back to article Twitter, Musk, and a week of bad decisions

You could say Twitter, now in its second week of Elon Musk's reign, has had an interesting week. That would be an understatement. Trying to keep up with the unfolding saga that is Musk's ownership of the microblogging platform isn't easy. Since Monday several high-profile leaders have left the company, product changes have …

  1. sarusa
    Devil

    So reassuring

    "Musk's own lawyer also reportedly tried to reassure staff, saying none of them would be going to jail, regarding the situation with the FTC."

    Translation: You're going to be Elmo's fall guys, SUCKERS. Also enjoy those mandatory 80 hour weeks with mandatory presence in the office.

    Why are you still working for this twat?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So reassuring

      It was made clear the people putting up with it are wage-slaves on work visas, trapped there by government paperwork. :(

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: So reassuring

      Why are you still working for this twat?

      The inboxes of HR directors all across Silicon Valley have to be bursting with the resumes of fired or planning to quit ASAP Twitter employees!

      1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge
        Mushroom

        Re: So reassuring

        That thing about not speaking badly of your old employer in interviews? It's waived for ex-Twitterites -- the other thing, the one about about not lying, kinda trumps it.

    3. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: So reassuring

      If I was employed by Twitter, and forced to work in the office I would work the exact amount of hours under my contract and I would leave exactly on the minute. And I would also be looking for another job.

      1. Sampler

        Re: So reassuring

        You can force people to be present in an office, you can't force them to work in one...

    4. EricB123 Bronze badge

      Re: So reassuring

      So the 2 downvotes so far are Elon and his lawyer I guess?

  2. Steven Raith

    Hmm.

    Perhaps Musk is going on the idea that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    And presumably, as a rich kid who hasn't been told 'no' enough, no-one told him about Gerald Ratner, as that might burst his precious little bubble.

    Google it.

    Steven R

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Hmm.

      And then go for a prawn sandwich...

      (from someone old enough to remember it, without the aid of Google).

    2. James Anderson

      Re: Hmm.

      Well apart from a few embarrassing newspaper articles, the worse that happened were some extra expenses renaming the stores and printing new letter heads. Google signet jerkers.

  3. MrMerrymaker

    rich n dumb

    He peaked years ago. Lost touch.

    Anyone admiring Musk now... Er, get priorities.

    Still, if he takes Twitter down I won't lose sleep!

  4. Winkypop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    It will end in “twears”

    Twitter is done.

    It’s possible that Musk is done.

    His backers must be very nervous.

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: It will end in “twears”

      His "backers" are probably preparing to sue him into the bankruptcy the moment things are clearly irrecoverable.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: It will end in “twears”

        Apparently some of them have already sold their investment on, at $0.40 in the $1. 'Nuff said...

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: It will end in “twears”

      Twitter is capable of making money. If Musk can't do it, a more corporate type will be brought in to try and turn it around. Maybe that will involve a bankruptcy and a buy out. But Twitter is not done till it's down to a few tens of millions of users.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: "done"

        There is "done" as a functional business, and "done" in being socially relevant in a social business.

        Twitter is quickly going towards "done" in the latter definition. Snap, anyone??

        1. Excused Boots

          Re: "done"

          And indeed in the former sense as well.

          If Twitter can't make money and has no obvious route or means to do so in the near future, then it is a zombie organisation just waiting for someone to put a metaphorical bullet in its head!

          How many users it has, isn't directly relevant, the vast majority won't pay a single penny for the privilege, their only worth is to convince advertisers of the 'reach' they can get - except current and potential advertisers are being a bit 'oh hang on a minute, not too sure about the way this is going - don't really want my advert appearing anywhere near a post extolling the virtues of the Third Reich - think I'll pass on this and see how it all pan out!'

          Any while they wait and see, that's money that Twitter isn't getting. Which means further cuts in staffing, which means.......

          Elon, see that thing you are currently circling? It's called 'the drain'!

  5. that one in the corner Silver badge

    Twitter engagement is up

    In this corner, at least.

    I've never read so many tweets before - this whole saga has me hooked now!

    What will the next parody be? Who should I follow to get the best round up of the day's juicy "I quit!" tweets? What advertisers will still be here tomorrow? Will Elon continue to tweet as though he really is doing tech support for celebs? How long until Elon is the only one left and really is doing the tech support?

