Subterranean birdsite blues
November 18, 2022 3:18 AM   Subscribe

Twitter export: "Do you want to export your Twitter followers, follows or other Tweet data? With our Twitter Export tool you can quickly export followers, following list, retweets or likes of a tweet for free and download it to Excel in CSV format." Via babelfish at Ask Metafilter. Seems timely. posted by nthdegx (334 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah, Twitter is crashing and burning far faster than anyone expected this morning!

BTW, for what it's worth, if you were following @cstross on twitter you can also find me as @cstross@wandering.shop on Mastodon.
posted by cstross at 4:11 AM on November 18 [40 favorites]


I will be stunned if Twitter survives the weekend. If there's anything on it you care about, don't delay, rescue it now; you might already be to late.
posted by krisjohn at 4:30 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Twitter locks staff out of offices until next week (BBC). That seems ... not good. My dream is some sort of heavy-handed government intervention where Musk is deemed a threat to the economy and Twitter, SpaceX, and Tesla are all turned into worker-owned collectives. Quality and value would go up.

We have a real problem in this country with hero worship. Having an idea (cheap rockets, sexy electric cars, smartphone) does not translate into "the guy with the germ of an idea and lots of money magically designed and built everything". A whole bunch of other smart and hardworking people "invented" SpaceX rockets, Tesla cars, and the iPhone. I'm not a Twitter user but from comments on previous threads it sounds like adventurous users plus Twitter engineers "invented" the platform as it is today (or was till a couple of weeks ago).
posted by caviar2d2 at 5:53 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


Often, regarding the existence of billionaires, it seems obvious that there are things we'd have if they didn't exist, but rarely can you point to something specific and say, that. That is something we'd have if billionaires didn't exist.

Well now, regarding one specific billionaire at least, we have an answer. Twitter. We'd have Twitter if Elon Musk didn't exist.
posted by JHarris at 5:56 AM on November 18 [18 favorites]


I feel like we should have a different front page post for "Twitter is not going to survive the week", if only because I thought it would be funny to call the post How To Kill A Mocking Bird

also Twitter is not going to survive the week
posted by Merus at 6:03 AM on November 18 [45 favorites]


Over on Twitter, Elon is bragging of record-breaking numbers and posting idiotic memes like a buffoon. Twitter will survive, in the same way that Slashdot survives - a hollow shell with none of the culture.

Twitter has an official tool for exporting all of your tweets (and anything you have liked) which I used last week. Not sure how long it will last though, it seems to useful to live.
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:06 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]




Twitter has an official tool for exporting all of your tweets (and anything you have liked) which I used last week. Not sure how long it will last though

I requested my data on Monday, and it still hasn't notified me that it is ready. The button is disabled saying I already requested my data, so don't get your hopes up on using that tool.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:20 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


This is reminding me in spirit of the Gamestop short squeeze.

Despite all the billions Musk spent borrowed to buy Twitter, all it takes are a few hundred employees that are tired of his obnoxious behavior to completely ruin his day and hopefully his career.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:27 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


I'm skeptical twitter is going to just plain die within a week. Sure, a bunch of individual things might break, but I don't see how the whole thing comes crashing down that quick. It'll limp along, plagued by bugs, hemorrhaging users, and saddled with debt.

I don't see him being CEO for very long, though. He'll find someone else to run it, then try desperately to declare bankruptcy, sell it for whatever he can get, or both.
posted by Room 101 at 6:28 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


> I requested my data on Monday, and it still hasn't notified me that it is ready.

It took a couple of days for me - if the tool is still actually working then it is probably getting slammed right now.

For those of use who have made the move to Mastodon, if you have put your Mastodon account details in your Metafilter account as an "Also On" you can do the reverse and link your Mastodon account to your Metafilter profile and it will show up as a verified site (example).
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:28 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


If you were able to download your Twitter archive, here's some Python tools that are useful. One converts the archive to markdown and also HTML, with embedded images, videos, and links.

The other, and probably more important now, fixes a weird issue with media in the archive. The normal archive does download media you've tweeted/retweeted, but only in a smaller size than was uploaded, and if you click on one of the images to expand it then it takes you to the Twitter website, which of course requires Twitter operating to work. This other tool will go through your archive, download the full-size versions (if still available), and put them all in a single output folder.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:42 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


Yeah, about that lockout.
I was laid off from Twitter this afternoon. I was in charge of managing badge access to Twitter offices.

