Musk has a need for speed and put it in Peril
Elon Musk owns Twitter: The Case for a Crowd-Induced Takeover of the Social Media Platform Twitter (Extended Abstract)
The lawyers for Musk are trying to remove his agreement to buy the company. The reason to end the deal was the multimillion dollar payment made to Zatko, which they said was a violation of the merger agreement.
While Musk has said that he would like to ban advertising for revenue at the social media site, he isn’t there yet. A lot of people are unable to purchase the company’s premium Blue subscription service because it was temporarily suspended. Musk has said that Twitter is burning through around $4 million a day, and he’s also saddled it with hefty interest payments on the debt he used to purchase it in the first place. Twitter needs money if it wants to keep going — but it seems that advertisers are increasingly hesitant to provide it.
Musk has said in the past that he would allow legal speech on his micro-blogging site. Content rules vary across the world. In Europe, the new Digital Services Act imposes high moderation standards. Musk in May said he is “exactly aligned” with the new law.
When Elon Musk took over Twitter last week, he was in a somewhat similar situation to Jobs in 1998. The second-tier social network has lost money and is stuck with a small audience. Musk said that he regarded the world’s Town Hall on the social media site. He was going to allow more free speech on the platform. Musk had to pay off his bank loans after financing a portion of his takeover. Musk immediately began making moves to change Twitter’s fortunes, literally and culturally.
After six months of wrangling, it’s all over: Elon Musk owns Twitter. How did that happen? We will show you the whole story of how it all went down, and how the billionaire is in control of the company. Several former execs were abruptly escorted out of the building while workers waited for the first updates from their new boss.
Timing Twitter: The Rise of Peter Zatko, the CEO of Twitter, and his 2023-2020 Expulsion from the White House
This is a huge story with a lot of fast-moving parts to it. The story will probably last for the next few months or even longer. We thought we would put together a guide for you, our readers, that can be updated at a moment’s notice. Because, like Elon, we ❤️ you.
A few days later, Twitter responded the way it always does: your argument is invalid, Twitter hasn’t breached its side of the deal, and so you can’t either.
Musk wanted a trial to start in February of 2023. Twitter wanted it to start as soon as possible. The trial will start on October 17th, and last for five days, according to the Chancellor. It is assumed that the two sides don’t settle, and that remains anyone’s guess.
Peter “Mudge” Zatko was fired in early 2022 from his position as Twitter’s head of security. He filed a report in July accusing the company of failing to properly estimate the number of bot on its platform, lying to regulators and hiding negligent security practices. Zatko is a long-tenured and well-respected voice in the hacker and security community, and his allegations are sure to have a huge impact in and out of Twitter. Congress has already stated it is looking into Zatko’s claims.
The subpoenas ahead of the trial have become a who’s who of the tech industry, including Dorsey, Larry Ellison, Marc Andreessen, Tesla, Keith Rabois, and many others. With both his tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of the company and his attempts to convince Musk to buy it, it’s likely that he has plenty of pertinent information.
A 162-page legal file is worth a read if you are interested in how bot measurement procedures work. But this case has been filled with abnormally spicy legal fighting, much of which was clearly written to be read by a wide audience. It’s a good yarn.
Boosting Twitter to the Globular Power: When Will The Musk-Moose Turn Its Hands Over? How Will We Continue to Grow? What Will We Do next?
Musk would be the first-ballot shoo-in if there was a hall of fame. He believes his Musk-itude is enough to swat away historical precedent, as generations of previousTwitter leaders couldn’t. Despite beginning in 2006 it took almost a year for it to become a hit at the South by Southwest conference. From that point on it experienced rapid growth. A memo states that Evan Williams said at a strategy meeting that if we had a billion users that would be the pulse of the planet. It seemed reasonable to imagine a billion users of the micro-messaging service. And Williams believed that with this base, it would be easy to concoct a business plan that made the company wildly profitable. Even though it had over a billion users, and seemed to come up with a good ad-based business model, it did not make a profit for two years. Every person who has led Twitter has tried to boost user growth and solidify profits. Evan Williams tried. Dick Costolo tried. Jack tried several times. Over and over, smart people who knew the workings of the platform from the inside tried and failed to boost Twitter from an important speech platform to a giant tech power. Musk, a Twitter superuser who is only now learning how Twitter works as a company, is gunning to do it—or at least to figure out how to do it—before he puts up his Christmas tree.
