back to article Elon Musk issues ultimatum to Twitter staff: Go hardcore or go home

Following a public engineering spat and multiple firings, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has issued an ultimatum to his employees: get hardcore or get out of my way. It turns out he was not talking about punk rock, or road construction, but the vision of a new Twitter, the 2.0 iteration of the pioneering social media platform he was …

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      1. A. Coatsworth
        Mushroom

        Re: Waste El-Reg Space

        You provided your own counter-example:

        " who really cares about Twitter?" After the missile strikes in Poland yesterday, the Polish goverment, Us President, UK Defence Minister, Zelensky... all of them jumped straight to Twitter to emit their first declarations.

        News sites lifted those declarations straight from Twitter, because it became the defacto channel for governments.

        If you think a bout it for more than 3 seconds, it is obviously terrible that Twitter became the official communication channel, but it is what it is and despite Musk's best efforts it will take a long time for these important figures(1) to move to somewhere else.

        (1) I am not talking about vapid celebrities who have trown their tantrums already, but people who hold real power.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @A. Coatsworth - Re: Waste El-Reg Space

          You forgot to mention the Russian government. Oh, sorry, I forgot they are not allowed on Twitter.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @A. Coatsworth - Waste El-Reg Space

            well, they already have Elon Musk, they don't need another spoke-person...

          2. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: @A. Coatsworth - Waste El-Reg Space

            I wonder who NAFO are shitposting then.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Waste El-Reg Space

          If you look at lots of reports from the Ukraine and Russia you're more likely to see "source Telegram" than anything else. For anything official it's a piece of piss to broadcast to multiple media simultaneously, which is how it should be. It's the news sites that need to life their game. And they will, if they want to keep up, just as they did when Twitter became a thing.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Fair

          But is highlights the more important question:

          Why are we trying to replace Twitter with a new Twitter?

          The world had it's ups and downs before social media existed, but we didn't walk around in circles all day with a confused look on our face wondering what was missing in our lives.

          Social media as it exists is an exercise in circular reasoning. The only reason to put up with all the terrible parts are things we had and did better before social media networks took over the world. We don't need them, we never did, they were always a synthetic barrier to to real communication that exists to extract profit, exert influence, distract and annoy. It exists to self perpetuate.

          I say let Twitter burn. I say let them all burn, and spend the time you'd waste building another yoke for yourselves porting the few things you actually enjoy off of these platforms and onto something that just does that, without the vampire squid of ad networks and a firehose of rage-machine/fake-AI curated lies, brain rot, ads and scams injected into people brains.

          I fail to see the downside to human civilization by going back to life without the Huxley machines driving us all collectively mad. We have a lot to do over the next couple of decades, Twitter isn't helping, nether is Meta, or the rest. With them slowing us down, you may not make it. You probably won't miss them that much either.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Fair

            I don't use these services, and I wouldn't object if they simply ceased to exist. Other people do like them, and they want them, and people know they could make money by giving those people what they want. Whatever you may think of them, it's not us who get to decide if a replacement is made. If the original falls, there will be many attempts at replacing it and we will have to deal with that, whether we like it, hate it, or are indifferent.

          2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: Fair

            Personally, I'm not trying to replace it. The last couple of years have illustrated that the once much vaunted idea of the "network effect" has reached its limits and users are more than happy to use multiple apps and jump between them.

            Much of the media has zeroed in on services like Twitter because they make reporting easier, and therefore, cheaper. Journalists are often in love with the idea of the voice of the people.

        4. Tom Paine

          Re: Waste El-Reg Space

          It's also where the precise model of missile was first publicly identified (and reliably attributed to Ukraine, as Russia apparently don't operate that specific variant) by 11pm, roughly 12h before that news broke 3lsewhere. (@UAweapons, if you're into that sort of bang-bang trainspotting.)

        5. sabroni Silver badge

          Re: I am not talking about vapid celebrities who have trown their tantrums already

          Au contraire, we are definitely talking about Musk and his tantrums are plentiful.

      2. HereIAmJH

        Re: Waste El-Reg Space

        Telegram has an image problem, since they are the preferred system for conspiracy theorists and YouTube scammers.

        And if they are about free speech, why do I need to download an app and sign up for an account if all I want to do is read what people are saying? They still get their page hits and ad views without putting everything in a walled garden, they just can't collect my personal info and link it to ads.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Waste El-Reg Space

          Telegram was popular in places with strict censorship long before it was discovered by the freaks. I think they were attracted primarily by the size of the groups and channels, which other services couldn't offer at the time, along with the robustness. Personally, I see receive almost no spam on it, and our local computer group has a low tech bot that keeps spam almost down to zero.

          I've yet to see an ad on Telegram, though I know they're now techically possible, but funding seems to be biased subscriptions from heavy users. I suspect I and many others would drop it as soon as ads appear.

          A bigger risk for any of these services, is how much data they actually store on their servers and who can get access to it. Telegram has been the source of much ire from governments for refusing to divulge any of this, though it has always agreed to act against certain types of communication. Protecting free speech inevitably means providing some room for the freaks so that others can still be heard.

