Twitter asks some laid off workers to come back
Some of those who are being asked to return were laid off by mistake.
Others were let go before management realized that their work and
experience may be necessary to build the new features Musk envisions,
the [Bloomberg] report said citing people familiar with the moves.
Apparently Mastodon is the new forum, membership has shot up since Musk took over.
Tesla boss Elon Musk has sold another 19.5 million shares of the electric car maker worth $3.95bn (£3.4bn), filings with the US financial watchdog show.
The news comes less than two weeks after the world's richest man completed his $44bn takeover of Twitter.
Tesla's share price has fallen by more than 50% since the start of this year.
Separately, Tesla is recalling just over 40,000 of its vehicles in the US because of a potential problem with their power-steering.
The reason for the latest sales, which took place in the last week, has not yet been disclosed.
The latest sale brings the total value of Tesla shares sold by Mr Musk to almost $20bn since he announced earlier this year that he had bought a stake in Twitter.
He sold $8.5bn of Tesla stock in April this year and around another $7bn worth in August.
Also in August, Tesla shareholders approved a three-for-one stock split, which is behind part of the fall in the value of the shares.
On Tuesday Tesla recalled just over 40,000 of its cars in the US because of a potential power-steering problem.
The electric car manufacturer said the vehicles' power-steering assist system may fail on rough roads or after hitting a pothole.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it could require greater steering effort, especially at low speeds, increasing crash risks.
Tesla has released a software update to recalibrate the system.
It was unaware of any injuries or deaths in connection with the problem, it said.
As Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter entered its third week, and following mass layoffs, the billionaire laid bare a delicate financial future for the social media platform, amid an exodus of top privacy and security executives.
Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity who had been deputized to publicly address concerns advertisers and users had about the platform, is reportedly the latest to leave the company.
The departures began on the same day Elon Musk addressed employees for the first time, saying that “bankruptcy isn’t 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 over 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 one email, Musk described the dire economic 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 Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn,” Musk said in the email. “We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.”
One employee also said at the staff meeting that Musk appeared to downplay employee concerns about how a pared-back Twitter workforce was handling its obligations to maintain privacy and data security standards.
Musk’s memo and staff meeting echoed a livestreamed conversation on Wednesday in which he tried to assuage the concerns of major advertisers and made his most expansive public comments about Twitter’s direction since he closed the $44bn deal to buy the platform late last month and dismissed its top executives.
The departures compound the issues plaguing the social media platform since Musk bought it. Musk’s takeover and the resultant confusing back-and-forth on product launches and content moderation policies have led many brands including General Mills to pause ad buys on Twitter – a development the billionaire attempted to rectify 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 forward to talk with advertisers in an attempt to convince them to keep partnering with the company just quit,” tweeted Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change. “Companies that stay with Twitter at this point will be tied to these dangerous and unhinged policy changes.”
The company’s subscription product Twitter Blue, which launched on Wednesday and allows users to buy a verified blue checkmark for $8, has already resulted in various accounts being verified despite impersonating brands or notable figures. Some civil rights groups worry that a lack of clarity on content moderation policies and the unrestrained ability to buy a blue checkmark could lead – if they haven’t already – to a scourge of hate speech and spread of misinformation. They have called on more brands to pause their advertisements on the platform.
“I have never seen a billionaire begging for your $8 this much,” said Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP. “Clearly, our efforts – calling on companies to pause all advertising on Twitter – are working. Corporations need to be held accountable, and Twitter is no exception. Hate speech and disinformation have no place anywhere.”
Under the company’s settlement with the FTC, Twitter is required to perform privacy reviews before it makes 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 that they heard the company’s head of legal, Alex Spiro, “say that Elon is willing to take on a huge amount of 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 FTC rules and privacy standards, according to the Verge.
In the letter, the lawyer said people should make use of the available whistleblower protections “if you feel uncomfortable about anything you’re being asked to do”.
Messages seeking comment were left with Twitter, but it is unlikely someone will respond as the communications department has been laid off.
Twitter’s relaunched premium service – which grants blue check verification labels to anyone willing to pay $8 a month – was unavailable on Friday after the social media platform was flooded by a wave of impostor accounts approved by Twitter.
The latest move caps a chaotic start for the new subscription service, one of the first major changes made by Elon Musk after taking over the company two weeks ago.
Before his $44bn purchase of the company, “blue check” was granted to celebrities and journalists verified by the platform – precisely to prevent impersonation. Now, anyone can get one as long as they have a phone, a credit card and $8 a month.
But the new service swiftly fell victim to impostors – with users parodying everyone from Pope Francis to George W Bush. The pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co was forced to apologize after an impostor account tweeted that insulin was free. Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, Musk’s own Tesla and SpaceX were also impersonated as well as the accounts of various professional sports figures.
For advertisers who have put their business in Twitter on hold, the fake accounts could be the last straw as Musk’s rocky run atop the platform – laying off half the workforce and triggering high-profile departures – raises questions about its survivability.
There are now two categories of “blue checks” and they look identical. One includes the accounts verified before Musk took the helm, and notes that “This account is verified because it’s notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category” – a message that can be seen by clicking on the checkmark itself. The other notes that the account subscribes to Twitter Blue.
An email sent to Twitter’s press address went unanswered. The company’s communications department was gutted in the layoffs.
On Thursday, Musk tweeted that “too many corrupt legacy Blue ‘verification’ checkmarks exist, so no choice but to remove legacy Blue in coming months.”
Twitter Blue was not available on the platform’s online version, which said signup was only possible on the iPhone version. But the iPhone version did not offer Twitter Blue as an option.
Twitter also once again began adding gray “official” labels to some prominent accounts. It had rolled out the labels earlier this week, only to kill them a few hours later.
They returned on Thursday night, at least for some accounts – including Twitter’s own, as well as big companies like Amazon, Nike and Coca-Cola, before many vanished again.
Celebrities also did not appear to be getting the “official” label.
Free speech does not mean that you can abuse a private company's service in any way you want. If you want to stand on a public street corner and spout racist speech, that is your right. If you stand in the middle of a Cracker Barrel dining room, you will be shown the door at a minimum or perhaps arrested. If your homeowners' association has a public announcement board by the swimming pool and you want to post antisemitic posters there, they are completely within their rights to take them down and ban you. The NYT does not have to publish every letter that arrives in its inbox. Private companies do not have to permit their resources to be used in ways they don't approve of or in ways inimical to their mission. That's why there are "Terms of Service". Prior to this buyout, the purpose of Twitter as a public company was to return a profit to its stakeholders. 1 It made the call that allowing hate speech to thrive on its service would dissuade advertisers (who make up 90% of Twitter's revenue), so they took steps to limit it. Musk is making a different calculation, but Free Speech doesn't mean that you can demand someone else pay for it.
I assumed you were talking about speech on Twitter. If you were meant speech in the public forum, sure.
Amazingly, you still don't get it. Again, people who believe in free speech allow free speech. People who don't believe in free speech don't. I do. It applies to anywhere, including Twitter.