To successfully overhaul Twitter into a thriving subscription business would be to buck the trend of many other media properties that have struggled with the model. Musk has had some problems with his attempts right out of the gate. An updated, $8-per-month version of the Twitter Blue subscription service that allowed users to buy a verification checkmark had to be halted after just two days when it was abused to impersonate prominent people (notably Musk himself), businesses, and government agencies. Musk suggested on Monday that he may delay the restart until there is high confidence that it won’t be faked.
Employees told The Verge’s Alex Heath they were frustrated by the lack of a more detailed response. They are worried about the future of social media as well as the possibility of layoffs.
In order for the changes to be made, Musk says that they need to go private. An edit feature, an open-source Algorithm, less moderation, and a higher bar are included in these.
Casey was right in positing that Twitter’s poison pill provisions may not be enough to stop Musk. But he also assumed that Musk would just continue to troll the company through his tweets.
The people wouldn’t say if all the paperwork for the deal, originally valued at $44 billion, had been signed or if the deal has closed. But they said Musk is in charge of the social media platform and has fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde. The person wanted to not be identified because of the sensitive nature of the deal.
A deadline set by a Delaware judge for the deal to be finalized is just hours away. If there wasn’t an agreement she was going to schedule a trial.
Tesla CEO Aaron Musk Takes Control of Twitter and Immediately ousts Top Executives: A Tale of Two Lively Hateful Tweets
Although they came quickly, the major personnel moves had been widely expected and almost certainly are the first of many major changes the mercurial Tesla CEO will make.
According to court documents, Musk had clashed with Agrawal immediately before he decided to bid for the company.
About the same time, he used Twitter to criticize Gadde, the company’s top lawyer. There was harassment of Gadde from other accounts. In addition to calls for Musk to fire her, the harassment included racist and misogynistic attacks, as well as demands for her to leave. On Thursday, after she was fired, the harassing tweets lit up once again.
He continued: “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
But it’s also a realization that having no content moderation is bad for business, putting Twitter at risk of losing advertisers and subscribers, she said.
“You do not want a place where consumers just simply are bombarded with things they do not want to hear about, and the platform takes no responsibility,” Yildirim said.
And overnight the New York Stock Exchange notified investors that it will suspend trading in shares of Twitter before the opening bell Friday in anticipation of the company going private under Musk.
Tesla’s Great Idea: Why the CEO of a large tech company can’t afford it: How Musk and Steve Jobs have a “Great Discussion” with Musk
Top sales executive Sarah Personette, the company’s chief customer officer, said she had a “great discussion” with Musk on Wednesday and appeared to endorse his Thursday message to advertisers.
Musk’s apparent enthusiasm about visiting Twitter headquarters this week stood in sharp contrast to one of his earlier suggestions: The building should be turned into a homeless shelter because so few employees actually worked there.
The layoffs began on Friday morning according to a memo sent to staff. The email sent Thursday evening notified employees that they will receive a notice by 12 p.m. ET Friday that informs them of their employment status.
GroupM, the world’s biggest ad company, is telling clients buying ads on the platform that they are “high-risk,” according to Platformer. The third advertising powerhouse has told massive corporations that they may want to take their money out of the country.
In May 1998 I visited Steve Jobs at the Apple headquarters to hear about how he planned to revive the company. He had been its interim CEO for almost a year, after returning to the company that fired him over a decade earlier. He went to the whiteboard and wrote out his solution to the company’s business troubles after greeting me in the boardroom of his suite. He had a new product plan, a new product, and a workforce that was rejuvenated by an ad campaign.
Musk can realize the absurdity of his haste because of his own successful enterprises. Five years ago, the company was already five years old, when he took over. Musk came up with a brilliant plan to turn the company around—but it didn’t post an annual profit until 2020, 17 years after incorporation. Musk deservedly gets a lot of credit for what Tesla has achieved—and for, among other things, his persistence. SpaceX, Musk’s other company, is private and doesn’t report earnings. When it comes to making rocket ships, it takes years to launch successfully, and you can wind up killing people if you cut corners.
