This week, Twitter became one of the most disorganized social media in the history of the internet, yet, it is also undoubtedly one of the most intriguing. Nearly every minute, there was a new development either on the platform itself or within the company itself, and both of these developments were equally exciting.
Following Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter (1) a few days ago, there has been some activity almost every hour! How we play around with the settings of a new phone, test certain settings, and revert them, Musk has been busy doing something similar with his new possession.
Some of the Major Developments
A brief hiatus immediately followed the debut of Twitter Blue, and then, on the following day, the feature was completely removed from the app.
Frequently imitating high-profile identities, including Musk's own, by Authenticated accounts — notably, almost shortly after the new membership went online, the $8.00 per month Twitter Blue Verified users.
Then there was the introduction of Official badges for high-profile accounts, followed by their removal and subsequent reinstatement.
Then we have the disclosure made by Elon Musk about his intention to get Twitter involved in the payments sector.
Further departures of key executives, including the company's most senior cybersecurity staffer, chief privacy officer, chief compliance officer, and Head of Trust and Safety, the latter of whom has been one of the few remaining sane voices at the company amidst all of the upheavals.
On November 9, Musk conducted a call with advertisers during which he did not provide any reassurances that everything would go smoothly.
After the conclusion of this call, the host of the call and the head of ad sales, Robin Wheeler, resigned. After some time had passed, she posted on Twitter, "I'm still here."
Twitter and Law Enforcement History
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned Twitter following the departure of key leaders spanning trust, safety, data governance, and security. (2)
The regulatory organization stated that it had been following the developments at Twitter with profound concern and that no CEO or firm was above the law.
In 2011, the FTC issued a compliance order against Twitter after discovering that the company had improperly exploited the data of its users.
The ruling mandates, among other things, that complete security checks be conducted before deploying new products. It specifies what Twitter may and cannot do with users' data.
There have been a lot of rapid changes at Twitter recently, including the elimination of departments, the departure of key personnel, and the rapid launch and shutdown of new products. These events have raised questions about whether or not Twitter has managed to comply with the decree issued by the FTC.
The leading regulator in the European Union then went after Twitter, scheduling a meeting for the following week to discuss concerns such as the data protection officer's departure and whether Twitter's primary establishment for GDPR is still based in Ireland.
Twitter Might Go Bankrupt!
Musk cautioned Twitter employees during an all-hands meeting on November 10 that Twitter may have a net negative cash flow of billions of dollars in 2023 and hinted that the possibility of bankruptcy was not completely off the table.
Musk had not given his changes sufficient consideration, as evidenced by the fact that he fired employees who may have provided additional insight.
Musk's decision to immediately make deep cuts across Twitter meant he missed the opportunity to listen to current staff members who could have explained what Twitter has tried in the past.
Even though Musk may not agree with the course, Twitter is now on, and he may be able to use this information to guide his future choices better.
Instead, he treats Twitter like a plaything that can be messed around with and predicts that the platform will do many idiotic things in the coming months. And it has already occurred.
Musk, who only saw the worth of a blue Verified badge as a status symbol, thought that many people on Twitter would pay the cost of possessing one. However, it turns out that this is not the case.
In contrast to the vast majority of Twitter's user base, he failed to comprehend that the Verification feature is a service the platform offers to its community and not only an ego-gratifying checkmark.
Is Twitter Blue Tick A Status Symbol?
Many people with the original badge do not consider it a status symbol, and they would not pay money for the "honor" of possessing one. Musk, on the other hand, believes that "citizen journalists" and regular people also deserve some form of verification.
However, it may have been implemented differently, such as a verified badge of a different color or symbol, or even merely as a mechanism that would prioritize the tweets and responses sent on the site by Twitter Blue subscribers over those posted by non-paying users.
After all, this is the main value that Musk envisions for Twitter Blue, and he believes that this is what users would find appealing. Not to mention, it would make perfect sense to test such a system, given that it has already been demonstrated to work in other contexts and that it would make perfect sense to test.
The paid elevation is a method of commercialization used by other social networks, such as YouTube and Instagram. On these platforms, users can purchase features such as YouTube's Super Chat and IG Badges to elevate the visibility of their posts over that of other users.
Twitter's twist might have been that compensated altitude like this wouldn't inevitably be about attracting top creators' attention, per se.
This would address the objections that the Verified tab is now useless because checkmarks may be purchased.
It would have been a fantastic idea to conduct some preliminary tests with a sample size of a fraction of the audience before going all the way with it! But unfortunately.
Musk just got rid of the Verification program already in place without appearing to have anticipated the possibility of mass abuse rather than moving forward in a more considered manner.
After that, he suddenly recognized that identifying "Official" accounts had significance for the general community and individuals who wanted a particular kind of experience within the Verified tab.
Because of his incompetent management, new items were introduced, pulled from the market, and introduced again within hours and days. This is hurting the credibility of the platform for sure.