As Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter entered its third week, and following mass layoffs, the billionaire revealed a delicate financial future for the social media platform, amid an exodus of top privacy and security executives.
Yoel Roth, the head of security and privacy who had been appointed to publicly address concerns advertisers and users had about the platform, is reportedly the latest to leave the company.
The departures began the day Elon Musk addressed employees for the first time, saying “bankruptcy is not out of the question,” according to multiple reports.
The day began with the resignation of three top security officials – chief information security officer Lea Kissner, chief privacy officer Damien Kieran and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty – prompting warnings from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (Twitter reached a settlement on privacy issues with the FTC in May.) Following those departures, Roth and Twitter’s head of client solutions, Robin Wheeler, also left the company.
In an email to employees and a subsequent staff meeting, Musk did little to inspire confidence in the company’s future. In an email, Musk described the difficult financial circumstances the company was in and how important he believed its subscription service, Twitter Blue, was to its future.
“Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance that Twitter will not survive the coming economic downturn,” Musk said in the email. “We need about half of our revenue to be subscriptions.”
One employee also said at the staff meeting that Musk appeared to play down employee concerns about how a stripped-down Twitter workforce was handling its obligations to uphold privacy and data security standards.
Musk’s memo and staff meeting echoed a live-streamed conversation on Wednesday in which he sought to ease the concerns of big advertisers and made his most expansive public comments about Twitter’s direction since closing the $44 billion deal to buy the platform late last month and dismissing its top. managers.
The departures compound the problems that have plagued the social media platform since Musk bought it. Musk’s takeover and the resulting confusing back-and-forth on product launches and content moderation policies have prompted many brands, including General Mills, to pause ad buys on Twitter — a development the billionaire sought to address in the live stream for advertisers. The duo leading the live stream, Roth and Wheeler, have now both left the company.
“So the two people Elon brought out to talk to advertisers in an attempt to convince them to continue working with the company have just quit,” tweeted Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change. “Companies that remain with Twitter at this point will be bound by these dangerous and disjointed policy changes.”
The company’s subscription product Twitter Blue, which launched on Wednesday and allows users to buy a verified blue tick for $8, has already resulted in various accounts being verified despite posing as brands or notable figures. Some civil rights groups worry that a lack of clarity in content moderation policies and the unfettered ability to buy a blue tick could lead — if they haven’t already — to a scourge of hate speech and the spread of misinformation. They have urged more brands to pause their ads on the platform.
“I’ve never seen a billionaire beg for your $8 so much,” said Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP. “It’s clear that our efforts — urging companies to pause all advertising on Twitter — are working. Companies must be held accountable, and Twitter is no exception. Hate speech and misinformation have no place.”
According to the company’s settlement with the FTC, Twitter must conduct privacy reviews before making any changes to its products. But in a letter posted to Slack by an attorney on the company’s privacy team and reported by the Verge, the author says they heard the company’s chief legal officer, Alex Spiro, “say that Elon is willing to take on a huge risk in relation to this company and its users, because “Elon puts rockets into space, he’s not afraid of the FTC.” The company’s legal team is now asking engineers to “self-certify” that their features comply with the FTC’s rules and privacy standards , according to the Verge.
In the letter, the lawyer said people should make use of the whistleblower protections available “if you feel uncomfortable about something you are being asked to do”.
Messages seeking comment were left to Twitter, but it is unlikely that anyone will respond because the communications department has been laid off.
#Exodus #continues #Twitter #Elon #Musk #hints #bankruptcy