    All these questions, and more, will be answered on this episode of - Musk!

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Twitter engagement is up

      ...Till the final, spectacular episode in which the National Guard is called in to help restore order... *rolling eyes*

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No free lunch for bots

    It's reported more than 140,000 accounts had signed up for the latest Twitter Blue suite of features, which nets $13.4 million a year.

    I've seen the figure for the ratio of paid to freemium accounts across most social media to be 1%. Assuming half of 273 million "monetizable" users are real, that 140K paid is about the predicted number.

    If Musk could get the bots to pay - that could pull in tens of billions.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: No free lunch for bots

      If someone shorted Eli Lily before faking the free insulin tweet then they could have got an excellent return for their $8. This highlights several problems for Musk's business model. He could have charged far more, by taking a significant share of the fraud he would become a co-conspirator, Elizabeth Holmes could tell him there are consequences to committing securities fraud against rich people and after getting burned three or four thousand times a few investors might start listening to what Musk's libel lawyers have been saying for years: "Twitter is a home to invective and hyperbole. No reasonable person would use it as a source or factual information."

      Eventually faking insane tweets from large corporations would not cause panic selling and Musk would have to come up with a new scheme like offering higher interest on deposits than an Icelandic bank.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: No free lunch for bots

      It could, but as of yesterday the $8 blue tick doesn't exist for new subscribers.

      It's difficult to keep up, I know...

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: No free lunch for bots

        Yup, just took a look on my Android phone. The features are all ‘Coming Soon’ with a message at the bottom that subscription is limited to iOS at the moment. iOS users report they can’t use it.

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Publicity isn't always good

    The surge of traffic is to watch Twitter fail. Now it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If it doesn't immediately fail, everyone will lose interest and it will fail.

    The $8 blue mark was Musk not understanding how the site works. You don't charge fees to your content producers. Most blue tick buyers were just buying one for kicks. They won't buy another one.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Publicity isn't always good

      "Musk not understanding how the site works. You don't charge fees to your content producers."

      Content producers using twitter to reach customers would find $8 a month to be a huge bargain to promote themselves.

      And it will weed out the gobshites

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Publicity isn't always good

        "Content producers using twitter to reach customers would find $8 a month to be a huge bargain to promote themselves."

        You appear not to understand what the $8 is for. They already have a program doing what you suggest. It's called advertising and it costs a lot more with more controls. This program doesn't do the same things and does not offer the possible benefits that posting ads does.

      2. Alumoi Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Publicity isn't always good

        What part of 'it doesn't prove you're the person you claim to be' you don't understand?

        It's just 8 bucks for a blue tick. Here, I just wasted 8 bucks and now I'm jmch on twatter.

    2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      Re: Publicity isn't always good

      Additionally... you don't try to pick a fight with a senator who's on the Communication, Media % Broadband subcommittee, the subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety and data security... and the subcommittee on space & science... oh... and to round that off... the subcommittee on surface transportation, maritime, freight and ports.

      Nor should you introduce a system that allows rampant impersonation for just $8 a month that allows people to wipe 6 billion of of a pharmacuticals company, and tank the stock of a military contractor.

      It's a car crash... except rather than people being warned to avoid the area because of the rubber neckers slowing down to take a look... people are driving in from all over the country because it could be a chance to witness a moment in history...

      Where were you when muskrat crashed twitter... front and centre tweeting as @LockheedMartini and @NestleDeathCult

  8. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Trollface

    "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform"

    Ah, now that makes a lot more sense of Musk's statements.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform"

      it may also have been his goal to turn in into a speech-free platform

    2. Snowy Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform"

      "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform" hahahaha!!!

      Love that line in the article :)

    3. JimBob01
      Headmaster

      Re: "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform"

      Strange that "right to parody" is an important component of free speech (via copyright) ...except when dealing with a "free speech advocat" it seems.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform"

        Parody, contradicting the Chief Twit ... these are contexts in which Muskian free speech does not apply.

    4. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      Re: "turning Twitter into a fee-speech platform"

      He's never wanted 'free speech' for anyone but himself... and in his mind... 'free speech' means being able to say and do anything you want free from the consequences of your own actions.

