Twitter by storm since Elon Musk bought it
Leaking advertisers, massive layoffs, rapid resignations, partying with new features, suspended journalist accounts: since it took over at the end of October, the social network Twitter has been moving in the middle of the storm Elon Musk.
– “The bird is free” –
On October 27, 2022, controversial billionaire Elon Musk announced the purchase of Twitter for $44 billion, after a saga that lasted more than six months. “The bird is free,” he tweeted, referring to the network’s logo.
“Twitter is now in good hands,” hailed former President Donald Trump, who was banned from the platform after the attack on the Capitol in early 2021.
Conversely, associations fear that Elon Musk will open the floodgates to misinformation and hate speech.
The European Union warned on the 28th that Twitter must respect its new digital regulations, which oblige major platforms to moderate their content.
Elon Musk is trying to provide reassurance by promising an upcoming “content moderation council”.
– Advertisers procrastinate –
As a result of the acquisition, General Motors temporarily stopped paying for ads on Twitter, becoming the first major advertiser to question its presence on the network, which generates 90% of its revenue from advertising.
Other companies followed, such as the American giants General Mills (Cheerios and Häagen-Dazs) and Mondelez international (Oreo cookies) or even Volkswagen and Audi.
– Eight dollars to prove his account –
On November 1, Elon Musk announced the upcoming launch of an eight-dollar monthly subscription for users who want to certify their account as real and be less exposed to advertising.
Account certification used to be free and only accessible to certain profiles, such as governments, companies, media, political, cultural or sports personalities, etc.
– Flow of layoffs –
On the 4th, Twitter began a wave of layoffs, affecting about 50% of its 7,500 employees worldwide.
“Unfortunately, there is no other choice when the company is losing more than four million dollars a day,” Elon Musk defended.
– Cacophony around Twitter Blue –
On the 9th, a great cacophony surrounded the iPhone launch of the new Twitter Blue, the paid subscription to authenticate your account.
Within 48 hours, multiple accounts were impersonating celebrities or companies, from basketball player LeBron James to Nintendo. These usurpations led Twitter to suspend Twitter Blue on the 11th.
– Warning from US authorities –
On the 10th, the US Competition Agency (FTC) issued an extraordinary warning: “We are following recent developments on Twitter with great concern. No CEO or company is above the law.”
The FTC points out that Twitter risks significant fines in the event of violations of data security and privacy rules. However, many employees aware of these regulations have left Twitter.
– Ultimatum and cascading departure –
On the 16th, the billionaire gave an ultimatum to his employees who survived the first wave of layoffs. They must promise before the next day to “work long hours at high intensity”, otherwise they will be fired.
According to some American media, hundreds of them are choosing to leave.
– Trump’s account restored –
After a subscriber survey, Elon Musk decided on the 19th to lift the suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
In the process, he announced the mass return of banned accounts – if they did not break the law – as well as the end of the fight against Covid disinformation.
The EU warned him on the 30th and called on him to fight disinformation.
– Kanye West suspended –
On December 2, Twitter suspended the account of American rapper Kanye West for “inciting violence”, exposing the limits of the absolute freedom of expression advocated by Elon Musk.
That same day, French President Emmanuel Macron, during a state visit to the United States, said he had a “clear and sincere discussion”, particularly on “content moderation”, with Elon Musk in New Orleans.
– Paid subscription, continued –
After several tests, the billionaire launched on the 12th a new paid subscription formula on Twitter, including account verification.
– Suspension of journalists’ accounts –
Twitter suspended the accounts of several journalists covering the social network and its new owner on the 15th. Some of them tweeted a day before Twitter’s decision to suspend the account that automatically reported the routes of Elon Musk’s private jet.
The EU immediately threatened the latter with “sanctions”. “We have a problem with Twitter,” Berlin said.
On the 17th, some of the suspended accounts were reinstated. “It’s good news that the journalists have been returned”, a UN official reacted, but “serious concerns remain”.