Twitter roundup: Threat of bankruptcy, departure of top staff, plans for Musk’s payment system
TL; DR: To say that Twitter is going through an upheaval following Elon Musk’s takeover would be an understatement. With so much news coming from the platform every day, here’s a recap of what’s been going on lately, from talk of the company’s bankruptcy and FTC warnings to the chaotic verification system and Musk’s plan. to transform Twitter into WeChat.
A lot has happened on Twitter since Musk took over, including the billionaire lay off half of its employees and suspending accounts for impersonating others (often Musk himself).
Speaking to employees for the first time, Musk warned that “bankruptcy is not out of the question,” according to multiple reports.
Musk has other issues to deal with: Three of Twitter’s top security officers – information security officer Lea Kissner, privacy officer Damien Kieran and compliance officer Marianne Fogarty – as well as the Twitter’s head of customer solutions, Robin Wheeler, and Yoel Roth, the head of security and integrity, all left the company the same day Musk notified of bankruptcy. Roth was there to assure users and advertisers that all was well on Twitter, so his departure will be a blow.
I made the tough decision to leave Twitter. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great people and I’m very proud of the Privacy, Security and IT teams and the work we’ve done.
I can’t wait to see what’s next, starting with my reviews for @USENIXSecurity 😁
— Lea Kissner (@LeaKissner) November 10, 2022
The loss of top security officials prompted a warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The agency said it was “following developments on Twitter with grave concern” and would take steps to ensure the company complied with a 2011 settlement, part of which requires Twitter to maintain a comprehensive security plan.
Musk had a warning for remaining Twitter staff, highlighting the importance of the new $20 Twitter Blue service launched on Wednesday. “Without significant subscription revenue, there’s a good chance Twitter won’t survive the coming economic downturn,” he wrote in an email to staff. “We need about half of our revenue to be subscriptions.”
Please note that Twitter will be doing a lot of stupid things in the coming months.
We will keep what works and change what doesn’t.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2022
Speaking of Twitter Blue, the service now gives followers a verified status. To address the issue of users pretending to be someone they are not, public entities have been given gray checkmarks under blue ones. These “official tags” were canceled before the end of the first day. Following other imitations, an action that permanent results—verified users, gray checks have been brought back.
Musk also said there are too many corrupt legacy blue “verification” checkmarks on the platform – like those on unpaid pre-Musk accounts – so they are being removed.
Elsewhere, the Twitter boss spoke about his plans to turn the company into what looks like a bank of all kinds, with debit cards, checks and loans. Musk says Twitter users will receive a balance that can be sent anywhere in the system, which could be a way to tip people or pay for paid content. He added that the site will set up a “high-yield money market account so that having a Twitter balance is the most profitable thing you can do”, and that instead of a traditional banking system, users may have “a balance on Twitter that can simply go positive or negative.”
Twitter usage continues to grow. One thing is certain: it’s not boring!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 10, 2022
Users will also get a debit card linked to their balance to use in places that don’t accept Twitter payments, and Musk has hinted that he might also offer bank-style loans.
Musk has talked about turning Twitter into the “everything app,” suggesting something like China’s WeChat social media app that can be used to order food, book rides, make payments, and more. Implementing banking features is an ambitious plan that will bring a lot of regulatory scrutiny, but Musk seems determined to make it a reality; Twitter today registered with the US Treasury as a payments processor.
In the latest from Twitter, Musk confirmed that employees should work in the office for at least 40 hours a week, a replication of the mandate he put in place at Tesla earlier this year. He reversed the company’s stance from 2020 when it said employees could work from home “forever” if they wanted.
The richest person in the world has a lot to do right now, but he could have even more to manage after Joe Biden announcement that Musk’s relationships with other countries should be looked into.