Archive for Twitter

Elon Musk’s Wants To Generate 50% Of His Revenue From Twitter Blue… But It’s Not Going To Happen

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 27, 2022 by itnerd

Elon Musk sees advertisers as a problem when it comes to him running Twitter. Thus he wants to reduce his reliance on advertisers In fact, this is his ideal revenue split:

Musk has said he wants subscriptions to account for 50% of Twitter’s total revenue, according to a message by a VP on an internal company slack.

The message, which was shared on Twitter by Platformer’s Casey Newton, said Musk thought the subscription aim “could help with conversations” and “pay by credit card could help with bots.

There’s two big problems. The fact that advertisers are fleeing the platform isn’t helping this as it reduces the revenue that he has coming into Twitter’s bank account while he makes this transition. And second, there’s the fact that it is very unlikely that Twitter Blue isn’t likely to catch on:

However, a survey from The Harris Poll, a global market research and consulting firm, found half of frequent US Twitter users said they would ditch the platform if it came with a monthly subscription fee.

The firm polled 2,063 US adults, 1,212 of which were Twitter users, from October 20 to October 28, the week Musk took over the company.

Pinar Yildirim, a professor of marketing and economics at The Wharton School, told Insider introducing a subscription model to Twitter could even drive users away from the platform. Yildirim said many users were waiting to see if Twitter becomes subscription-based.

“Worries about subscription changes have caused some users, either of higher status like some celebrities or ordinary users, to express a desire to potentially explore other platforms,” she said. 

“If in the end, the revenue model becomes such that everyone on Twitter has to pay a price,” she said, “that’s going to result clearly in a movement of users who may find it too expensive to simply be on Twitter.”

Well, that’s a problem. Then there’s the fact that the loans that Musk took require a $1 billion interest payment. But…:

If Musk wants to generate enough revenue to pay the $1 billion in interest owed on Twitter’s debt each year, it would need to add about 10 million more paying customers, according to social media expert Matt Navarra

I cannot honestly see how Musk squares this circle. With companies not advertising on Twitter, because they don’t need Twitter and Twitter needs them, there’s zero chance that Twitter Blue will make up the difference, Twitter is screwed and so is Musk. But I will guess that we will see this coming Friday as that is when Twitter Blue launches.

Elon Musk Suggests That He Would Make A Competitor To Apple And Google’s Phones If He’s Booted From Their App Stores

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 26, 2022 by itnerd

Okay. This whole Twitter thing since Elon Musk took over has been a crazy ride since he took over. But it’s now gotten really crazy. Because one of the potential side effects of giving anti-vaxxers, Neo-nazis, white supremacists, anti-LGBTQ activists, anti-Muslim bigots among other low life scumbags of the universe who don’t deserve a platform, amnesty on Twitter is that it may put him in the crosshairs of Apple and Google who have rules that would require the punting of the Twitter app from their respective app stores. If you want an example of that, look at Parler who was Thanos snapped out of the App Store and Play Store. I am guessing that this is a real possibility that Musk has thought of because he said this on Twitter last night:

Okay……

I have to look at this from both sides. So ignoring the fact that, this could simply be an empty threat, or that the odds are high that Apple and Google would destroy any sort of “Tesla Phone” or “Twitter Phone” in terms of sales, and that the development of this phone could easily become the same sort of train wreck next to a dumpster fire that we’re seeing at Twitter, consider this. If he threw the same people who are responsible for the in car entertainment system at Tesla, and recycle some of the silicon from that system, it isn’t actually that far fetched an idea. In fact this is completely doable from a hardware standpoint. His challenge will be the software. Google isn’t going to hand over a copy of Android to him, and Apple isn’t going to hand over a copy of iOS to him. So he will either have to do what Huawei did which is use the open source version of Android, or make his own OS. That’s a tall order either way. On top of that he needs an app ecosystem to give people a reason to buy this phone. That’s a tall order as well as you’re not going to want to jump to this phone if you can’t use the apps that you already have. And getting developers on board to make those apps will be a challenge.

Now how much market share that this phone would get would still be an open question. And more importantly, would it grab enough market share to scare Apple and Google? Personally, I am dubious that Apple and Google would be the least concerned about this Tweet from Elon. Or put another way, I seriously doubt that Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai are going to lose a moment’s worth of sleep over this Tweet. But I would suggest that this is something that is at least worth watching if he does get punted from their respective app stores.