Why is the Fed Plunging? Premarket Stocks Trading: When Fed Chairman Tom Powell Tells the Wall Street he’s Going to Hell
A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Is that not a subscriber? You can sign up right here. Clicking on the link will bring you to an audio version of the newsletter.
The Federal Reserve will hold a meeting in December. The Fed will rely on hard economic data in their next decision, so analysts don’t have to speculate all they want.
That means key housing, labor, and inflation reports will likely have outsized effects on the market as investors speculate about what they might mean for the future of interest rates.
What’s happening: The chairman of the Federal Reserve has only a few words to move markets, and when he said that on Wednesday, he sent the stock market plunging. “We have a ways to go,” said Powell of the Fed’s current hiking regime meant to fight persistent inflation. “It’s very premature, in my view, to think about or be talking about pausing.”
The central bank also doesn’t think inflation will start to fall back until next year. Legislators warned of more interest rate hikes in the months to come.
Premarket Stocks Trading: Expected Job Creation in the U.S. Economy and Implications for Core Core Core Condensate
The government is expected to show that the economy created 200,000 jobs in October but that’s still a very good number as the supply of labor continues to outdistance demand.
More inflation is what it means. Businesses are able to charge more for their goods and services if they have higher wages. The hourly wage growth will be a topic of discussion by the Fed. In September, wages rose by 5% from a year ago.
There is a possible upside: Another jobs report in December is expected ahead of the Fed meeting. If both reports show a downward trajectory in employment, that could be enough to placate Fed officials, even if the unemployment rate remains historically low.
CoreCPI prices rose 0.6% in the month of September, matching the August pace and coming in above expectations, which is not a good sign for the Fed. There is a very high chance of another large increase in October.
PCE reflects changes in the prices of goods and services purchased by consumers in the United States. The Fed says the measure is more accurate because it accounts for a bigger range of purchases.
Elon Musk and the Housing Market: Twitter Employees’ Redundancies in Light of the BNP&E Boundary Sale and Inflation
Housing: The housing market has been deeply impacted by the Fed’s efforts to fight inflation, and is one of the first areas of the economy to show signs of cooling.
The 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged over 7 percent last week, up from just under 3 percent just a year ago, as elevated borrowing costs lead to a decline in demand.
“The housing market was very overheated for the couple of years after the pandemic as demand increased and rates were low,” said Powell on Wednesday. The effect of our policies is really there.
In an effort to fight soaring inflation, the Bank of England hiked its interest rates on Thursday by three quarters of a percentage point.
But the bank also issued a stark warning. It said that there is a recession due to high energy prices and tighter financial conditions, which will end in the first half of 2024.
Elon Musk has been busy over at Twitter HQ. A big changes have been talked about at his $44 billion acquisition. Here’s what’s happened so far:
The email added that “to help ensure the safety” of employees and Twitter’s systems, the company’s offices “will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended.”
Organizations including the ADL, Color of Change, Free Press and GLAAD pointed to Friday’s mass layoffs of Twitter staff as a key factor in their thinking, citing fears that Musk’s cuts will make Twitter’s election integrity policies effectively unenforceable, even if they technically remain active.
The WARN Act requires companies with more than 100 employees to give 60 day’s written notice if they plan to cut 50 or more jobs.
The Power of Musk: Why We’re Here and Why We Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening on the Social Media Platform?
The richest man in the world used an expletive to describe his opinion of the system for those who do and don’t have a blue checkmark. He added: “Power to the people! It’s blue for $8/month.
Several brands have announced they are stopping their ads on social networks because of Musk, including General Mills, the North Face and several car companies. Musk said earlier this month that the growing pullback in advertiser spending had led to a drop in revenue. He said the situation was messed up.
Musk talked about a decline in revenue as advertisers pause their spending because of the acquisition.
In a separate statement, Volkswagen Group, which owns Audi, Porsche and Bentley, confirmed it had recommended its brands “pause their paid activities on the platform until further notice.”
General GM said it would stop paying for advertisements on the platform while it looked at its new direction. CNN reported that Toyota was in discussions with key stakeholders and was monitoring the situation on the social networking site.