  9. mobailey

    For a Comparison

    Twitter under Musk is looking like the UK under Truss.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: For a Comparison

      Come now, by comparison Musk is an amateur! Truss cost £65B in intervention in half the time he has been screwing around with Twitter, and also a massive long-term cost to the UK's reputation (and thus international borrowing costs):

      https://metro.co.uk/2022/11/04/uk-was-hours-away-from-potential-meltdown-after-trusss-mini-budget-17698497/

      Both are excellent examples of hubris in action, sadly we all pay somehow.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: For a Comparison

        The commentards from Tufton Street will be along shortly to tell you her mistake was not going far enough.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: For a Comparison

          Hmmm, so far they don't seem to have turned up... Lesson learned by them?

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: For a Comparison

        Another way in which Musk is an amateur is that he's done it with his own money. All pros know that, if you're to blow 10xbillions, best do it with someone else's money...

        1. Snowy Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: For a Comparison

          Quite a lot of it is not his own and of his "own" money quite a lot of that was government money paid to his other businesses.

        2. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

          Re: For a Comparison

          Note that his purchase saddled Twitter, not the Musk-rat personally, with that $13b debt. Nice trick, Elon -- forcing the company to pay for its own demolition.

  10. BinkyTheHorse
    Trollface

    > Twitter's annual revenue was $5 billion in 2021. Let that sink in.

    I see what you did there. Although, right now, it's more like "let that sink".

  11. bazza Silver badge

    Close it Down and Get Out Quick

    At least, that's what I'd advise, if I gave a damn about the guy.

    If he does bail out, that's going to cost him north of $44billion in total, but right now it's the only rational thing to do. He's holding a nearly valueless asset (made valueless by his ownership) that is going to cost $1billion a year in finance costs plus all its operating costs (I'm assuming the ad revenue collapses). And that's without actually paying off any debt. He's already had to sell more Tesla stock, and at some point he's going to run out of Tesla shares to sell. Plus, every minute Twitter is run like this risks large regulatory fines which will further suppress ad revenue.

    If he wants to get out of this still owning a substantial portion of Tesla and for that to still be worth a lot of money, he needs to get out whilst the Tesla share price can still support such an exit. If he gets out now, for only $50billion, he will be fortunate. If the Tesla share prices takes a major slide, I think he could end up personally bankrupt.

    This is Going to Hurt People

    And it already is. There's former employees on a visa whose lives are about to be massively altered by being thrown out of the USA. There's a pensions scheme - I don't know of its structure or arrangements - but there's people with pension money stacked up that's possibly at risk. If the company totally collapses, there's a bunch more employees who'll be looking for a job.

    This Could Damage SpaceX and Tesla

    Who'd want to go work for a Musk-run company now?

    US Gov

    Twitter is a vector for social influence, and it will be exploited by those opposed to US democracy. He's just made that easier to accomplish, though he's also reduced its impact (so many people a quitting Twitter).

    Also, so far Uncle Sam is a customer of SpaceX, but has no stake in it or real control over it. Falcon 9 is now quite important to the US government, and geopolitically there's quite a lot riding on Super Heavy / StarShip being successful. There's probably a fair few geopolitical types in the US government who'd far rather that SpaceX was more traditionally aligned with the US's military-industrial complex's norms (apart from price), and less susceptible to the whims of someone who obviously doesn't like being beholden to the federal government, and is also a foreign national.

    It's possible he's over-annoyed the federal government, and has made himself something of a target. He's definitely annoyed the FAA by routinely and regularly insulting them, he's annoyed the SEC by so blatantly ignoring the rules of business and insulting them. The federal gov will play things by the book, but there may be those whom are reading the book very carefully, and totting up the opportunities opened up by Musk, his behaviour, and the situations he's pushed himself into.

    You don't prod sleeping tigers with a stick for the fun of it...

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

      Pride comes before a fall. And this one will be spectacular, worth a (probably already planned) Hollywood movie...

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

        If there aren't already a dozen biographies being written, and hundreds of movie scripts being shopped around, I'd be very, very surprised, Hollywood thrives on sordid and pathetic stories like the life of Musk the Man.

        1. BackToTheFuture

          Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

          But which Hollywood movie star will play Musk?

          My tip's Mr Bean.

          1. John Riddoch

            Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

            I'm wondering if you meant Rowan Atkinson the actor, or actually just Mister Bean...

            1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

              Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

              Sean Bean... or is it pronounced Sean Bean... or even Sean Bean, maybe even Sean Bean?