All Of VW’s Brands Have Halted Ads On Twitter…. And They Are Saying Why They Are Doing That In Public

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 25, 2022 by itnerd

Elon Musk wants to wean Twitter off of advertising by brands. That’s why he’s pushing Twitter Blue so hard. The thing is that until Twitter Blue can generate the revenue stream that advertising generates, he needs advertisers. There’s no way around that. So it doesn’t help that Volkswagen who’s brands include, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Ducati have paused their advertising on Twitter. What makes this even more interesting is that they are actually speaking about why they did this:

A spokesperson for Volkswagen said all the brands had followed the advice, while Audi had opted to halt organic activities, such as direct posts, and only respond to questions from clients on the website.

WirtschaftsWoche had previously reported that Audi had halted all activities on the social media platform, citing company sources.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will decide on the next steps depending on developments,” an Audi spokesperson added in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Audi has not tweeted since Nov. 1 after previously tweeting almost every day. Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter in late October.

Well, that’s not good if you are Elon as VW is a global brand which means that their advertising spend on Twitter must have been big. Thus that’s a lot of income that Twitter is not getting. And you have to wonder if VW going public with this will spur other companies to not only pull their ads, but to say why in public. If that happens, one has to wonder how Elon will react to that. Not well I would imagine. But we will have to see.

July’s Report Of A Twitter Data Breach Was WAY WORSE Than Previously Thought

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 25, 2022 by itnerd

Remember back in July there was a data breach on Twitter where the information on 5.4 million users was up for sale on the dark web? Well as bad as that was, we now have news that it was actually worse than that. 9to5mac is reporting the following:

We’ve been shown evidence that the same security vulnerability was exploited by multiple bad actors, and the hacked data has been offered for sale on the dark web by several sources.

It had previously been thought that only one hacker gained access to the data, and Twitter’s belated admission reinforced this impression …

And:

There were suggestions on Twitter yesterday that the same personal data had been accessed by multiple bad actors, not just one. 9to5Mac has now seen evidence that this is indeed the case. We were shown a dataset which contained the same information in a different format, with a security researcher stating that it was “definitely a different threat actor.” The source told us that this was just one of a number of files they have seen.

That’s really, really, extremely bad. And reading this report makes one wonder how this is going to get any better under Elon Musk? Because it is pretty clear that Twitter’s security was bad before he took over. So given all that has gone on, how much worse can it be with him in charge? While Twitter doesn’t have a PR department anymore, the company needs to provide some answers on this. And they need to do so now with enough detail to reassure Twitter users that they can have confidence in the company. But I am pretty sure that this is not going to happen.

UPDATE: I have commentary from Brian Johnson, Chief Security Officer at Armorblox:

“Breaches that expose email addresses and phone numbers are almost always followed up by targeted phishing and SMiShing campaigns. Given that Twitter has also been in the news a lot recently, attackers might exploit our cognitive biases like recency bias to send out fake password reset emails or SMSes to Twitter users to steal their credentials. Stolen passwords now allow them to try these passwords out laterally across other sites because many users use the same password across different providers. We recommend that users set up multi-factor authentication on all their personal and work accounts, and more specifically, watch out for suspicious emails that appear to be coming from Twitter. This includes verifying the sender email addresses, and any links that are included in the email to make sure that they are indeed related to Twitter.”

UPDATE #2: Chad McDonald, Chief of Staff and Chief Information Security Officer of Radiant Logic:

“In the latest episode of the Twitter saga, news of the significant data breach resulting in the security expert who reported it being suspended is a huge cause for concern. Security practitioners have often looked to Twitter in the past for updates from colleagues and influencers alike on the latest bugs, vulnerabilities and threat groups. Given the changes that have been brewing at Twitter these last few weeks, it would be incredibly damaging for them to not only be once again responsible for massive amounts of users being breached but that they are also making efforts to cover it up. Twitter must act, quickly, to get a serious handle on how much of their users’ information was leaked and what they plan to remedy the situation.” 

Elon Musk Will Offer Amnesty To Suspended Twitter Accounts… While He Gives New Details About Twitter Blue

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 25, 2022 by itnerd

In a move that is sure to spark new alarm bells about Twitter becoming the platform of the far right, Elon Musk via yet another Twitter poll is going to restore suspended Twitter accounts.

By running these polls, he’s creating a situation where he’s creating cover for himself when, key word WHEN things go off the rails when it comes to these suspended accounts. After all, many of these accounts are anti-vaxxers, Neo-nazis, white supremacists, anti-LGBTQ activists, anti-Muslim bigots among other low life scumbags of the universe who don’t deserve a platform. So I can see that this will create a situation where the holders of these accounts make news for all the wrong reasons, and Twitter will get blamed for giving them a voice. Musk therefore will just use the excuse that “the people have spoken” when confronted with that. This despite the fact that this was likely his plan all along.

