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dated: 2022-11-19 18:36:24 .
Photo: Dado Ruvić/Reuters
Despite warnings that Twitter was on the verge of collapse, the social media platform wasn’t dead as of Saturday — at least not yet. But things aren’t exactly going well for new owner Elon Musk’s goal of reshaping the company to his liking, and with it the larger, potentially otherworldly goal of redefining the standards of social discourse on the Internet.
But as reports of organizational chaos mount, not all interactions have necessarily turned out to be negative. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly said last week that a tweet from a fraudulent US insulin pricing account, which caused the company’s shares to plummet, “probably underscores” the need to lower the price of the drug.
In his first public comments after a tweet falsely attributed to a drugmaker — and after Twitter introduced an $8 verification fee — he said: “We’re excited to announce that insulin is now free.” The tweet sent the company’s stock price down and caused panic within the company when it tried to contact Twitter to remove it.
Barely two weeks later, Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks defended his company’s insulin prices — and admitted they could be lower. The episode, he said, “probably shows that we still need to do more to lower insulin costs for more people.”
But he also took to Twitter, saying Eli Lilly wanted the fix to come quickly. “It probably didn’t happen fast enough for our liking,” Ricks said. “And it shows some of the challenges on this platform.”
Additional challenges came to light Saturday after Twitter approved the reinstatement of kickboxer Andrew Tate after a 5-year ban, comedian Kathy Griffin, author Jordan Peterson and right-wing comedy site Babylon Bee.
Tate, 35, is a self-help activist who has been banned from most social media this year in part because of claims that women bear some responsibility for sexual assault. One of Tate’s most misogynistic comments is that women lack “innate responsibility and honor.”
Tate appeared to celebrate his return with a post that read: “A championship is a fun thing. It’s almost like defeat isn’t an option for long enough.”
Peterson also parted company twitter a picture of the main character of the horror film The Shining with the inscription: “I’m back”.
Meanwhile, Musk launched a poll platform on Twitter asking users to vote on Donald Trump’s reinstatement. The poll currently favors the return of the former president with 53% to 47%. Musk did not say whether the results of the 24-hour survey were binding.
Separately, Tesla Space X billionaire Twitter has new motto as “freedom of speech, but not freedom of access”. He said users can’t say what they want, noting that the company will limit anti-social posts without banning the author.
“Negative/hateful tweets are devalued and de-emphasized as much as possible, so there is no advertising or other revenue for Twitter,” Musk said. “You won’t find a tweet unless you specifically look for it, which is no different than the rest of the internet.”
However, there have been lingering concerns that Twitter – which has seen a large increase in staff recently – may not be able to operate with severe downsizing.
Half of the 3,700 employees were laid off, and the rest were asked to commit to Twitter 2.0 and agree to work “long, high-intensity hours,” Musk said. Employees who do not apply would receive three months’ severance pay, he added. Hundreds left by Thursday’s ultimatum deadline.
Even without a coding error by minimal staff, the system can only run for so long without maintenance, he tweeted Ramin Chatibi, a site reliability engineer who left the company three years ago. “The fact that Twitter continues to work is a testament to the fact that thousands of engineering years have been spent building that reliability. But as engineers, we know that failure will come without a constant investment in protection against what comes next.”
But Musk already caused a stir when he issued a policy on Nov. 10 that employees who are eligible to telecommute can no longer do so and can request to speak with him via video, but also that “Only those who can’t make it to HQ Twitter or a family emergency are warranted.”
After Thursday’s mass exodus, Musk announced that Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters would be closed from Friday through Monday. He then rescinded the letter and asked “anyone who actually writes software” to report to Twitter headquarters by Friday afternoon and to work on Saturday.
While the purges and transition chaos at the company may not be slowing down appreciably, Musk told a Delaware court last week that his reorganization of Twitter is nearly complete and that he will begin devoting less time to the company starting late next week.
His attention may be needed elsewhere. On Saturday, a registration filing revealed that Musk’s electric vehicle maker Tesla is recalling more than 321,000 cars in the United States because the taillights may sometimes not turn on. The company has announced that it will use a remote software update to fix the backlight issue.
It comes after Tesla announced a recall of nearly 30,000 Model X cars due to a problem that could cause the front passenger airbag to deploy improperly. The announcement sent Tesla shares down nearly 3% to their lowest level in nearly two years.
But with Sunday’s FIFA Men’s World Cup approaching, there could be even more chaos on Twitter. Traffic typically spikes during a high-profile soccer tournament, which will help boost Twitter traffic since Musk bought the company last month. “We just hit another record for Twitter usage,” Musk said last week.
The 51-year-old tech mogul, who claims to be the world’s richest man, also said he was not “overwhelmed” about employee attrition at the platform, which he bought for $44 billion on Oct. 28.
He added: “I don’t want to say it, but there’s a chance we can keep Twitter alive…”
‘There’s more to do’: Eli Lilly admits insulin prices could be lower amid Twitter chaos
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