              Some of you right now are muttering Shorn Born, Seen Been or Seen Born in your heads... the rest are sitting there with a confused look on their faces.

    2. sev.monster
      Holmes

      Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

      But... What if?

      What if Musk, someone that has always derided Twitter, came in with the intention to destroy it?

      If that was his goal, he's doing a fine job. Two weeks and the company is already crumbling.

      ...And if it wasn't, good Lord could you have done any worse.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

        I've made that very same suggestion in comments on one of the many other El Reg Twitter articles. But on reflection, some of his investors such as the Saudi Wealth Fund and Qatar may be the types to take such losses personally, and both have form for "disappearing" people they don't like. Does he think he's "too big to disappear" or have that much trust in his personal security?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

          He just knows he's smarter than anybody else. And richer. And more influential, and more handsome, and more...

      2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

        For 44 billion, surely you could have created something new from the ground up and offered to start paying content creators to use it... which will pull in users and advertisers.

        I think he's just going full on cartoon villain from some 9th rate kids movie... one where the bad guy gets defeated by a couple of 9yr olds.

        First kayne offs his career and and now muskrat is going 'here... hold my beer'

        1. Excused Boots

          Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

          Well yes, of course for that sum on money he may well have been able to stand up a viable medium/long term competitor to Twitter.

          Unfortunately he allowed his mouth to run away while his brain was still getting out of bed!

          Making a stupid, knee-jerk reaction promise to buy the company (and the guy does really have form for this sort of run-away twattery), is fine, except the ex-CEO of Twitter actually had the balls to pull him up on it and force the issue!

          I've said it before, but I suspect that Elon is a genuine well-meaning but ultimately flawed human like the rest of us, he just happens to be the richest person on the planet (well on paper anyway), so what he does, or says has disproportional effects. What he really, really needs is a close confidant able to say to him, 'Elon, you are a really clever person in some fields, just not this one, so stop believing in your own mythology and back off. Because, sorry to say, you are sounding like a bit of a fucking idiot!'

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      The federal gov will play things by the book,

      Which is obviously thick and heavy.

      And can be thrown.

      1. Excused Boots

        Re: The federal gov will play things by the book,

        With quite a good degree of accuracy, I'm sure!

    4. John Smith 12345

      Re: Close it Down and Get Out Quick

      You've nailed it there in the first section: Close it down.

      TBH, I don't have a great deal of sympathy for the Twitter staff losing there jobs as most have been lucky to have kept them for this long - given the daily $4 million in losses.

      Maybe, along with Facebook's nose-dive, this is a long overdue dot com bubble burst for social media. It hasn't really had one yet.

  12. Ordinary Donkey

    Fair play to the impostor

    One insulin producer lost 16 billion in value because people thought it was possible that they would stop gouging money out of diabetics.

    Given that there are a million American diabetics who cannot afford insulin, well done on bringing the mess into the media.

    (source)

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Fair play to the impostor

      And coincidentally all the rest of the pharmaceutical sector of the SP500 were down by roughly the same amount that day.

      1. Ordinary Donkey

        Re: Fair play to the impostor

        Yeah, that's what happens to your stock price when people think you're being undercut.

        Fair play to the people who made people think that.

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "he's not afraid of the FTC"

    <yoda>He will be.

    He will be</yoda>

  14. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    It's Brewster's Millions

    In real life! Our man, Elon has to blow all his cash in order to get even more... https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088850/

    There can't be any other explanation, can there?? I'll let the commentards decide!

  15. Dacarlo

    This entire debacle has me looking to Mastodon as an alternative to both Twatter and Farcebook. I just don't know if its any good.

    1. Aussie Doc
      Trollface

      Well...

      ...I use Mastadon - most of the folk I follow on Twitter are moving to it and letting everyone know but the interface takes some time to get used to.

      They are also reporting a big increase in the number of members coming from Twitter (it was in my feed recently but I can't quickly work out how to find it).

      I guess like most things you weigh up the pros and con.

      Like the Swiss flag, not having Musk involved is a big plus.

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Well...

        Apparently the problem with Mastodon is choosing the right server. Seems nobody can advise which you will be presented with. It also seems hellish hard to change servers. That limits who you can interact with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well...