Another thing is, despite the fact that he makes moves that are this stupid, he still doesn’t get why advertisers are running in the other direction from Twitter. The answer is pretty simple, they don’t want to be associated with a platform that allows hate speech, which is something that has increased since Musk took over. But he’s too stupid to see that quite clearly.

Finally, this move is guaranteed to have the EU knocking on his door demanding answers. And if Musk doesn’t play ball with them, that will end badly for Musk.

The other thing that Musk did overnight is put out this Tweet:

The way I read this Tweet, he has no choice. He clearly wanted Twitter Blue to be a quick revenue generating method by giving it to anyone with few controls. But when that went off the rails and sent corporations to the exits, it backed him into a corner where he now has no choice but to introduce some form of verification process. And I sense he’s clearly not happy about this. It’s not clear how this will work from the Tweet. But it will be interesting to see what happens next Friday when it launches. It does open up an interesting question, if you have a checkmark and you don’t pay for Twitter Blue, what happens to you? I guess we will find that out next Friday as well.

The Twitter Gong Show Is Getting Even Worse…. Where Do I Even Begin?

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 24, 2022 by itnerd

This Twitter situation is simply getting crazy. But there are some themes that intertwine. Let’s start with the fact that some really “interesting” people have signed up for Twitter Blue accounts:

Almost 140,000 people paid $8 for a Twitter Blue subscription between November 10 and 15, the New York Times reported. 

The Times cited data from Travis Brown, a software developer in Berlin, who found over 137,000 accounts with Twitter Blue subscriptions between November 10 and 15 using a computer program. The program downloaded data including user’s following lists, screen time, the date they joined Twitter, and verification status. 

Brown found that the typical Twitter Blue subscriber had around 560 followers but some had over a million including Mika Salamanca, a YouTube creator with 3.9 million Twitter followers; Arabic news site, Alwatan News with 2.7 million followers, and several adult film performers. 

Many Twitter Blue subscribers were far-right influencers like Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, Libs of TikTok, and Catturd2. 

Brown’s data showed that thousands of subscribers were linked to around 5,000 far-right Twitter accounts that had been flagged for pushing extremist ideas and some were also listed by Cornell University for posting conspiracy theories about election fraud. 

Twitter and Travis Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the data outside normal working hours.

Now this isn’t exactly promising. But let’s go down the rabbit hole. Musk is now doing this:

Musk posted a poll on Wednesday asking whether the platform should offer “a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” 

At the time of writing, 72% of the almost 3 million voters have said yes. 

That ties into this Tweet from Musk:

One based on this could get the impression that Musk is using this as a pretext to slant Twitter to the right. If that’s the case, this whole situation with Twitter will get ugly. How so you ask? How about this:

Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa, who were in charge of Twitter’s digital policy in Europe, left the company last week, according to the Financial Times.

The executives were the driving force in getting the company to comply with the EU’s landmark Digital Services act, which came into force last week setting new rules for Big Tech firms to keep users safe online.

Other executives had already left the small Brussels office at the start of the month as Mr Musk sacked half of the company’s from 7,500 to around 3,750 in the weeks following his £38bn takeover. 

The Tesla and SpaceX chief executive had tweeted that “the bird is freed” after completing his acquisition of the platform. 

Shortly afterwards, European commissioner Thierry Breton issued a curt reminder of the EU’s content-moderation laws, saying: “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.” 

Mr Musk had said that Twitter’s series of layoffs was over this week, as he launched a recruitment drive. 

If you recall, Twitter is in the crosshairs of the EU due to moves like the stuff that I mentioned above for starters. And they will look at moves like the ones above with some degree of alarm. And they will react accordingly by calling Musk onto the carpet. The thing is, I can see Musk flipping the bird to the EU which will start a big fight between the two. You should get your popcorn ready for that when it happens. Because Elon’s right wing leanings are clearly coming into play here.

In other Twitter news, Musk also did this:

Elon Musk’s Twitter has decided to scrap holiday pay for contractors working for the social-media company, according to Platformer reporter Zoë Schiffer.

The measure will start during Thanksgiving, according to Schiffer.

Amid the mass layoffs since Musk’s takeover, Twitter started to fire contractors on November 12 and those affected found out they’d lost their job when they were locked out of work accounts, Axios reported.

It’s not the only measure that Twitter has reportedly introduced in the runup to Thanksgiving.

