Chaos deepens on Twitter as top executives resign
Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter has descended deeper into chaos as key security executives quit the platform, prompting a sharp warning from US regulators.
The strikes came after a troubled launch of the New Twitter features After the owner of Tesla and SpaceX bought the influential messaging app for $ 44 billion.
Musk warned employees That the site was burning through cash at a dangerous speed, raising the specter of bankruptcy if the situation was not changed.
“I have made the difficult decision to leave Twitter,” tweeted Chief Security Officer Leah Kessner, who is said to have resigned along with other privacy or security executives.
In the most unusual departure, US media reported that Yoel Roth – the site’s head of trust and safety – had resigned after just one day of vigorously defending Musk’s content moderation policy for advertisers.
Late Thursday, Roth’s Twitter bio identified him as “Former Head of Trust and Safety at Twitter.”
Media reports said Robin Wheeler, who was key in connecting Twitter with advertisers and is a key ally of Musk within the company, is leaving but late Thursday she tweeted: “I’m still here.”
The site’s update included the launch of the long-awaited Twitter Blue subscription service, which allowed users to pay $7.99 per month for the coveted blue badge, as well as a separate gray “official” badge for some notable accounts.
But Musk on Wednesday rescinded the new gray flag almost immediately, overshadowing the launch of the paid service, which is only available on the mobile app on iPhones and in the US.
The launch also saw the rise of a wave of fake accounts as users took the opportunity to impersonate celebrities and politicians such as NBA star LeBron James or former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The chaos prompted a rare warning from the Federal Trade Commission, the US authority that oversees consumer safety that has put Twitter under surveillance for past security and privacy breaches.
“We are following the latest developments on Twitter with deep concern,” a FTC spokesperson said in a statement.
“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decisions,” the spokesperson added, referring to past commitments by Twitter to comply with US privacy rules.
Violating FTC decisions could cost Twitter millions of dollars in fines.
Musk fired half of the California company’s 7,500 employees a week ago, 10 days after he purchased the site and became its sole owner.
For the first time since the layoffs, the 51-year-old businessman on Thursday addressed his remaining employees, urging them to help the site reach 1 billion users, according to staff text messages seen by AFP.
Musk also warned that the company was hemorrhaging cash and expressed fear of the effects of the weak economy on his newly acquired business.
He is said to have said, “You may have noticed that I sold a bunch of Tesla shares. The reason for that is to save Twitter.”
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives warned that the Twitter episode could have serious ramifications for electric car maker Tesla.
“Brand destruction is our biggest fear with this Twitter circus. It’s that simple and I can’t ignore it for Tesla stock,” Ives wrote on the site.
Twitter has also been crippled by advertisers’ decision to move away from the platform, concerned about Musk’s plans.
The billionaire announced that he is ending Twitter’s work-from-home policies, which were a widespread practice at the San Francisco-based company.
“If you don’t come to the office, accept the resignation,” he told employees.