          Changing servers on Mastodon is not that difficult and you can take all your followers and people you follow with you. The biggest downside is that you can't take the posts you've already made with you.

          So, please:

          a) don't start at Mastodon.social. That server is so incredibly overworked that you won't like the experience.

          b) if you have initially chosen Mastodon.social, move before you've built up a precious set of posts.

          Here in the UK I would probably recommend Mastodonapp.uk, Mastodon.scot or Toot.wales. In Ireland I would recommend Mastodon.ie. All big servers talk to each other (like GMail talks to YahooMail) so the whole Mastodon world is your oyster regardless of the server. Unless you choose one of those servers that seem dedicated to the Hitlerfans, c*nts, lolicon, trolls etc. Accounts on those servers may find themselves blocked from talking to some other servers.

          If you're leaving Twitter (or play on both for a while), put your new Mastodon profile in your Twitter bio (and/or a Pinned Post). There are tools that help people migrate from Twitter to Mastodon and they can advise your followers that you have an account on Masto now too. They spit out a CSV of Twitter users you can import into Masto.

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: Well...

            If you use Twitter for a niche interest only, also worth looking for Mastodon servers that are focused on that area e.g. https://infosec.exchange/about (as that may be of interest to some reg folk)

            .. Main reason I visit twitter is following news (mainly IT news, but not exclusively) that links to tweets with lots of details.

            One thing I do like about Twitter is that (unlike FB which restricts you to seeing a tiny amount of posts as a non member) you can see lots of tweets without having to be signed up to Twitter (though Musk probably plans to change that) & ads are relatively infrequent / unobtrusive (probably why it was losing money! or maybe you see more if you are signed up)

            1. peachy001

              Re: Well...

              From what I can tell, Twitter is just a low rent porn platform.

              And, I have yet to see a single ad, aside from user links to Onlyfans.

              Genuinely, where are the ads?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well...

        I had created a Mastodon account a few years ago but didn't become properly active until early this year. Initially it was mostly techies talking about tech, at least in the circles that I found.

        That changed a bit with the first wave around the time that Musk started to signal interest in buying Twitter. There was a sudden influx of people who were interested in art, music, politics, and other non-tech stuff and topics tended to be more diversified. The peaks were about 2000 new signups per hour.

        The last two weeks have been truly insane and it's understandable that servers were creaking under the influx of new users. There have been peaks of about 9000 signups per hour and a million new users in the first ten days. Many admins have had to do emergency optimisations because the service had never been battle tested at this level.

        But, that's just the tech side. The truly remarkable bit is not the number of people but the type of people that have migrated from Twitter. There were well-known pockets of Twitter where just about anyone in that profession was active. There was EconTwitter, full of economists, or PaleontologyTwitter full of paleontologists, there was TradeLawTwitter etc. etc. In the last two weeks I have seen entire professions move from Twitter to Mastodon. First historians and astronomers, the second week came the economists, trade specialists, lawyers and journalists. People alerting the community who else had now landed on Masto and what their new handle is. #FollowBackFriday is now a thing on Mastodon. Stephen Fry closed his Twitter account and is now on Mastodon.

        There are now people who say they see more engagement on their Mastodon feed than on their Twitter feed. Some people run experiments by posting the same thing on both and see which one takes off. So far Mastodon seems to do better than Twitter on that front.

        The big problem for Musk is that fewer than 10% of Twitter users was a 'Heavy Tweeter', and were responsible for 90% of all Tweets. Not all Tweeters are equal. That I have left Twitter will not make any difference, that Stephen Fry with his many millions of followers has left Twitter will make a difference. And every country will have their own Stephen Fry, that one person that has a substantial part of the national Twitter population as their audience. If five million people leave Twitter for Mastodon this month but they happen to be a large part of the 'Heavy Tweeters' then Twitter is screwed.

    2. Alumoi Silver badge

      This entire debate has me thinking of creating a twatter account so I could proudly claim 'I was there at the end'.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Hmm. I think I still have one or two Twitter accounts. Not long after Twitter became a thing I created a personal account so I could follow some friends and family members; I stopped using it when Twitter went to OAuth because that broke integration with the RSS reader I was using, and I wasn't inclined to switch to something else.

        Then I created a work account some years later, on request from some Head Stooge of Social Media Wankage or some such office. I couldn't bear to follow the suggestion that I retweet marketing posts, though, so I never actually used that account for anything.