The Verge’s Alex Heath said on Thursday that some Twitter engineers received an email on Wednesday evening, saying they were fired because their “code is not satisfactory.” Twitter sent “performance warning” emails to other engineers, telling them to “restore our confidence and demonstrate your contributions to the team,” according to Heath.

The report came off the back of a leaked email, seen by Insider, saying on Monday that all Twitter employees who were coding or doing technical work would be expected to submit a weekly summary of everything they’ve worked on.

This is just plain stupid and is sure to send more employees to the exits. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. And when you combine that with no holiday pay, that’s a recipe for a big reaction from the workers in question. Especially since other companies are circling to grab Twitter employees.

Finally, let’s go back to Musk. I’m going to put it out there that he is a racist. I say that because of this:

What hasn’t been clear is what, exactly Musk thinks of Black Twitter, which is arguably the most critical community to have taken shape organically and to elevate Twitter’s relevance as a platform for conversation, activism and storytelling along the way. Before now, that wouldn’t have mattered. Nobody cared what Twitter co-founder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey thought about Black Twitter, because it was undeniable that Black Twitter was good for business under his watch.

Musk, however, is a different story: his notions of “free speech” on the platform mean greenlighting the comeback of Donald Trump and other hatemongers and as a manager he’s fired thousands of employees who were part of an intentional internal strategy to attempt to make the company as diverse as the voices on its platform. And now, weeks into his tenure as “chief twit”, we have an idea of exactly what regard Musk holds Black Twitter and the community of Black staffers inside the company. The Independent reports on a Musk tweet, since deleted, in which he made light of t-shirts that had been created by the company’s “Blackbirds” employee resource group, and mocked the Black Lives Matter movement.

I encourage you to read the entire article because clearly this is unacceptable and needs to be called out. And you might want to keep this in mind the next time you think of buying a Tesla. Or using Twitter.

Twitter Is Simply Getting Worse Under Elon Musk As These Examples Illustrate

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2022 by itnerd

We’re getting to the point where we might be in the endgame for Twitter. I say that for the following reasons.

First, bills are going unpaid on the orders of Elon:

Before Elon Musk bought Twitter last month, the company’s executives had racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel invoices that the social media service planned to pay.

But once Musk took over the company, he refused to reimburse travel vendors for those bills, current and former Twitter employees said. Musk’s staff said the services were authorized by the company’s former management and not by him. His staff have since avoided the calls of the travel vendors, the people said.

And:

Musk also issued an order to slow or in some cases halt transfers of funds to Twitter’s vendors and contract services, the people said. Any expenditures for services need to be approved by [Jared] Birchall [the head of Musk’s family office], three people said. Musk has since declined to pay for the travel services incurred by the former Twitter executives, the people said.

He is also looking at the company’s leases for office space, three people said, bucking on making payments and hoping to renegotiate or opt out of some commitments entirely. Twitter leases office space across the world, but the layoffs have reduced the need for much of that real estate.

This is pretty bad. And I’m willing to bet that lawsuits will be filed shortly by some of these vendors which will add to Elon’s problems. Because one would think that it’s cheaper to pay your bills than to pay lawyers to defend you against companies who are suing you because you have not paid your bills. Clearly Musk hasn’t thought of that.

Next up is more fallout from the Donald Trump circus. Elon is actually claiming that the “activists” who are trying to get companies to not advertise on Twitter are to blame for him reinstating Trump according to The Verge:

Wow, his explanation sure is something; in a tweet on Tuesday night, he claimed the council was part of a deal he made with an unnamed “large coalition of political/social activist groups,” implying it was their fault.

Musk claims he made a deal to keep those groups from trying to destroy Twitter’s ad revenue, and that those groups “broke the deal,” and so he no longer has to uphold all that stuff about the council.

Here’s the Tweet in question:

Elon is clearly trying to deflect blame from his own screw ups and shortcomings. And this reaction likely has something to do with this:

In recent weeks, 50 of the top 100 advertisers have either announced or seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter. These advertisers have accounted for nearly $2 billion in spending on the platform since 2020, and over $750 million in advertising in 2022 alone.

In addition to advertisers that have seemingly stopped all advertising on Twitter as of November 21, there are an additional seven advertisers which appear to be slowing the rate of their advertising on the platform to almost nothing. Since 2020, these seven advertisers have accounted for over $255 million in spending on Twitter, and nearly $118 million in advertising in 2022.