Elon just called me and asked if I could come back to help them regain access to HQ as they shut off all badges and accidentally locked themselves out.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:42 AM on November 18 [16 favorites]


that's a joke (just like twitter atm)
posted by simmering octagon at 6:46 AM on November 18 [17 favorites]


Considering that a few days ago Musk crippled Twitter's 2FA ability as part of his idiot "just shut a bunch of stuff off!" campaign, causing users to be locked out of their accounts, that joke is sadly all too believable.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:48 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]


I've found TweetDelete useful in the past. Should anyone prefer to wipe their posting history without outright deleting their account.
posted by nthdegx at 6:48 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


So here's why I think Twitter isn't going to survive the week:
  • The only real experience we have of social media sites going down like this are what are called "monoliths", where it's all one big server. Lots of sites limp along, irrelevant, because you can just stick them on a server and they'll keep working. Twitter, however is made out of 'microservices', lots of little programs that all do one part of the website, which is easier to update and less prone to all going down at once, but is a lot more complex to run. If one goes down, that part of Twitter will stop working.
  • Most of the people who know how most of these programs work have left the company. Elon sure doesn't, he switched 80% of them off.
  • At least some of them are probably designed to step in when there's unusually heavy load. The World Cup is next week, and it has historically been one of the heaviest usage periods Twitter sees. It's hard enough when all hands are on deck. Twitter no longer has enough hands.
  • They no longer have a payroll team. No-one's getting paid until they're replaced.
  • At this point, what we have seen is that Musk does not do things patiently. When things start going bad, there's going to be wild pivots in direction to try and solve the immediate problem, which will likely break other things. We don't know how bad it'll get over the week, but the trendline strongly suggests it's going to keep getting worse. (Two weeks ago when he was talking about selling verification for $8, no-one thought he'd really do it, let alone that in two weeks he'd have lost 3/4 of the staff and locked everyone out of the building.)
Realistically, though, they can probably turn the site back on after they stop getting hammered by football. They'll have lost users, some features will just stop working entirely, but that's fine, at least it's up and possibly serving ads. The other big period of unusually heavy load, I'm told, is New Years', when every user in a timezone tries to post as soon after 12am their time. Their SSL certificate is apparently due to expire soon, which will be Very Bad - I've seen someone say the 8th January, but when I connected I got the 10th of February.
posted by Merus at 6:50 AM on November 18 [13 favorites]


My money is on Saturday when the World Cup starts, and the few remaining tweeps are not allowed to access the office. That's when it all goes to shit.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:51 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Here's hoping Musk buys New Corp next!
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:52 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


What are the chances that by next Tuesday twitter.com will load nothing but a gif meme of a bird cemetery or similar?
posted by UN at 6:55 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I'm skeptical twitter is going to just plain die within a week.

I've seen credible reports that over 75% of the remaining* engineers noped out of the 'hardcore' ultimatum on thursday and took the offered 3 month severance, meaning that they've lost more than 90% of their engineers total since Musk took over, in addition to the near shuttering of e.g. HR, legal and comms departments.

Said pledge: "We will need to be extremely hardcore... This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade". And they had 24 hours to 'opt in' or they'd automatically be sacked.

So all the engineers keeping backend services running? They're pretty much all gone, or going. The fact that the systems are still running largely unattended, despite Musk actively hacking away at the roots, (see his order to turn off ALL microservices which nobbled 2FA for a bit, for example) shows they built in a lot of redundancy and robust infrastructure - they did a good job (plus they use a lot of AWS infrastructure)

But for a big, complex codebase like twitter, with a bajillion features and dependencies, it's like a bunch of plates spinning on closely adjacent poles - it'll all spin on on it's own without maintenance for a bit, but when it starts to crash down it's going to pretty much all come down at once as knock-on effects pile up and there's not enough (or any) people who know how it all fits together to stop it.

As a (former) sysadmin, I'm thinking a week before twitter starts suffering major outages is on the optimistic side if the staff losses from the latest loyalty purge are even vaguely true. Plus World Cup surge traffic, as a treat.

* on top of the 50% initial headcount purge and 80% contractor purge, culling anyone who didn't immediately return to the office from WFH, and the sacking of lead techs who contradicted him when he whinged about completely made-up inherited technical problems.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 6:59 AM on November 18 [14 favorites]


So, I worked at Twitter for a little while, starting in 2019. My job was basically to wander around and look for problems (largely engineering ones, with a focus on performance and stability). There were a huge number of them, and I of course became interested in what the root cause of these problems was.

