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Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, tried to make sure on Thursday, as advertisers fled the platform and resignations piled up within the social network, which was the subject of a rare warning from the competition agency. of America.
Resignations, warnings from the authorities and leaks of advertisers: Elon Musk’s Twitter took water from all sides Thursday, November 10, despite his efforts to assure the remaining employees that the future is ” exciting”.
“The future is so exciting, I can’t wait to make it happen with you,” the new boss said Thursday at the start of an internal meeting, for employees who were not dismissed during the massive layoffs he had a week ago.
But the threat of bankruptcy emerged as he admitted he did not know how “hungry for profit” the business would be next year. “We may be in a cash flow deficit of several billion,” he said, according to messages between employees seen by AFP. “If there is going to be a long and deep recession, we have to survive,” he continued.
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 must confirm the rules of an agreement with the agency on data security and confidentiality.
The agreement in question, which was revised this year, “gives us new tools to ensure that it is respected, and we are ready to use them”, the spokesperson added, in reference to the large fines that the FTC could impose .
However, many employees aware of these regulations no longer exist on Twitter. The boss of Tesla and SpaceX laid off half of the company’s 7,500 employees in California last week, ten days after buying it and becoming its sole master on the board.
Hundreds of people have 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 directors also decided to step aside according to American media, including Yoel Roth, the site’s security manager and Robin Wheeler, an executive in charge of customer solutions. So far, both Twitter and its controversial new owner have publicly defended themselves.
“Amen,” Robin Wheeler opened several times on Wednesday, when Elon Musk detailed his vision for the “digital public square” at an online conference for advertisers. Yoel Roth intervened on several occasions to explain the changes or to guarantee that the fight against false information remained an “absolute priority”.
But the power of the libertarian entrepreneur in the highly influential social network worries many authorities, advertisers, users and associations for the defense of minorities.
He tried to provide reassurance, noting that content moderation, a safeguard against abuse on the platform, has not changed at the moment. But his rash decisions and Twitter rants sparked daily controversy for two weeks.
Some advertisers have suspended spending on the Twitter network, whose business model is 90% dependent on advertising. Insider Intelligence lowered its forecast for Twitter’s advertising revenue by 39% in 2023 and 2024.
Elon Musk wants to diversify revenue sources, from subscriptions for users to content creation tools for influencers. But Wednesday’s sensational launch of Twitter Blue, the new $8-a-month formula for verifying one’s account, has resulted in conflicting official statements and an explosion of fake profiles.
“Please remember that Twitter will be doing a lot of crazy things in the coming months. We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t,” the multi-billionaire tweeted.
At the beginning of the week, he sold nearly $4 billion worth of shares in his flagship Tesla. “I did it to save Twitter,” he told employees Thursday. He claimed that the use of Twitter “continues to grow”, adding, “One thing is for sure: it’s not boring.”