Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the social media giant, for a staggering $44 billion, near the end of 2022, was met with anticipation and curiosity. As the world’s richest man, Musk’s success with companies like Tesla and SpaceX was undeniable. However, his role as CEO of Twitter has been marked by a series of questionable decisions and mismanagement, leading to significant controversies and concerns about his leadership abilities. In this article, we delve into the various issues that have plagued Twitter since Musk’s takeover, many of the issues twitter went through, administrative mistakes and other issues caused by the “real life Iron Man”.
Mass Layoffs and Employee Exodus
Shortly after the acquisition, Musk’s management style was evident as he swiftly fired several top executives, including the then-CEO, Parag Agrawal. Moreover, a massive layoff ensued, resulting in the termination of approximately 3,700 employees, causing fear and instability among the remaining workforce.
Not long after, Elon made an ultimatum forcing the remaining employees to return to office and work twice as hard to compensate for the lower amount of people and, as a consequence, many Twitter employees, who had been promised to always be able to work from home by previous CEO, chose to abandon the company voluntarily, leaving it with a significant loss of valuable talent.
Service Disruptions and Glitches
Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter has experienced an increasing number of service disruptions and glitches. During one incident, the platform suffered outages for over an hour, with users encountering broken links, login issues, and image loading problems(Many of which were caused by the sudden change of their own API, discussed below). On another one, a single stream was enough to cause the whole website to be unstable, with numbers that would barely make any impact on any other big platform.
More recently(on the 1st of July, 2023) another change made it so whenever anyone opens twitter, that the website(and APP) will make dozens of requests to their servers, over and over again, causing the bird platform to literally DDoS itself. This was also coupled with a new rate-limit system caused everyone to be unable to use twitter for hours.
This comes to show that, trying to cut costs by kicking out work force, can instead have the opposite effect: Several issues that lead to users leaving the platform for alternatives(alongside advertisers) and therefore loss of money.
API Changes and Third-Party App Restrictions
Musk’s decision to revamp Twitter’s API tiers resulted in higher costs for developers. With a subscription fee of $100 per month for hobbyists and limited tweet posting and read capabilities, third-party app developers faced significant challenges and many have shutdown(such as twitterrific, tweetbot, Fenix, etc). The move was met with widespread frustration from the developer community and added to the growing concerns about Musk’s leadership decisions.
This was also another massive miscalculation as 3rd party apps have, historically, been responsible for about 17% of all its engagement.
Failure to Honor Financial Obligations
Reports surfaced that Twitter, under Musk’s ownership, failed to pay its bills to crucial service providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. This breach of contracts with both providers made Amazon decide not to pay for its ads on the platform anymore while google might simply cut off their access to its services soon if the debt of about 1 billion dollars isn’t paid.
This financial mismanagement not only raised questions about the company’s credibility but also jeopardized essential services like trust and safety teams, posing a risk to user experience and safety.
Decline in Advertising Revenue
Following Musk’s takeover, Twitter experienced a notable decline in advertising revenue. Major advertisers withdrew their support, likely due to the platform’s instability and controversies surrounding hate speech and safety concerns(Addressed below). This financial setback has hampered Twitter’s ability to invest in much-needed improvements, posing a threat to its long-term sustainability.
This also further reinforces what was said above: Trying to cheap out on important things can and usually will lead to more expenses(or in this case, less revenue) later on.
Hate Speech and Safety Concerns
Under Musk’s leadership, hate speech has thrived on Twitter, leading to numerous instances of racist and homophobic language. Advocacy groups, including GLAAD, criticized Twitter for failing to adequately address safety concerns, particularly for marginalized communities. GLAAD’s annual social media safety index ranked Twitter as the most dangerous platform for LGBTQ individuals, further highlighting the company’s shortcomings in promoting a safe online environment.
According to a study conducted by the cyber research organization Network Contagion Research Institute, the utilization of racial slur containing the N-word experienced an alarming surge of more than 500% on the platform on October 28th 2022.
In the eyes of Musk however, twitter has turned “a place for free speech”… as long as you don’t call him cisgender that is.
Promises and lack of Delivery
Throughout his tenure as CEO, Elon Musk has made ambitious promises about improving Twitter’s performance and safety. However, the platform has not witnessed significant improvements as advertised. Instead, Twitter has faced numerous challenges, including technical glitches, financial issues, and a decline in user confidence.
- More Free speech: Unless you’re criticizing him, in which case you might get banned like that many journalists.
- Decisions by poll: Unless he is too lazy to make one, which happened often. Rarely ever happened.
- Severance: Musk proudly announced that he would provide laid-off workers with a generous severance package of three months. However, after a few months, majority of them only got one month.
- Moderation council: Never happened, maybe he forgot?
- Verification: Was going to be used to “authenticate all humans”… and then got removed from many and sold to anyone with enough money.
Elon Musk’s role as CEO of Twitter has been fraught with controversy and questionable leadership decisions. From mass layoffs and service disruptions to financial disputes and the platform’s failure to address safety concerns, Musk’s tenure has been marked by various challenges. The decline in advertising revenue and user confidence, coupled with Twitter’s inability to tackle hate speech effectively, has raised doubts about Musk’s suitability for the CEO position and inevitably lead to a new person(Linda Yaccarino) getting the position.
The whole situation, however, serves as easy, solid proof for something many already knew: Elon Musk is not and has never been a real life Tony Stark. He is just merely another arrogant billionaire.