One of the things I got interested in was the tool for managing information about the servers that Twitter operated. I was working on a financial model for figuring out TCO of various servers (since the one we had was significantly wrong), and I tried to find a list of all the servers we had, and found out that the list the finance department had was different from the list that engineering department had was different from the list that the datacenter people had.

That seemed like a problem, so I started talking to people about it. I had a meeting with the finance guy who maintained their list, and his response was essentially, "well, I don't see what the problem is, I've got a list!" So then I asked around in engineering to figure out how that list got made (I found this out by talking to the datacenter people, so I already had a pretty good idea of their take). I found a single person who had been around for ages who was basically like "oh yeah that whole system is fucked, I have this ~40 page document on all the problems it has, wanna fix it?" He was, it seemed, the only person who really had any big-picture idea of how the system actually worked.

I talked to him about how things got to this state, and his overall impression was that Twitter's mass layoffs in 2015 (which seem to be significantly smaller than the current ones, ~10% of the company) caused a sort of CYA culture, where no one was even willing to admit that anything had any problems, because they were worried about being next when the next mass layoffs came.

I think it's hard for people outside to imagine how much the layoffs of ~10% of the staff in 2015 (granted, mostly from the engineering department, so it had an outsized impact on them) shaped the dysfunction of the entire organization.

I thought people were overstating Twitter's likelihood of dying a few days ago, but now I'm not as sure. I think there's more likelihood than people think of it limping along with constant bugs and outages before slowly fading into memory while still hanging around for reasons no one can really fathom, like MySpace. But there's a real chance of it just… going out, now — still quite unlikely in the scheme of things, I think, but man it would be funny.
posted by wesleyac at 7:01 AM on November 18 [81 favorites]


I think that the current level of insanity in management is almost unprecedented, so Twitter will fail in an unprecedented way. Pretty much everyone sees this company that is cratering towards hell and I think can't help but think "well somebody will pull back on the joystick at some point." Maybe they will! Maybe they will. But we are in uncharted territory. There are tons of awful managers out there, but having one who is so bad while being so unaware while having so much power to do what they want...I think it's easy to revert to overly optimistic estimates because it's almost impossible to imagine just how bad this situation is

me and everyone else who used to work at twitter are all mourning. as a once employee, and as a fond user of the website. sigh
posted by wooh at 7:06 AM on November 18 [23 favorites]


Having worked in tech for a long time, there's rarely much if any extra capacity to do more than keep things running. Pretty much anything (other than features) that improves, automates, or streamlines gets done because engineers are motivated to do it. I have managed lots of ops and dev teams, and in all cases losing even 10% of the team puts you in turtle mode. Hiring replacements or getting needed new reqs is a nightmare, and it's almost impossible to do the obvious thing and spread knowledge out so you are more disaster-proof. Also a lot of things you think are some smooth-running automated process (including keeping apps running) require constant intervention, manual steps, fixes, patches, etc. Someone in a prior thread said something like "Twitter is basically feature complete; why do they even need that many devs?" ... reality is that any system or feature you build using n people is going to require pretty close to n people to maintain, forever. Security fixes, platform upgrades, changes to browser standards, changes to integrated APIs, new privacy regulations in country X requiring a total database redesign, just a million million things.

So whole teams leaving, or teams cut to 50% or less capacity? Stuff is going to just implode. Never mind that the remaining people are not exactly going to be motivated. They'll be lucky if there's no deliberate internal sabotage.

tl;dr; The way you think tech systems work is not how they work.
posted by caviar2d2 at 7:13 AM on November 18 [34 favorites]


And yeah that badge tweet is a joke but my real guess for the reason is probably that the people responsible for offboarding people all left or were fired, so it's easiest to just cut off everyone's access while they figure shit out.

I don't think it'll actually make a big difference in the scheme of things, everyone is used to remote work (Twitter was actually one of the first companies to go remote during the pandemic), but it is almost as funny as Facebook having to angle grind their way back into their datacenters because no one noticed a circular dependency.
posted by wesleyac at 7:14 AM on November 18


My spouse is a member of a fandom that is mostly Twitter-based, so I've been helping her scrape as much history as possible. What has worked for me (imperfectly) is:

1. This Python module and tool. (It's a fork of TWINT, which got abandoned a couple of years ago; this fork seems to have kept up.)
2. The Python 'gallery-dl' package.
3. A custom Ruby script that consolidates everything and renders a readable web page.
4. A shell script that runs everything.

