In the middle of a crisis, can Twitter disappear because of Elon Musk?

Most of the company’s employees have abandoned ship in the face of Elon Musk’s chaotic management. But it will be a long time before the company disappears.

#RIPTwitter. #TwitterDown. So many keywords were among the most shared on Twitter on November 18, following a wave of walkouts by Twitter employees rejecting Elon Musk’s ultimatum. The new owner of the platform sent an email to his teams (half of whom have since been fired) asking them to fully comply with his strategy or leave.

Within hours, dozens of testimonials from engineers or design specialists who preferred to leave the company poured in on Twitter. What caused panic among Internet users.

No massive failure

According to data collected by Tech&Co using the Visibrain tool, more than 650,000 tweets used the keyword #RIPTwitter. With the increasing use of terms related to platforms likely to replace Twitter (more or less approximately), such as Mastodon or the almost forgotten Tumblr.

Usage statistics for the keywords #RIPTwitter, #TwitterDown, Mastodon and Tumblr
Usage statistics for keywords #RIPTwitter, #TwitterDown, Mastodon and Tumblr © Visibrain

As many Internet users have pointed out, such a large number of departures poses a great risk to the proper technical functioning of the social network. Leakage of the most qualified engineers can make the task difficult in the event of a general breakdown. Despite the popularity of the #TwitterDown (#PanneTwitter) keyword, the social network appeared to be functioning properly on November 18.

Many testimonials are based on the highest number of failures shown by the collaborative site Downdetector. A platform that relies on the statements of Internet users to alert potential technical difficulties online. But as shown by so many comments, a significant part of the difficulties reported are actually related to criticism of the management of Elon Musk, and not to real technical problems.

Musk, first lost at the end of Twitter

But could Twitter just shut up shop, while the company’s offices are temporarily inaccessible? Such a scenario, the most extreme, remains unlikely. After signing on and then pulling out of the deal, Elon Musk was forced to buy Twitter for $44 billion, $27 billion of which was financed out of his own pocket.

“Disconnecting” Twitter is tantamount to drawing a line under this enormous amount, while putting itself at risk against the banks it is involved in this operation for 13 billion dollars. Finally, the loss of credibility could endanger its other activities, starting with the Tesla and SpaceX companies. As pointed out by wall street journal on November 11, Elon Musk will be the main loser of Twitter’s bankruptcy.

While the risk of a sudden, intentional black screen appears low, Twitter faces many systemic risks, which could grow in the coming days. As a reminder The Atlantic By the end of October, a massive and uncontrolled talent drain could, at least temporarily, put Twitter in a more precarious position.

Among the main scenarios mentioned, the repeated breakdowns that cannot be solved by the remaining employees, the legal pressure in the face of the absence of legal services or moderation, or even the hacking facilitated by the lack of cybersecurity specialists.

All in the background of financial difficulties due to the flight of advertisers, after the chaotic launch of the paid certification function, Elon Musk decided against the advice of part of the platform teams.

Faced with this dangerous situation, Elon Musk wants to present himself as calm, alternating schoolboy jokes and funny winks. Ensuring that Twitter forwards has never been used like this and the “best” employee chose to stay with him. It was up to him to convince them not to leave during the storm.

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