        I never posted anything to either, though. I was briefly amused that I had more than thirty followers of my personal account despite it never having a single post. Silence is golden, I suppose.

        So I guess I too will be there at the end, for an extremely small value of "there".

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

    ...he just spent $44B on Twitter. Twitter is a glorified online alternative to SMS texts.

    Firing 4000 people won't make a dent in even the interest payments for that investment... Everyone on Earth would need to sign up for a month of $8 blue ticks to pay that off...

    Wouldn't he be better off... you know... going away for a couple of weeks and writing a Twitter-like RFC and protocol definition? In actual fact, a whole bunch of stuff could do with standardisation and decentralisation: Twitter, Zoom , Facebook, Twitch.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

      So Mastodon, WebRTC, Diaspora, and PeerTube then.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

      That stuff has been decentralized. You can set up lots of turnkey open source services that do those things. Take Zoom, for instance. I have a server running Jitsi, an open source videoconferencing system. Mostly because when I set it up for 2020, I never shut it down, but it does still work. That's not the only option for that service. All you have to do is use one of those instead of using the free services that have some degree of support, don't require technical people to set up, and don't charge you for bandwidth. Is it that surprising that the average person isn't rushing out to copy my Jitsi server? When there is a person who wants decentralization, the software is often there for them to use.

      Also, do you really think Musk has the knowledge to write an RFC and protocol at all, let alone one that is designed well and scales correctly? I wouldn't count on it.

    3. Len
      Mushroom

      Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

      Twitter's problems are not technical, they are legal, regulatory, political, some times genocidal. Creating protocols or AI bots are not going to help you if you're summoned to appear in US Congress or European Parliament and explain why you took/did not take a certain action that has caused serious harm.

      That many legal and policy people have resigned or have been fired (allegedly the Brussels office has only two people left, just when the next twelve months will probably see more relevant regulatory action than the previous twelve years combined) signals big trouble ahead. The sea is full of icebergs and Musk has drawn the curtains and fired the lookouts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

        If the Brussels office only has two people in, it hardly seems worth paying to keep it open. Has he thought of shutting it down and asking them both to work from home?

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

          Nah. He's going to mandate they work at the office for 168 hours/week, thereby solving both the productivity and WFH issues in one fell swoop.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: I really don't understand the 50% workforce, 80 hour week thing...

      Twitter is a glorified online alternative to SMS texts.

      This is extremely unfair. Twitter is a glorified online alternative to MMS.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Grunchy Bronze badge

    I deleted Twitter months ago

    I never really understood what people were looking for with Twitter, anyway.

    1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      Re: I deleted Twitter months ago

      I joined it for one reason only: somebody's project to tweet WW2 in real time. Haven't even signed on in a decade.

      I suppose I should close that old account now, just to make a point...

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: I deleted Twitter months ago

        I've considered opening a few fake accounts, just to make a point.

      2. chosenZero

        Re: I deleted Twitter months ago

        "I joined it for one reason only: somebody's project to tweet WW2 in real time."

        Isn't it a bit late for that?

  19. DS999 Silver badge

    This is going to destroy's Tesla's stock price

    One of the reasons it has traded at such an absurd valuation is because a lot of fanboys see Musk as the smartest and savviest guy around, in both business and technology. Boy is he popping that bubble of overinflated hype in record time!

    Tesla will probably lose another 50% of value from that alone. More if he keeps selling shares after saying he was done selling shares.

    I'm kind of starting to wonder if he isn't showing signs of mental illness or brain injury or something. He's acted rashly in the past on occasion, but it seems like over the last couple years he's put that into overdrive and keeps doubling down on it.

    1. quxinot

      Re: This is going to destroy's Tesla's stock price

      We can only hope.

    2. Terafirma-NZ

      Re: This is going to destroy's Tesla's stock price

      So it's next week here and the Saga didn't stop over the weekend.

      Tesla (Musk via Twitter) announced that it wants to get Musk his shares back so is going to launch a round of share buybacks to increase its price. No doubt these will be awarded to the CEO for performance reasons.

      The last item left now is to announce that Tesla needs Twitter infra for its global management of robots and cars and so will be buying it for $50B of Tesla stock.

  20. mickaroo
    Mushroom

    Is "The Twitter Roundup"...

    ...going to become a weekly feature until Twitter implodes?