Interpublic Group advised its clients to suspend advertising on the platform, after working with consumer brands such as Coca Cola.
That creates a challenge for brands, which are sensitive to the types of content their ads run against, an issue made more complicated by social media. Most marketers don’t like the idea of their ads running alongside hate speech, pornography or misinformation.
The paused also come just a few days ahead of the US midterm elections, as many civil society leaders worry that harmful material could spread on the platform and disrupt the election.
Twitter – Free Money for a Hot Minute? Musk isn’t a bullseye, but he may be trying to keep advertisers away
Musk is trying to keep advertisers from leaving his site. Musk and his team met with the marketing andadvertising community in New York on Monday, according to an inner circle member.
Omnicom Media Group is recommending clients “pause activity on Twitter in the short term,” according to a note titled “Twitter – Continued Brand Safety Concerns.” The memo cites recent events in the last few days that have “potential serious implications” for brands running ads on the platform.
The eye-popping growth figure comes as a wave of Twitter users have announced their plans to switch services amid the erratic leadership of Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk.
Musk doesn’t mind. When our own Tom Warren took a screenshot of the tweet, a user replied, “The beauty of this is each account that gets verified paid $8. The account is suspended when they keep the money. It’s genius and I hope more folks do this. Free money for a social networking site. Musk replied with a bag of money, a bag of money face, and a bullseye.
Let’s talk about the loans for a hot minute. The banks that aided in this deal hold the debt, an unusual occurrence since they usually try to find buyers for the debt. They were stuck with the loan on their balance sheets because of Musk’s lawsuit and delayed closing. Interest rates were lower when they got into this situation. By the time the deal was closed, the appetite for debt had changed according to Anant Sundaram.
While Tips is a way to send money to people you prefer, it won’t take a cut of your money. It does take a cut of the revenue from Super Follows, a way to make your tweets a subscription service, but Twitter’s share is dwarfed by the fees taken by Apple for in-app purchases.
There was no end to the disruption on Friday. A gray official Badge will be reintroduced for some accounts to help confirm their identities. The decision came after Twitter was forced to fend off a wave of verified-account impostors this week, including some posing as former President Donald Trump, Nintendo, and the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, among others. These accounts were the result of Musk’s decision to rush ahead with offering a blue check mark to any account holder willing to pay $8 a month, no questions asked, as he races to find new ways to make money from the platform.
I don’t think a lot of advertisers would want to come back to someone with that attitude toward impersonation, even without an economic downturn. The open question to me is whether users want to stay in that environment — one that’s just gotten a new layer of hoaxing and scammers. Billionaire Mark Cuban has already complained that the influx of new checkmarked users has made his mentions miserable. Cuban’s thoughts are a reason that people stay on the platform.
And it’s risky debt to boot, B1 rated, which is “on the lower end of the junk rating spectrum,” says Wharton’s Roberts. “Investor appetite for this debt clearly isn’t as large as it was four months ago.” Moody’s cited the governance of Musk as one of the major drivers of risk when it ratedTwitter’s debt.
In the past week alone, one of the world’s most influential social networks has laid off half its workforce; alienated powerful advertisers; blown up key aspects of its product, then repeatedly launched and un-launched other features aimed at compensating for it; and witnessed an exodus of senior executives.
Musk and Twitter shut down after the Grey Badge Launch: “What’s going on with Twitter?” Musk tweeted in response to the reversal
The menu option to sign up for the paid subscription service disappeared from the mobile app on Friday just two days after it was introduced, making it impossible to sign up. It was unclear when the company would bring back the offering.
Hours after the gray badges launched on Wednesday as a way to help users differentiate legitimate celebrity and branded accounts from accounts that had merely paid for a blue check mark, Musk abruptly tweeted that he had “killed” the feature, forcing subordinates to explain the reversal.
The verified support account of the social media website said that they are not putting an official label on accounts.
The paid verification feature’s rocky rollout attracted widespread criticism from misinformation experts who had warned it would make identifying trustworthy information much more difficult, particularly in the critical period following the US midterm elections. Some of Musk’s fellow high-powered users had a tough time with the platform.
When you have your customer service hat on, it’s from one entrepreneur to another. Mark Cuban said he spent too much time muting the newly purchased checkmark mentions in an attempt to make them useful again.
