Showing all posts tagged: Elon Musk

Should Elon Musk step down as Twitter head? VOTE NOW

19 December 2022

Twitter boss Musk is conducting another of his famous polls. This time he is asking Twitter members whether he should step down as head of the social media service. He says he will accept a YES outcome, should that happen. We’ll see. Meantime, go ahead and vote, though I hate to think what will happen to anyone who votes yes… they’ll probably be banned from Twitter for life.

The poll closes at about 10PM this evening AEST.


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Twitter 2.0 is not a start-up much as Elon Musk likes to believe it

25 November 2022

Tegan Jones, writing at Crikey, on Twitter owner Elon Musk’sā€¦ vision of the social media service being some sort of start-up, as of the minute he assumed control. Twitter was established in 2006, so we might be a little passed the development phase of the operation by now, no?

So no, Musk isn’t asking more of his remaining employees simply to improve the platform or make up for past financial woes. And it’s certainly not about overcoming the odds to build something together to change the world, which is oftentimes the north star of young start-ups. These employees are being asked, and in some cases coerced due to lack of options, to dedicate their lives to pay off a billionaire’s offensively large debt on a vanity project he didn’t even want. That is not start-up culture.

Despite Musk’s philanthropy, his wealth and privilege has bestowed him with a singular outlook of the world. While it’s unlikely he has much in the way of home duties, or family obligations ā€” at least that’s the impression created ā€” he could easily afford to outsource them anyway. Other Twitter employees are unlikely to be so fortunate. Instead, they’re simply expected to be hard core, and work until all hours of the night. Or be fired. Awesome.


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Elon Musk shares whiteboard outline of Twitter 2.0

20 November 2022

Jason Cartwright, writing for TechAU, analyses a whiteboard image posted by Elon Musk following the recent contentious Twitter HQ code review. Long story short, coders who failed to attend would no longer be regarded as Twitter employees. Following the meeting though, Musk shared outlines of plans to rebuild the social media service’s platform, which is being dubbed Twitter 2.0:

It’s rare to see content from inside the company, especially anything to do with current and future development items. While Musk has hinted at potential improvements to the platform, the whiteboard photo does reveal some more information.


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Jack Dorsey regrets role via Twitter in centralising internet

19 November 2022

As Twitter teeters on the brink of collapse (I think there’s a lot of us hoping it pulls through though) founder Jack Dorsey, in a tweet from April this year (preserved here for posterity should the worst happen), says he feels partly to blame for the present centralised state of the internet:

the days of usenet, irc, the web…even email (w PGP)…were amazing. centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet. I realize I’m partially to blame, and regret it.

Twitter’s only part of this centralised “problem” though. Other giant tech companies, Google, Amazon, among many others, have also played a role. Nonetheless, I imagine some of us see an upside. As for Twitter’s woes? Maybe owner/operator Elon Musk ought to consider stepping aside from day to day management of the company, and leave it to better qualified people?

Yep, I can see that happening.


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Elon Musk takes control of Twitter, fires CEO and CFO

29 October 2022

After much back and forth, Elon Musk has completed his takeover of social media service Twitter. CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal have already left the company, and I imagine they’ll be followed by more senior managers.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now in charge of Twitter, CNBC has learned. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and finance chief Ned Segal have left the company’s San Francisco headquarters and will not be returning, sources said. Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal policy, trust, and safety was also fired, the Washington Post reported.

Doubtless more changes are on the way, though Musk is trying to assuage the concerns of all, especially advertisers, regarding their extent, in a recent tweet:

That said, Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences! In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.

It seems to me a lot comes down to the definition of “desired experience”. If hate speech and misinformation did return to the platform, does “desired experience” mean users will be able to block out such content? Is that the answer then? Content producers meantime will delight in Musk’s perspective on advertising: “highly relevant ads are actually content!”

I also very much believe that advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you; it can show you a service or product or medical treatment that you never knew existed, but is right for you. For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs. Low relevancy ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content!

Revenue from adverts puts a roof over many a head, but an advertising experience that will delight, entertain, and inform? That I look forward to seeing.


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Peiter Zatko’s whistleblowing Twitter report may not help Musk

27 August 2022

Earlier this week a whistleblower complaint to the United States Congress made by Peiter Zatko, who was head of security at Twitter until his departure in January, was made public. Some commentators saw Zatko’s report as a damning insight to the management of the social media service, which supported Elon Musk’s decision to abandon his takeover bid for the social networking service:

The disclosure, sent last month to Congress and federal agencies, paints a picture of a chaotic and reckless environment at a mismanaged company that allows too many of its staff access to the platform’s central controls and most sensitive information without adequate oversight. It also alleges that some of the company’s senior-most executives have been trying to cover up Twitter’s serious vulnerabilities, and that one or more current employees may be working for a foreign intelligence service.

Mike Masnick, writing for Techdirt, in a detailed analysis of Zatko’s complaint, suggests the report in fact backs Twitter’s position, and may not be the legal leg-up Musk is seeking. Musk, who claims Twitter did not reveal the true extent of spam accounts on the platform, launched legal proceedings against the company in July.

