Twitter launched Elon Musk’s $8 per month subscription and the results were the antithesis of what the blue check mark’s purpose was–verification. The effect was ruinous, so much that the new CEO pulled it back, putting to bed the work of rushed developers who had to meet his deadline or get fired.
For now, Twitter said it is adding an “official” button to some of the accounts with blue check marks, “to combat impersonation.” This button, however, can be seen as having the same function for verification of that blue check mark sans before it was made available to everyone for a fee.
And, apparently, it’s the mainstream media’s fault.
But behind the scenes, Musk is also stirring up the platform’s pot, hoping to create a perfect recipe for a revenue maximization with no clear and well-communicated guide. To start, he was reportedly asking employees to a meeting with one-hour notice, rumored to be warning them that if they don’t show up, their resignations will be accepted instead.
Earlier on, Twitter laid off around 3,700 employees in one of the tech world’s largest job cuts.
On the subject of firing, Twitter’s Head of Sales Robin Wheeler, who was just with Musk in a Twitter Space conference with advertisers, reportedly resigned. Later on, it was clarified that the new “chief Twit” asked her to stay.
However, Twitter’s chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, chief information security officer Lea Kissner, and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty have all resigned according to The Verge sources.
Kissner confirmed her departure in a tweet, saying she’s “proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and the work we’ve done.”
Further, an attorney on Twitter’s privacy team wrote in a note sent to Slack and available to all staff, relaying that Musk “has shown that his only priority with Twitter users is how to monetize them.”
“I do not believe he cares about the human rights activists, the dissidents, our users in un-monetizable regions, and all the other users who have made Twitter the global town square you have all spent so long building, and we all love,” the message, for which The Verge secured a copy, read.
A company lawyer is also reportedly advising employees to seek whistleblower protection “if [they] feel uncomfortable about anything [they’re] being asked to do.”
More on the note, the lawyer said they have heard Twitter’s current head of Legal, Alex Spiro, saying, “Elon is willing to take on a huge amount of risk in relation to his company and its users, because ‘Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC.’”
In May, the FTC reached an agreement with Twitter after the firm was discovered to be collecting sensitive user information to target adverts. The lawyer’s note to staff also said that if Twitter fails to comply with that agreement, the FTC can levy damages in the billions of dollars.
Musk belied these reports about the FTC consent order in an email to employees also obtained by The Verge on Thursday evening.
“I cannot emphasize enough that Twitter will do whatever it takes to adhere to both the letter and spirit of the FTC consent decree,” he wrote. “Anything you read to the contrary is absolutely false. The same goes for any other government regulatory matters where Twitter operates.”
The Verge said it reached out to Musk for comment but Twitter no longer has a communications department.
The billionaire is ramping up revenue streams for Twitter after his acquisition of the platform, for which he has said more than once that he overpaid. Most recently, Musk had to sell 19.5 million Tesla shares over the three market days, generating cumulative gross proceeds of $3.9 billion.
In financing the $44-billion takeover, Musk placed slightly more than $27 billion of his own cash in the acquisition.
Around $5.2 billion comes from bank loans including from Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Japanese banks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Mizuho, Barclays and the French banks Societe Generale and BNP Paribas. Morgan Stanley alone has contributed $3.5 billion.
These loans are guaranteed by Twitter, and it is the firm, not Musk himself, which will carry the financial burden to pay them back.
But the other part of the financing involves $5.2 billion from investment organizations and other significant entities, including $1 billion from Larry Ellison, co-founder of software company Oracle.
Other members of this consortium include foreign investors like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, Chinese native-run Binance Holdings Ltd., and Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. The presence of these non-American investors is causing a stir in the White House for fear of foreign intervention and surveillance.
Information for this briefing was found via The Verge and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.