Cuban said that the decision to be made is the bottom line. “Stick with the new Twitter that democratizes every tweet by paid accounts and puts the onus on all users to curate for themselves. Or bring back Twitter curation. It makes Twitter time and information efficient. The other is awful.”
GroupM’s Twitter Concerns With Musk’s Take Over After Musk Takes The Mechanized Line-of-Sight: Why Does Twitter Work?
Musk downplayed the size of the ad buy, but confirmed that his company, “SpaceX,” bought a package to advertise its Starlink internet service on the social networking site.
GroupM works with many companies. If you see that graphic about how some brands make a lot of things at the grocery store, you will observe a lot of overlap between GroupM and its clients.
GroupM is reportedly concerned about several specific things following Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter; in a document, it cites the large numbers of Twitter executives leaving or being fired (especially those in charge of safety, security, and compliance), the wave of high-profile impersonations by “verified” users, and also raises concerns about Twitter’s abilities to follow the Federal Trade Commission’s orders. GroupM wants a number of things if it wants to lose its high-risk label, according to a document and a message seen by Platformer. The list includes things.
Those requests are, to put it bluntly, zero percent surprising. They don’t want to advertise on platforms where their messages, carefully crafted to be asoffensive and appealing to as many people as possible, appear next to blatant hate speech, conspiracy theories or a fake version of their profile.
“I’ve always thought that a move to a subscription business would make sense for Twitter … it’s never been a great advertising platform,” said Larry Vincent, associate professor of marketing at USC’s Marshall School of Business. It didn’t offer the same level of user targeting that rivals like Facebook did, which made it smaller than its competitors.
Some 625 of the top 1,000 Twitter advertisers, including major brands such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Jeep, Wells Fargo and Merck, had pulled their ad dollars as of January, according to estimates from Pathmatics, based on data running through January 25.
According to the New York Times article, which was published last week, the former head of trust and safety at the company said that the company’s failure to comply with app store rules could be “catastrophic”. The app stores have previously removed social media apps for failing to protect their users from harmful content, and Roth suggested that Twitter had already begun to receive calls from app store operators following Musk’s takeover. Over the weekend, the head of Apple’s app store, Phil Schiller, deleted his Twitter account.
Elon Musk’s abrupt suspension of several journalists who cover Twitter widens a growing rift between the social media site and media organizations that have used the platform to build their audiences.
Elon-going-for-broke reporters suspended from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Mastodon: a public opinion opinion piece on Musk’s actions
Even so, there is still no guarantee that capturing the online world’s attention will result in revenue growth.
Following the results of a public poll on the site, the suspensions will be lifted. The poll showed a high number of people wanted to immediately unsuspend accounts, with more than 42% saying the suspensions should be lifted in seven days.
The reporters’ suspensions followed Musk’s decision Wednesday to permanently ban an account that automatically tracked the flights of his private jet using publicly available data. That also led Twitter to change its rules for all users to prohibit the sharing of another person’s current location without their consent.
Most accounts came back early Saturday. Linette Lopez, a reporter for BusinessInsider, was suspended without explanation, she told The Associated Press.
The same day, she cited reports that Musk was reneging on severance for laid-off Twitter employees, threatening workers who talk to the media and refusing to make rent payments. Lopez described his actions as “classic Elon-going-for-broke behavior.”
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N., said that the move sets a dangerous precedent when journalists are facing censorship, threats and even worse.
Several of the reporters who were suspended were writing about the new policy and Musk’s reason for imposing it, which involved his allegation that he was the target of a stalker in Los Angeles.
Mainstream websites such as Facebook andInstagram, and upstarts Mastodon, Nostr, Post and Donald Trump’s Truth Social, were banned. Twitter gave no explanation for why the blacklist included those seven websites but not others such as Parler, TikTok or LinkedIn.
Twitter Has a Red Flag, but How Do We Stand With Musk? A Washington Post Observer Observed on O’Sullivan and Buzbee’s Twitter Suspension
Sally Buzbee, the Washington Post’s executive editor, said that Drew Harwell was kicked out without warning because of the accurate reporting about Musk.
CNN said in a statement that “the impulsive and unjustified suspension of a number of reporters, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, is concerning but not surprising.”
