lack of technique, in accordance to two of our specialists: “It’s chaotic. He throws issues on the fly, he has completely no concept what he is doing,” explains Emmanuel Patri. For Virginie Clave, Elon Musk is “a compulsive consumer of Twitter, a fan of the social network who thinks it makes him an knowledgeable”. explains the advisor, who likens the billionaire to “a loopy canine ​​with a brand new toy.”

These hasty initiatives have additionally alerted the US Competition Agency (Federal Trade Commission – FTC): “We are following latest developments on Twitter with nice concern. No CEO or firm is above the regulation,” a spokesperson stated in a uncommon warning, threatening the platform with hefty fines if it fails to adjust to information privateness guidelines. Could American authorities go as far as to shut down the social network? “It may occur, however Elon Musk’s The strain needs to be sufficient to adjust to the guidelines. They won’t let go,” stated Emmanuel Patri.

Advertisers and customers flee

Most frightened are most likely the advertisers. Some, comparable to Chipotle, General Motors, Volkswagen, and even United Airlines, have paused their promoting campaigns. Others, comparable to promoting firms, comparable to Omnicom – which owns Apple, PepsiCo or McDonald’s – or the Interpublic Group (Coca-Cola, Unilever, American Express, Nintendo or Spotify) or the French group Havas have suggested their purchasers to quickly cease investing. Twitter. “Today, advertisers now not need to be related to anxiety-provoking or problematic content material, they concern unhealthy buzz”, analyzes Virgin Clave. The state of affairs is alarming, as the platform earns about 90% of its income from promoting. “Financial collapse is the largest threat for Twitter proper now,” stated Emmanuel Patri.

After advertisers, customers could determine to depart Twitter and go to one other social network, comparable to LinkedIn or Mastodon, the Social Media Lab founder defined. According to estimates by Bot Sentinel, a platform that research uncommon habits on Twitter, greater than 875,000 customers deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1.

“What made it profitable was its neighborhood of journalists, politicians, geeks, bigwigs. If this neighborhood loses confidence in the instrument, if the service deteriorates or the DNA of the network disappears, issues will likely be very tough to catch up”, analyzed Emmanuel Patri. For the knowledgeable, the new CEO should reassure customers: “If he makes emotional choices take away, however Twitter could turn into a minor and Elon Musk himself could determine to shut the agency”. For Virginia Clave, whether it is too early to predict Twitter’s future, the state of affairs is worrying. “Elon Musk ordered her to signal his loss of life warrant. What is true? It is feasible”.

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