But, as Masnick points out, Musk’s lawsuit has nothing to do with spam accounts on Twitter:

The first and most important thing to remember is that, even as Musk insists otherwise, the Twitter lawsuit is not about spam. It just is not. I’m not going to repeat everything in that earlier story explaining why not, so if you haven’t read that yet, please do. But the core of it is that Musk needed an escape hatch from the deal he didn’t want to consummate and the best his lawyers could come up with was to claim that Twitter was being misleading in its SEC reporting regarding spam. (As an aside, there is very strong evidence that Musk didn’t care at all about the SEC filings until he suddenly needed an escape hatch, and certainly didn’t rely on them).

Musk insists Twitter claimed only five-percent of accounts on the platform were spam or fake. But the five-percent number derives from so-called mDAU accounts, being monetizable daily average users, which Twitter defines as a “valid user account that might click through ads and actually buy a product”. The mDAU accounts sound like a rarefied group of members, but the spam count only applied to them, not the platform as a whole.

Except it’s Musk here who is using clever wordplay to distract and mislead everyone. As we’ve described over and over again, the 5% number that Musk repeats in these screenshots is about mDAU. The 5% number is what Twitter reports is the amount of spam they believe incorrectly gets counted in mDAU. It’s Musk who keeps pretending the 5% number implies spam across the entire platform, which Twitter has never said it does. As we’ve explained multiple times now, Musk is trying to distract by pretending that the 5% claim is about spam on the entire platform. It never has been. It has always been an estimate of the amount that makes it through and is still counted in the mDAU. That is clear to anyone who’s actually read Twitter’s filing (both in the Chancery Court and at the SEC).

Masnick’s article is a longer piece, but well worth the read for anyone with an interest in Musk vs Twitter.


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Court battles loom after Musk cancels Twitter acquisition

11 July 2022

Few would have been surprised by Elon Musk’s decision to withdraw his takeover for Twitter, it seemed the writing had been on the wall for some time. But now the recriminations begin. Twitter directors have said they’ll commence legal action against the Tesla CEO to enforce the deal. At the least Musk may be slugged with a billion dollar fine. A billion dollars is probably coffee money for someone like Musk, but a slew of additional lawsuits may end up costing Musk far more than that.

In addition to the fine for the failed deal, Musk could face serious consequences from the SEC for his antics, which have had major impacts on the several public companies he manages as well as Twitter itself. Musk is an executive at the artificial intelligence firm Neuralink, the electric car company Tesla, the space travel company SpaceX, and the tunnel construction firm the Boring Company. He has in the past faced lawsuits from investors over his erratic behavior and its effects on the companies’ stocks.


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SparkToro: almost 20% of active Twitter accounts are fake or spam

18 May 2022

No wonder Elon Musk, who has made an offer to buy Twitter, is questioning the number of fake and spam accounts on the platform. The social networking service had put the figure at five percent, but American software company SparkToro believes the number may be more like twenty percent:

SparkToro and Followerwonk conducted a rigorous, joint analysis of 44,058 public Twitter accounts active in the last 90 days. These accounts were randomly selected, by machine, from a set of 130+ million public, active profiles. Our analysis found that 19.42%, nearly four times Twitter’s Q4 2021 estimate, fit a conservative definition of fake or spam accounts (i.e. our analysis likely undercounts).

That equates to one in five in accounts which seems staggeringly high, but then again, unfortunately, no, maybe not. Musk may rightly be concerned about the actual levels of fake and spam accounts on Twitter, but as a seasoned and reasonably prolific user it seems odd someone so keenly interested in the platform would be unaware of the extent of the problem.


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Fake accounts temporarily delay Musk’s Twitter takeover

14 May 2022

Elon Musk has temporarily delayed his purchase of social networking service Twitter, citing concerns over the apparent number of fake and spam accounts on the platform. How far are we into the acquisition process, before Musk decides this is an issue? Some speculate he is looking for a way to back out of the deal completely, while others think something else may be at play:

“Generally speaking, people don’t sign merger agreements so they can walk away from them. They sign merger agreements so they can do deals,” said Donna Hitscherich, a professor at Columbia Business School. Zino said Musk could be using the question over fake accounts as an excuse to cut his offer price of $54.20 a share. “He is giving himself more options and giving himself more leverage,” he said. “It appears like he’s paying more than he needs to pay for this deal.”

Perhaps he could run one of his Twitter polls? Do you operate a fake Twitter account? Yes or no? If five percent of respondents answer in the affirmative, all will be sweet…


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Elon Musk offers to buy all Twitter shares

16 April 2022

Not content with a nine-percent stockholding in Twitter, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made an offer to buy all shares in the social networking service. His intention is to take the company private so he can enact many of the changes he says are necessary for Twitter’s future.

His offer of US$54.20 per share values Twitter at some US$43 billion, meaning Musk would either need to borrow the money, or sell some of his Tesla shares, to complete the purchase. Musk is the largest shareholder in Tesla, owning about seventeen percent of the stock.

But CEOs selling down shares in their own company can make other investors nervous, as it sometimes signals difficult times ahead. Watch this space. I’m waiting to see what happens.


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