A suspended journalist, Matt Binder of the technology news outlet Mashable, said he had been banned Thursday night for sharing a picture that O’ Sullivan had posted before his suspension.
The screenshot showed a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department sent earlier Thursday to multiple media outlets, including the AP, about how it was in touch with Musk’s representatives about the alleged stalking incident.
High-profile accounts that previously broke retweets have been restored after he promised to allow free speech. He said he would suppress hate and Negative vibes by denying them some of their freedom of reach.
“The old regime at Twitter governed by its own whims and biases and it sure looks like the new regime has the same problem,” she tweeted “I oppose it in both cases.”
The platform would be changed at the fundamental level if the media leave because of the suspension, said Lou Paskalis, an executive in both marketing and media.
CBS briefly shut down its activity on Twitter in November due to “uncertainty” about new management, but media organizations have largely remained on the platform.
“We all know news breaks on Twitter … and to now go after journalists really saws at the main foundational tent pole of Twitter,” Paskalis said. Driving journalists off the social networking site is what I think of as the most self-destructive wound.
The suspensions may be the biggest red flag yet for advertisers, Paskalis said, some of which had already cut their spending on Twitter over uncertainty about the direction Musk is taking the platform.
On Thursday night, Twitter’s Spaces conference chat went down shortly after Musk abruptly signed out of a session hosted by a journalist during which he had been questioned about the reporters’ ousting. Musk stated that Spaces was taken offline to deal with a bug. Spaces came back late Friday.
Advertisers are also monitoring the potential loss of Twitter users. Twitter is projected to lose 32 million users over the next two years, according to a forecast by Insider Intelligence, which cited technical issues and the return of accounts banned for offensive posts.
Despite the rise of Mastodon, the site remains larger, with more than 200 million daily users. The company has not reported financial metrics since then, as Musk closed his deal to buy Twitter, taking it private, in October.
More than 50% of users who responded to a poll voted yes, even though they didn’t know how to vote.
How Paul Graham Found Mastodon and he Restored his Twitter Account after the Twitter Explanation of his Twitter Disruption
The company announced that users wouldn’t be able to link to Facebook and other websites, as the company described them as “prohibited.”
But that decision generated so much immediate criticism, including from past defenders of Twitter’s new billionaire owner, that Musk promised not to make any more major policy changes without an online survey of users.
The action to block competitors was Musk’s attempt to shut down the flow of speech after he shut down a public account on his private jet.
A test case was that of the prominent venture capitalist, Paul Graham, who told his 1.5 million followers that this was the “last straw” and he’d found Musk on Mastodon. His Twitter account was promptly suspended, and soon after restored as Musk promised to reverse the policy implemented just hours earlier.
Musk said he never intended to be CEO of Tesla, and that he didn’t want to be chief executive of any other companies either, preferring to see himself as an engineer instead. The restructuring of the service was expected to be completed in a week or so, according to Musk. It’s been more than a month since he said that.
Musk called out the person who would run the company that has been “in the fast lane to bankrupt” in a public exchange with his followers.
“We are excited to see Mastodon become a household name in newsrooms around the world and we’re committed to improving our software to face up to the growing demand that comes with rapid growth and increasing demand,” wrote Rochko.
The app was one of the top free social networking apps in the App Store, and one of the top 10 free social networking apps on the Play Store. Mastodon is a social network that has many third-party apps available for it.
Comment on Mastodon, Musk, and HBO: How centralized social media can be exploited for the gain and loss of customers
In the blog post, which reflect the Mastodon founder’s first remarks since the link ban, Rochko highlighted Musk’s significant power as owner and CEO of Twitter.
“This is a stark reminder that centralized platforms can impose arbitrary and unfair limits on what you can and can’t say while holding your social graph hostage,” Rochko wrote.
Wells Fargo stopped paying for paid advertising on Twitter, but continues to use it as a social channel to engage with customers. The other brands did not reply to the request for comment.
Even among the top advertisers that remain, many have dramatically reduced their ad spending on the platform, according to Pathmatics data. For the month of January, it spent just over $54,000, but for the month in September, it spent almost $12 million on ads. (HBO, which is owned by CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)