‘Not my cup of tea’: Musk’s poisonous model nonetheless looms over Twitter regardless of CEO change

Advertisers have been fleeing Twitter.

In keeping with a New York Occasions report earlier this month, the social media firm’s advert gross sales have fallen 59% year-on-year.

Final month, there gave the impression to be a short signal of hope for Twitter that advertisers might think about returning to the platform after months of wariness. After Elon Musk named NBCUniversal government Linda Yaccarino its new CEO, WPP issued up to date steering that the platform was not “excessive threat”.

However a rising refrain of former workers are starting to talk out in opposition to Musk’s possession of the platform.

In a LinkedIn publish, former Twitter UK senior director of planning David Wilding confirmed he resigned from his function on the social media firm final November as a consequence of new proprietor and then-CEO, Elon Musk.

“I didn’t see a imaginative and prescient, a technique or a management type I may get behind and was able the place I may determine it wasn’t for me,” wrote Wilding. “On the threat of understatement he’s probably not my cup of tea.”

In his publish, Wilding calls out Musk’s inconsistency of goal. Whereas Musk, earlier than and shortly after buying the corporate, dedicated to being a “free speech absolutist” and informed Ron Baron that folks ought to be capable of select no matter sort of Twitter expertise they need (e.g., evaluating Twitter to completely different radio stations by letting customers determine to keep away from “heavy steel thrash” and select “straightforward listening clean jazz” if they like), that has not occurred in observe.

“It’s changing into more and more clear that Musk himself favours ‘heavy steel thrash’ mode and that is having a giant affect on Twitter for the remainder of us,” mentioned Wilding.

Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has unbanned accounts, lots of which belonging to people espousing hateful speech, and gutted its Belief and Security division accountable for content material moderation. Earlier this month, head of Belief and Security Ella Irwin resigned; she follows her predecessor Yoel Roth, who resigned final fall amid extreme layoffs instituted by Musk to cut back the content material moderation group’s capability.

Simply as considerably, Musk ordered the corporate to take away verification from 1000’s of notable accounts, as a substitute promoting the blue checkmarks related to verified accounts to anybody prepared to pay $8 per 30 days. The dropped requirements for verification, alongside the deprioritisation of content material moderation, have allowed misinformation and hateful speech to run rampant on the positioning.

Was Twitter good for journalism?

“Musk’s rash resolution to fireside the whole curation group signifies that Belief and Security now don’t have anybody (or far fewer individuals) to motion the choices they take round hate speech, misinformation, racism, and lots of different disturbing points that may floor in every day posts,” mentioned one former curation lead chatting with The Media Chief on the situation of anonymity. “Escalating these problematic tweets to Belief and Security was a core a part of what the worldwide curation group was anticipated to do 24/7 in an effort to make sure the tweets have been assessed and the suitable motion taken.

“With out the worldwide curation group to floor and escalate all of the content material that manufacturers and advertisers would by no means wish to affiliate with and that customers don’t wish to be compelled to see, Musk primarily reduce the legs out from below Belief and Security – making their job inconceivable to do correctly. Why would anybody keep in that scenario?”

Aside from wiping out a lot of Belief and Security, Musk has cozied as much as far-right American politicians and activists, lots of which have been accused of spreading hateful speech. Exemplifying Musk’s obvious curiosity in modern conservatism, Twitter performed host to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ 2024 presidential marketing campaign announcement by way of its Areas function in a stunt that was extensively panned and technologically fraught.

Extra just lately, Musk has been accused of antisemitism. In Might, the magnate was criticised for selling conspiracy theories that Jewish billionaire businessman and philanthropist George Soros “needed to erode the material of civilisation.” Earlier this month, Musk replied to a Tweet with footage of US president Joe Biden and actor Mel Gibson, who has himself been accused of antisemitism, and the caption: “You are able to do adrenochrome or you’ll be able to hate the Js. Which means western males”.

Musk replied: “Gibson is actually that buff as of late?”

Adrenochrome is a chemical compound extensively related to QAnon conspiracy theories and linked to the antisemitic canard of blood libel.

Musk has publicly denied the notion that he’s antisemitic, saying he’s a “pro-semite if something”.

Whereas Twitter is below new management in Yaccarino, it’s unclear how a lot Musk continues to be stewarding the corporate. Regardless, advertisers have been cautious, particularly on condition that Twitter has by no means performed a significant function in most advertisers’ media plans.

Writing for The Media Chief final month, Croud paid social director Yazmin King famous: “Twitter has by no means performed a big function in our media plans for shoppers as a result of Twitter lacks the media effectiveness and outcomes to rival different main social platforms. Nor a very efficient one for model, I would add. Every time we’ve added it to a shopper’s media plan, it’s as a result of we’ve exhausted all our different platforms and maybe there’s testing funds accessible.”

She added: “Twitter is just not a pretty proposition proper now, for a myriad of causes.”