    1. Phil E Succour

      Re: Is "The Twitter Roundup"...

      Only if Twitter manages to last another week…

  21. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    caused Musk to ban "impersonators."

    What is an "impersonator"? Surely you can't create a Twitter account using an already taken name. So how can someone "be" Elon Musk without having some other, different letters or numbers in the name? Will every John Brown on Twiiter who is not the original John Brown now get kicked off? John Brown1, John Brown2 etc?

    Or does this ban on "impersonators" only apply to "famous" names? I bet there are corporate accounts that could be seen as "impersonators" because they have a similar or even the same company name in a different country or even just a different town to a similarly named company.

    This is the sort of thing that quick and rash decisions causes. And Musk seem to be running Twitter based on quick and rash decisions now.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: caused Musk to ban "impersonators."

      It usually involves choosing a username that looks like it might be correct but isn't, such as replacing characters with ones that look similar or padding it with something that would be logical, then relying on people who previously associated the check symbol with the account having been verified as correctly representing the person or organization it claimed to.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: caused Musk to ban "impersonators."

        It's a mash-up of monikers and usernames. An imagined search could easily turn up stuff which makes it hard to tell what's real or invented:

        Chicago Police @chicagopolice : It's our annual outreach programme this weekend

        Chicago Police @chicagopd [verified] : Pleased to welcome David Duke to the CPD community

        Chicago Police @real_chicagopolice [verified] : Supt. Aherm to discuss CPD failures tonight

        Chicago Police @chicago_police [verified] : Record black kill rate this month

        Chicago Police @chicago_cpd [verified] : CPD backs Trump for 2024

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the angst over Twitter?

    It’s not mandatory people.

    People!

    1. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      Re: Why the angst over Twitter?

      Not all of it is angst. There's a fair amount of Schadenfreude going on too, I presume.

  23. Jason Hindle

    Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

    He wants to turn Twitter into a payment platform while simultaneously struggling to verify people? I’d add that Zuckerberg has been desperate to turn the likes of WhatsApp into payment platforms, copying the Chinese, for years. The regulators and legacy finance systems are having none of it.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

      > The regulators and legacy finance systems are having none of it.

      Irrelevant: Those pesky issues all disappear like shadows in the sun before the mighty power of wishful thinking.

    2. Len
      Facepalm

      Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

      What I don't understand with all these suggested alternative plans that Musk is supposed to have, why start with spending tens of billions buying the headache that is Twitter Inc?

      He could have created a new start up (without all its legal, technical, human capital and financial debt), financed it with $1 billion in seed funding, and have the world's best funded startup laser focused at his latest goal and still have $13B more in his pocket than he has now. It just doesn't make business sense.

      1. Jason Hindle

        Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

        "He could have created a new start up (without all its legal, technical, human capital and financial debt)"

        And he could have simply set up his own Mastodon server on the cheap. What would Musk care if he ended up being thoroughly de-federated?

      2. Excused Boots

        Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

        Except than Elon never, ever actually wanted to own Twitter, his mouth simply ran away with him and he made stupid promises (for which he does had a degree of form, no?)

        Unfortunately he ran up against someone (the ex-CEO) who was prepared to push back and force the issue in the Courts - sorry Elon, you promised this, now deliver!

        Probably what he should have done, is had a really good look at the situation and paid up the, what was it, $1 billion for failing to follow through with the deal, and chalked it up to experience. Except he didn't, we had months and months of complaints about the number of supposed 'bots', the state of the company's finances etc, as reasons why he should be let off.

        Now you might have thought that world's richest person would be doing due diligence into a company before making a legally binding offer to purchase it, no? Seemingly not!

        But because, he couldn't bear the idea of admitting he'd made a bad mistake, paying up the sum required and walking away with his reputation slightly dented - he was forced into taking over the company, the debts involved proving to be a real existential threat to the future of 'Tesla' - I suspect that 'in extremis' Space-X will be fine, being nationalised and taken over by the US government because of its strategic importance.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

          Well, the CEO and board all pushed back and held him to it- remember the board? which has the majority of the stock? that they most likely have all cashed out the instant Muskie walked in with that damned sink?