    1. aerogems Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Waste El-Reg Space

      That's a pretty big assumption... that Twitter will even be around come Feb.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Waste El-Reg Space

      Sir, this is Arby's.

  1. aerogems Silver badge
    Mushroom

    I don't know

    I don't know what exactly Musk's personal problem(s) is/are, but the window to sort them out and maybe still salvage Twitter is almost closed and rapidly shutting. I don't know if he's got some kind of personality disorder like bipolar, if it's some kind of drug abuse, if it's his narcissism has reached a critical inflection point, if it's something else, if it's some combination of the above or if it's even all of the above. It doesn't really matter, if the guy doesn't get his shit together ASAP, Twitter is going to be dead by end of year, and then he's just going to turn his attention back to Tesla, SpaceX, and the rest and repeat this process over again.

    The only thing that MIGHT save Twitter at this point is if Musk personally walks away and appoints someone to run it in his place. Similar to Ms. Shotwell over at SpaceX, who may be guilty of indulging her boss' whims like propositioning flight attendants and firing employees who just want the hurricane of shit that follows Musk everywhere to go away so they can focus on their jobs, but she is a very talented administrator/executive the way SpaceX manages to function like a well-oiled machine IN SPITE of Musk's antics. If he can find someone like that to take over Twitter, there's a small chance it could be saved and turned around, but we're at the point where the hero of the movie has to get a running start and slide under the door, to only just barely make it before it closes.

    1. RockBurner

      Re: I don't know

      Save twitter? Didn't he buy it to destroy it?

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: I don't know

        I expected his proposals for Twitter would destroy it unintentionally. Musk worked out that driving Twitter in his preferred direction would destroy its value both financially and as a platform for advertising pump and dump schemes - hence the desperate attempts to get out of the merger agreement.

        Musk fans have a technique for being right all the time just like I can hit gold every time at archery:

        1) fire an arrow at a barn

        2) paint a target where it hits

        The "Musk destroying Twitter intentionally" idea is just fans looking for possible places to paint a target. If it were actually true it would be Musk painting the target on his own back and the arrows would be fired by the investors and bankers who helped him buy Twitter.

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: I don't know

          "1) fire an arrow at a barn

          Surely "shoot an arrow"

          The only reason we 'fire' guns is because in the early days fire had to be applied to the touch hole of a gun to set off the charge. The sole case where fire is relevant to an arrow is that of a fire arrow, when it's applied to the sharp end.

          1. MrDamage Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: I don't know

            "Loose, or release" an arrow.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I don't know

              Or, in my case the first time I tried, lose an arrow :-)

          2. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: I don't know

            Needed pedant icon. But yes.

            1. Someone Else Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: I don't know

              Needed pedant icon.

              You mean, this one? - - - - >

        2. breakfast
          Flame

          Re: I don't know

          I think it is quite posible that some of the investors expected that his purchase might destroy Twitter and decided if it did, they wouldn't mind- there are investment institutions from the Saudi and Chinese regimes on that list and a globally available platform at least somewhat dedicated to free speech is not convenient for either of those. If he made it profitable, they were quids in, if he destroyed it they would be rid of a thorn in their sides and the world's former richest man would owe them a truly incredible amount of money. If they can afford to be gamblers, this is not a bad bet.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I doubt that is what his other backers wanted.

          And I suspect that the arrows may come at some point, but loosing them now would only further degrade their investment, so I expect they will try to ride it out a bit longer. Remember that they get Zeroed out if the company goes bankrupt, so I expect that they want to stabilize the bleeding, then force Musk to sell them the remainder of corpse to stave of bankruptcy.

          If Musk fouls that up, I expect that you might literally find him with an arrow in his back.

          The long game for MBS and China here is to seize the Twitter name, access to it's user data, and merge it with something like TikTok to create the unholy mother of all evil social media empires. Bonus points to them if Musk succeeds in wiring Twitter up to the western financial markets like he did at Paypal. They don't need or probably want a viable Twitter, they just want to pick it's bones or take the name and wear it's skin like a suit.

          What this thing called Twitter is becoming, don't just let it die, kill it with fire before it hatches something worse.

      2. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: I don't know

        I don't think even he knows why he initially offered to buy it. We can reasonably infer that there's something so damning in one of the two US regulator investigations Musk is under that he was willing to torch $44bn to keep it under wraps for as long as possible. But as to what he was thinking when he made his initial offers... I don't think even Musk knows. Not sure if the guy is just abusing "brain building" drug cocktails popular with the tech bro scene, if his smoking weed has activated some kind of mental disorder that he was genetically disposed to, or if he's just on like the mother of all manic episodes with bipolar disorder, but the end result is that he has royally fucked up.

        The Tesla and SpaceX boards should be holding emergency meetings to discuss whether to force Musk to take some kind of temporary leave of absence before he gets bored with Twitter and turns his attention back to the other two. Force him to take a year away to go into rehab and/or get treatment for whatever the fuck is going on. If he can get his shit together he can be welcomed back, otherwise they can just fire him.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That ship probably sailed

          They could have(and ethically should have) staged an intervention for Musk decades ago. Instead the took the other road, creating a bubble for him as they covered up the "incidents" and looked the other way. Like so many other grasping hands, willing to enable the downward spiral as long as they got something out of it.

