Business 190 – Elon Musk’s Twitter faces exodus of advertisers and executives

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Elon Musk's Twitter takeover saga: a timeline of tweets | Financial Times


1. Twitter is facing an exodus of executives and skittish advertisers as Elon Musk and his advisers take control of the social media company, prepare to lay off employees and make changes to the product. At least five top Twitter executives — including the chief marketing officer, the chief customer officer, the head of people and diversity, and the head of product — have departed the company in recent days, according to seven people with knowledge of the matter and public statements.

2. Two announced their departures on Twitter on Tuesday; they did not say why they had quit. More executives may leave, the people said. At the same time, advertisers — which provide about 90% of Twitter’s revenue — are increasingly grappling with Musk’s ownership of the platform. The billionaire, who is meeting advertising executives in New York this week, has spooked some advertisers because he has said he would loosen Twitter’s content rules, which could lead to a surge in misinformation and other toxic content.

3. IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising companies, issued a recommendation Monday through its media agencies for clients to temporarily pause their spending on Twitter because of moderation concerns, three people with knowledge of the communication said. The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, a coalition of platforms, advertisers and industry groups that is fighting harmful content on social media, also said this week that it was monitoring how Twitter planned to deal with content moderation.

Why do you think he has chosen to fire so many people? What changes do you think he wants to make to Twitter? What changes would you make to Twitter if you could change anything?

4. Twitter has been in disarray as it adjusts to a new reality under Musk, who closed his $44 billion buyout of the company last week. Musk immediately fired Twitter’s CEO, its chief financial officer and others before moving quickly to install close confidants and trusted engineers from his other companies at the social media firm.

5. Since then, Musk and his advisers have been working on product changes and major cuts to Twitter’s rank and file. Managers at Twitter, which has about 7,500 employees, have said they are finishing up lists of high- and low-performing workers, most likely with an eye toward layoffs. While several employees have already been let go, the timing and scope of mass layoffs remain fluid.

6. On Tuesday, Musk declared on Twitter that users would start paying $8 a month for the Twitter Blue service, which would verify users with a check mark. Subscribers would see fewer ads, be able to share long videos and bypass paywalls at news organizations that team up with Twitter, he said “Power to the people!” he tweeted.

Do you use Twitter or other social media? Why or why not? Why did you start using that social media?

7. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment. Musk did not respond to a request for comment. IPG did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A reporter for the tech and finance newsletter Morning Brew earlier tweeted IPG’s recommendation. The executives who left Twitter in recent days include Leslie Berland, the chief marketing officer; Jay Sullivan, the head of product; Sarah Personette, the chief customer officer, who managed the company’s relationships with advertisers; Dalana Brand, the head of people and diversity; and Nick Caldwell, the executive responsible for core technologies like infrastructure. Their exits leave Twitter with few of the leaders it had before Musk closed the deal for the company Thursday.

8. Personette met Musk last week to discuss Twitter’s advertising partnerships, she said in a tweet. After their meeting, Musk published an open letter to advertisers, saying Twitter would not become a “free-for-all hellscape.” He also said Twitter would form a council to advise on content moderation. In the tweet about her departure, Personette said she believed that Musk’s team “understands the importance of holding up the standards” set by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

During your career, has your company ever conducted a mass firing? Do you remember a time when many people lost their job?

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