None of this is new, but it’s worth mentioning again: Elon Musk is profoundly bad at his job. That job being the CEO of Twitter. He paid $44 billion for it, which was billions of dollars more than it was worth. He decided that he did not want to do any vetting before he signed a contract, which was basically like agreeing to pay twice the list price on a house and bypass the inspection. Once he realized the social media platform wasn’t worth what he paid for it, he tried to back out of the deal until he realized that he couldn’t. So he sold a lot of Tesla stock and took out some loans to pay for it, the yearly interest of which is more than what Twitter actually earns in profit.
To save face, Musk vowed to make the platform profitable by firing more than 75 percent of the staff in a very publicly nasty way. Many who weren’t fired eventually quit because Elon Musk is a terrible person to work for. Twitter began to have immediate problems with glitches and other technical issues, culminating when Ron DeSantis decided to announce his Presidential run on Twitter and it crashed under very little weight.
Musk also fired most of the people responsible for moderating the platform. He allowed hundreds of accounts that had been banned from the platform to return. Hate speech, pornography, and misinformation began to flood the site. After a number of embarrassing setbacks, Musk finally launched his Twitter Blue program, which gives those who spread hate speech, pornography, and misinformation an algorithmic advantage over other users. In other words, not only does hate speech, pornography, and misinformation proliferate on the site, Musk gives it priority. As a result, he’s lost two Trust and Safety heads.
Musk has essentially handed the site over to the ultra-right-wing. Tucker Carlson plans to stream his new show from there, and Musk signed a contract partnering with The Daily Wire. Musk not only platforms but amplifies tweets from white supremacists and transphobes.
Unsurprisingly, according to internal forecasts (via the NYTimes), Twitter ad sales have plunged 59 percent from a year ago and are unlikely to improve. Fidelity, the mutual funds giant, now values the company at $15 billion, nearly two-thirds less than what Musk paid for it.
Here’s how Musk has tried to combat the loss of advertisers, according to the NYTimes:
Mr. Musk has promoted new tools, known as adjacency controls, so advertisers can keep their ads away from tweets containing specific keywords or posts by certain users. Some advertisers are using the tools to keep their content away from Mr. Musk’s tweets, four people familiar with the situation said.
Linda Yaccarino will take over as the new CEO next week. What is the over/under on whether she makes it until September?
(Pajiba uses images of Lee Pace in the header in lieu of Elon Musk photos for aesthetic reasons, with apologies to Lee Pace, who really does not deserve this.)