This is a huge problem for Elon as he needs income to keep the lights on at Twitter. Assuming that he doesn’t want to sell more Tesla stock to keep the lights on at Twitter. Though that might be a problem based on this:

Tesla’s stock has been on a slide since Elon bought Twitter. That’s ultimately going to create a couple of issues for him. One it’s going to affect his bank account. Two is that at some point, owners of Tesla stock are going to say that enough is enough and want him to do something about this stock slide. Or they may simply decide to sell and push the stock further downwards. To be fair, Twitter isn’t the only issue that Tesla stock has at the moment. But Elon’s behaviour and Twitter’s problems are likely not helping the situation.

Maybe the man child should just man up and admit that he’s really screwed this up. But I likely expect too much in terms of maturity from man child Musk.

Why Would Proctor And Gamble Post This Tweet For Tampax???

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 23, 2022 by itnerd

I have seen a lot of things on Twitter. Some of which really made me wonder what the person who posted the Tweet was thinking. But this one has got to be the one that makes my head explode. Let me get to the Tweet that made me feel this way:

What does that mean. Well if I do a rough translation, it means the following: “you are in their direct messages” on social media, means to speak to someone online romantically, followed by the phrase “I am…”, which usually ends with a self-aggrandising comparison. In basic terms, it means you have something, but I have something better.

In this case, this Tweet is insanely offensive as it seems to sexualize women to a massive degree. And it blows my mind that any major corporation like Proctor and Gamble who owns Tampax would have a social media manager who would sign off on this posting this Tweet.

If that’s not bad enough, they doubled down on this Tweet:

I have to say that this is creepy and insulting. I truly do not understand what this company is thinking and why they would ever think that this is a good idea. I have tried to look around for an explanation or a response from Proctor and Gamble, but I don’t see one. But I would very much like to see one as women around the world deserve an explanation for this, and what Proctor and Gamble is going to do to ensure that they are more sensitive to the markets that they serve.

The world is waiting.

Elon Musk Wants Weekly Reports From Every Single Twitter Employee While At The Same Time Cutting Their Perks

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 22, 2022 by itnerd

If you decided that staying at Twitter was the right decision as you wanted to prove that you were “hardcore”, you might be rethinking your life choices. The Verge is reporting that Elon wants weekly reports from every Twitter employee now:

Talk about micro management. While I am always willing to be surprised, I would shocked if this level of micro management has a positive effect on Twitter. I also would be surprised if this doesn’t send more employees headed to the exits.

On top of this, Musk is cutting perks at Twitter based on this report from The Verge:

Yeah, that’s going to help his employee retention efforts. #Sarcasm

By the way, what’s with the use of the word “Hardcore!” and “More Hardcore!” That just sounds dumb. It’s almost as if Musk is trying to turn the word “hardcore” into a rallying cry. The thing is, that people will only rally around you as a leader if they respect you. And based on the last few weeks of what the world has seen at Twitter, there’s nothing that one can respect about Elon Musk. Thus this is likely going to be a #Fail for Elon.

Twitter Blue May Not Reappear On The 29th Of November Says Elon Musk

Posted in Commentary with tags on November 22, 2022 by itnerd

You might remember that the first thing that Elon Musk wanted to do was roll out Twitter Blue with a verification checkmark. Well, that turned into a train wreck next to a dumpster fire very quickly. And Elon was forced to pull it. Now according to The Verge, it may not return on the 29th of November:

Elon Musk told Twitter employees on Monday that the company won’t relaunch its paid verification subscription, Twitter Blue, until “we’re confident about significant impersonations not happening,” according to a recording of his remarks obtained by The Verge.

Musk said last week that his $8 per month Blue subscription would be made available again on November 29th. But in the meeting with employees, he said the timing of the launch was unclear: “We might launch it next week. We might not. But we’re not going to launch until there’s high confidence in protecting against those significant impersonations.”

This was confirmed later in a Tweet:

I am guessing that he took a beating from a number of advertisers who were impersonated on the platform. Thus if he relaunches this, he needs to be 1000% sure that nothing bad will happen or he is pretty much screwed. The reason being is that while he wants to shift Twitter income away from advertising as being the primary source of cash, he needs that advertising revenue in the short to medium term unless he wants to fund Twitter by selling Tesla stock like he recently did.

Another tidbit that is worth mentioning from this Verge article is this:

He also told employees that Twitter was done with layoffs and hiring again, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Verge.

Maybe that’s because his power play of wanting “hardcore” employees backfired in such a spectacular manner. The question is if anyone would want to work for this guy given what’s gone on these past few weeks? And if Musk is thinking that he can get former Twitter employees to come back, he may want to think twice. Apparently a lot of firms want ex-Twitter staff. Perhaps he should have thought about that before swinging the axe.