Saturday, November 5, 2022

Commentary on the Grim Situation at Twitter

David Ljungdahl illustration in 1910 Swedish edition of Jules Verne's "Captain Grant's Children," from Wikimedia Commons

As Jessica Pegis says in a comment here yesterday, the situation at Twitter looks grim. Noah Kirsch and Justin Baragona report

Scores of Twitter employees unceremoniously lost access to their work emails late Thursday as Elon Musk commenced a brutal round of layoffs. The workers have reacted with mixed emotions; some are devastated, having spent years at the social media giant. Others are happy to finally exit the chaos.

One now-former staffer told The Daily Beast that it was a “tremendously shitty way” to handle the layoffs. She said she found out she was terminated after she lost access to Slack, a corporate messaging platform.

The worst part, she told The Daily Beast, was watching waves of her colleagues acknowledge overnight that they were also out of jobs, likening the mass layoffs to the famous “snap” scene from Avengers: Infinity War. Musk is expected to axe about half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees.

Heather Cox Richardson writes:

[T]he social media site Twitter, which was recently acquired by entrepreneur Elon Musk, appears to be imploding. Advertisers are fleeing, and this morning the company fired a raft of employees, apparently illegally in many jurisdictions because he did not give them the warning that laws require. They are now suing.

This afternoon, Jeff Seldin, the national security correspondent for Voice of America News, tweeted that two organizations representing state election officials who have used Twitter to get out reliable election information, including the National Association of State Election Directors, are watching Twitter’s changes with concern. The mass layoffs cut the teams dedicated to fighting election disinformation and communicating with campaign staff and journalists. Further, it currently appears that account verification, which makes it clear if an account is official or not, will end on Monday, the day before the election.

I remind myself that inducing chaos is key to the worldview of big boys like Steve Bannon, people who like to imagine that the fate of the world hangs on what they think, do, and say — and Elon Musk is certainly one of those big boys with a superinflated sense of self-importance. Still, so tragic, deliberately tearing up something that has shown as much potential as Twitter has — and to what good end

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