          They all saw that as a way of jumping off an already slowly sinking ship.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Couple of contradictions in Musk’s plans…

        Well, besides the reasons others have already noted – most significantly that his mouth wrote a check that his backers then had to cash – it's worth noting that Musk is addicted to tweeting. So obsessive, irrational behavior regarding Twitter on his part is not unexpected.

  24. DrXym Silver badge

    It's fun watching it burn

    I like Twitter but at the end of the day it's not doing anything that couldn't be replicated by somebody else. So I am enjoying enormously watching Musk burn it all to the ground because he can't keep his stupid mouth shut and is suffering one unforced disaster after another - sacking half the workforce, being a massive hypocrite about free speech, being a dick in general, disastrously rolling out paid features, spooking all the advertisers and enabling a prankster to knock billions off the share price of a pharmaceutical company. And that's in the space of 2 weeks.

    I wonder how much Twitter is even worth at this point. He (and his investment partners & lenders) paid $44 billion and have crippling interest payments to cover too. I doubt the company is even worth half that now and rapidly nosediving as revenue plummets. Such fun!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's fun watching it burn

      Twitter is technically not all that difficult. Mastodon does the same, and on some fronts a lot better, and that was developed by two people with some volunteer contributions. It took six years or so to build and if they had a bigger team they could have maybe done it in two years. I believe that demonstrates that it's not that difficult.

      The value of Twitter is not in its technology, it's in what it has managed to become. In legislative capitals all over the world there will be playbooks that describe how to transition the official accounts to a new administration. It's completely normal for people of some stature or influence to have a well-known Twitter account. It's completely normal for official organisations to use it to communicate to stakeholders. It's completely normal for major brands to use it for customer service. Not many platforms can say the same.

      What made Twitter is the people and organisations that flocked to it and brought their 'content' for free. It's supposed to be bi-directional but in practice it's often almost broadcast. Millions of people follow person X to listen what they have to say. Writer Stephen King for instance. The fundamental flaw in Musk's approach is asking the people that make Twitter to pay for the privilege. If anything Twitter should be paying them. Just like Netflix pays film studios and not the other way around.

      In short, the value in Twitter was in the people and organisations on it that brought their content to it. In two weeks Mastodon has gone from a niche space for techies to the place where the people bring their content. Musk has done more for Mastodon in two weeks than what the existing Masto community could do in six years, get the world+dog to use it.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: It's fun watching it burn

        I have Mastadon installed and I agree that the most of the complexity of these systems is operating at scale, not the actual posting / feed / like system. Mastadon is clearly fairly close to the core functionality of Twitter in look and feel. That said, it needs a LOT of work to replace Twitter, especially the the sign up / login screen which is instantly terrible and the scaling up / reliability. Money and release engineering is required. I think if a big tech player, e.g. Google / Microsoft were to fund the project and donate some engineers they could improve the experience a lot and hurt Twitter in the process.

        Twitter's value was always that it was a known quantity. It wasn't perfect and in some ways was awful (e.g. the COVID misinfo and not applying the banhammer to the accounts propagating it), but it got to the point it was after a lot of trial and tribulation. Twitter suffered a lot of lawsuits and government regulation to even get to that point. Musk just burned it to the ground and showed himself for the colossal hypocrite he was when his free speech absolutism was actually free-speech-for-me-not-for-thee. And making people pay for a tick will prove a disaster over time. Making 20 million off blue ticks won't cover the loss in advertising, impersonation / trolling / racism, legal woes or the consequent user exodus.

        I do use Twitter and I like it. But just like Musk thinks of his workforce, it's not irreplaceable. If it crashes to Earth then Mastadon or something else will replace it.

  25. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The 'pedo guy' has really lost the plot now, Im not sure if he is high 24/7 or that he never had any business sense from day 1 and just got lucky. But even the most die hard Musk fan must realise hes not go a clue how to run Twitter, never mind bring it into a profitable business.

    i just feel sorry for all those employees who got laid off or who have to stay on the sinking ship or else face being deported because of their visa requirements.

    1. J. Cook Silver badge
  26. arctic_haze
    Alert

    Looking forward to Monday

    I should have bought more popcorn.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Looking forward to Monday

      He's just fired 4400 out of 5500 contractors this weekend on top of the in-house employees last weekend and started an argument with a senator on the subcommittee on communications and technology. Perhaps he has an interest in the popcorn-industrial complex that we don't know about.

  27. peachy001

    By accident

    Not "on accident".....

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