          How many rockstars and atheletes and titans of industry has this killed over the years? how many monsters were made left to hunt and victimize the world? Jackson, Cuomo, Manson, Prince, Harvey, Musk, Depp, all lived in a bubble protected by a circle of grasping hands that were willing to look the other way.

          1. aerogems Silver badge
            Pirate

            Re: That ship probably sailed

            I agree, but at this point there's basically no covering things up anymore. It's all happening, in public, and being covered pretty extensively even by mainstream media, not just tech media. So, at this point they either cut bait or go down with the ship.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I don't know

      I don't know what exactly Musk's personal problem(s) is/are, but the window to sort them out and maybe still salvage Twitter is almost closed and rapidly shutting. I don't know if he's got some kind of personality disorder like bipolar, if it's some kind of drug abuse, if it's his narcissism has reached a critical inflection point, if it's something else, if it's some combination of the above or if it's even all of the above.

      I'd say all the above. Numerous news articles have documented these. Is he a genius or just nuts? Both probably. He reminds me of certain politicians.

      Personally, I would have been out the door pretty quick. He doesn't listen to anyone. At a former company that worked for (several actually), the owners all said they wanted people working for them that were smarter than they were. Musk is opposite. He thinks he's smarter than everyone else.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I don't know

        "Is he a genius or just nuts? Both probably. "

        So, that would an UNstable genius then? Sounds about right for anyone who brags about being a stable genius.

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Re: I don't know

      Musk is the problem and indeed Musk should remove himself from the company if he ever wants to see a dollar of that $44billion ever again.

      If I worked in other Musk companies I'd be worried about him wading back into SpaceX or Tesla with a vengeance. Twitter is doomed. He may react to that by taking back the reigns of, say, SpaceX. Would you want that, as an employee?

      SpaceX for all its success is on the edge of disaster, if Musk's infamous letter of last year's thanksgiving is to be taken literally. They are likely only a few key firings (of people) away from falling over that edge... He could so easily trash the whole thing with a single careless email.

    4. Plest Silver badge

      Re: I don't know

      Put simply, he has very rich parents ( they owned an emerald mine in SA! ) and he's still acting like the spoilt brat he's always been.

  2. Alistair
    Windows

    In other news

    Mastodon subscriptions are continuing to rise.

    Popcorn sales are through the roof!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news

      So long as they keep away from Gab then I'm happy. It is nice and peaceful there with lots of top notch memes, cats and discussing the best ways to cook steaks.

      1. Elongated Muskrat

        Re: In other news

        Quick, time for everyone to head back to b3ta.com, the original well-spring of tasty internet memes...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: In other news

          https://www2.b3ta.com/buffyswear/

          1. Elongated Muskrat

            Re: In other news

            I didn't even need to follow that link to know it's the Buffy swearing keyboard. That particular cultural reference dates not only that, but also me...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: In other news

              It doesn't get old!

    2. aerogems Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: In other news

      I'm still kicking myself for not dumping a bunch of money into popcorn futures when Musk decided he would buy Twitter. I could have retired on all this drama!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: In other news

        It was the perfect time to use bitcoin to buy popcorn shares :-)

        Too bad you missed it.

        (Posted from the beach on my iPad in the Bahamas)

        PS, no not my coat. It's too warm for a coat. ------------>

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: In other news

      Mastodon delivers some interesting articles- if you happen to stumble upon them or search with sufficient diligence. But it's a collection of silos- so articles within its fold are unlikely to gain general public traction. It's just a totally different thing.

  3. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    Next installment?

    Everyone is fired and he tries to move operations, development and so on to Russia.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Next installment?

      Why oh why did I think of this...

      https://youtu.be/TEIqTBasNrQ

  4. BOFH in Training Bronze badge

    Just a thought

    Maybe a conspiracy theory, which came to mind :

    Whats the chance that some government which does not like Twitter but Musk wants to deal with (due to Tesla, SpaceX, or other companies) has a metaphorical gun to Musk's head, asking him to discredit / destroy Twitter for him to get whatever deal he wants?

    Frankly, am aware of only China having possible leverage over Musk due to Tesla's factory / sales in China, but am sure a few other governments are just as happy with how things are going at Twitter currently. Maybe even Russia, India, etc (but they don't have the leverage over Musk, as far as I know).

    1. fandom

      Re: Just a thought

      Twitter needed discrediting?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a thought

      Saudis are the biggest investor in Twitter

      They now have access to all the data on everyone's tweets: US journalists that need to be disassembled, dissidents at home that need to be visited by the secret police to be dialogued with.

      They probably also noticed the role Twitter played in various arabic democracy movemnets

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just a thought

        The Saudis were also a major shareholder in the before times.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just a thought

        Have a downvote for this hideous verbing of a noun: need to be visited by the secret police to be dialogued with

        1. MiguelC Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Just a thought

          Verbing weirds language. So what?

          1. Bill Gray
          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Just a thought

            It's the weirding way!

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