Managing the Musk-Mosuma Crisis: The Insights from Five Former Employees and Experts on the MSNBC Twitter Platform, WIRED
There was a rush to plug gaps between processes in order to prevent the platform from becoming a source of mis- and misinformation during an election. WIRED talked to five people involved in managing the crisis to understand what happened.
Thein recalls arriving at the office and seeing many listless employees playing foosball while lounging around. Shortly after Musk took over, the company had locked down many of its internal systems to ensure no changes were made during the leadership handover (and coming layoffs). “Our active directory got shut off, all of our systems were shut off,” says Thein. She had no way of knowing which leaders still worked at the company or who to bring the alert to. I thought about what to do when I got the call. No one is online.’”
Thein now worries that what she experienced in those early days of Musk’s leadership was less a fluke than a harbinger. The In, as well as other former employees and experts, fear X is about to descend into disaster due to the layoffs and leader hostile to moderation. It’s a year in which more than 50 countries—including the US—will hold elections.
X continues to survive but it doesn’t feel like it is the same platform as in the past. I don’t know if it will ever be that place again. The website remainsTwitter.com despite being rebranded to X months ago, and Musk cannot seem to mold the way he wants.
In a year that was supposed to bring aggressive changes to deal with bots and impersonation to the initial seeds of an “everything app,” the platform has instead been plagued by bad decisions of Musk’s own making — capped off by a baffling rebranding to the letter X. The platform is facing more competition than ever because of concern about its instability under Musk, and so it has lost some of its advertising partners.
There was a fake Nintendo account and fake Eli Lilly account that said that Eli Lilly’s stock price was hurt because of the fake Nintendo account and fake Eli Lilly account. After a relaunch to address the issue of impersonation, replies are often filled with posts from people who want to engage so they can make money off of the sharing of ad revenue. Unsurprisingly, it’s become difficult to tell who actually has influence on the platform and who just pays for it.
Spending at the levels they used to is not what returning means. Media Matters for America reported that Visa had spent just $10 on Twitter in the weeks preceding Yaccarino’s comments, down from $77,500 in the weeks before Musk bought the company. That explains why the platform’s US advertising revenue was “still down” 60 percent in September, according to Musk himself. Since Musk’s takeover of the platform, ad revenue has fallen every month according to estimates. And the service has fewer people to show those ads to. Similarweb reported that mobile monthly active users have decreased by nearly 18 percent from last September to this September.
Precarity of Musk’s Twitter purchase of Meta, Twitter, Threads, and a lawsuit by the SEC over the Israel-Hamas war
Meta, most notably, has launched Threads. None of these services has widely supplanted Twitter just yet, but Threads, with “just under” 100 million monthly active users following its July launch, looks like the best contender to take the crown.
X is still around one year after Musk bought it, but it feels more precarious than when he bought it. Yaccarino gave a daily active user number that was lower than the one that was reported by Twitter before its acquisition. The platform is under investigation from the EU over content about the Israel-Hamas war, and Musk is being sued by the SEC over his refusal to testify about his purchases of Twitter shares.