The trick is to run twint twice:


twint -u $userid -o $userid.json --json --full-text --count --stats
twint -u $userid -o $userid.json --json --full-text --count --stats --retweet


(For non-Unix-users: "$word" is a shell variable; replace it with the relevant text. E.g. $userid is the name of the twitter account you want to scrape.)

twint can get all of the account's public tweets without --retweet but will only fetch the last ~3200 if retweets are included. Hence, we run it twice; this gives you all of the tweets and some of the retweets. (Note that retweets still don't have the complete text and often don't have media attachements.)

Note also that twint will append new tweets to the output file, so there will be duplicates in $userid.json.

Next, I run gallery-dl:


gallery-dl http://twitter.com/$userid -D $download_directory


This will fetch (most of?) the public media attachments. Each file is named _.jpeg (or equivalent filename extension). So you can associate media files with the tweet but (AFAICT) not in the order they appeared in the tweet.

The tweets also contain URLs of attached pictures. By and large, these are either the same files that gallery-dl downloads or smaller copies of the same image. However, they seem to be in the correct order. My Ruby script (among other things) fetches these as well. I'll try to publish my code later today.

posted by suetanvil at 7:15 AM on November 18 [15 favorites]


I want to believe that Twitter is going to implode spectacularly, and it sure looks as though it's going to, but I have a stubborn pessimism that bad things persist in mundane ways and rich people are able to slither out of jams.
posted by entropone at 7:15 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


I think Twitter as a brand might survive. Perhaps Twitter as a simple instant messaging app (something you likely have on your phone already). Or as a breakfast cereal (with little blue bird marshmallow bits). Or a brand of hard seltzer ("it's sweet to drink some Tweets"). The sky's the limit!
posted by SPrintF at 7:16 AM on November 18 [16 favorites]


So whole teams leaving, or teams cut to 50% or less capacity? Stuff is going to just implode. Never mind that the remaining people are not exactly going to be motivated. They'll be lucky if there's no deliberate internal sabotage.

The big one for me is security patching - they've lost the people that implement those without breaking stuff (too much), AND the security team has been utterly smashed as well, so no-one checking the intrusion detection systems, suspicious activity, advising staff on phishing attempts etc etc.

Twitter has a giant 'hack me' sign on its back right now, and with desperately short handed and frazzled remaining employees, best security practices are the first thing out the window. So uh, don't use your password on twitter for anything else, m'kay? Their user database may well already be in the hands of hackers-who-sell-to-spammers undetected, and if not, it likely will be soon.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:19 AM on November 18 [19 favorites]


Can't believe this nonsense woke kottke from his Odinsleep.
posted by gwint at 7:21 AM on November 18 [6 favorites]


From atomicthumbs on Twitter/Cohost, this post has a link to a Twitter search query designed to find alternate services for the people you follow. Handy stuff.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Each file is named _.jpeg (or equivalent filename extension)

By which I mean tweet id (a long number), underscore ("_"), a short number , and the file extension. E.g. "1593487451393183744_1.jpg". I didn't notice the mangling until the edit window had closed.

The important bit is that you can use the first part of the filename to associate a media file with the tweet it came from.
posted by suetanvil at 7:32 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I had trouble with twint, so I spent a few hours roughing out a scraper for twitter accounts, if the official data downloader isn't working this thing will try its best. One nice thing is that it downloads tweets and media and gives you a nice HTML feed of the tweets it finds. But I'd trust twint to more reliably find tweets.
posted by roywig at 7:39 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


(my scraper also requires some familiarity with python, relies on both Twitter and nitter, an unofficial frontend, it's liable to overwrite data if you're not careful, I wrote it as fast as possible, and I have no prior experience scraping Twitter. So, ymmv. But it's something, at least. And the HTML output means you can relatively easily eyeball how well it worked)
posted by roywig at 7:42 AM on November 18


I've read in some of the coverage that some Twitter employees have remained because their immigration status is tied to their visas. Such employees are in a terrible situation, it seems, as I'm sure a lot of the work of keeping the place from falling apart will fall on their shoulders. I imagine that switching jobs is more complicated than just finding another employer willing to sponsor you, which is probably already difficult - presumably, they need to file paperwork on your behalf as well? Does anyone know if there are resources being made available for these workers?
posted by nightcoast at 7:47 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


If you look at the @adept256 account you'll see it's a Russian bot created in 2011. That's why I never joined, I wanted my nick and some hacker was squatting on it. What am I supposed to do about that? I can't prove I'm adept256, nobody knows I'm Batman. I'm certainly not going to pay the asshole.

So before I could even create an account some Russian prick was impersonating me. Fuck that, I thought, twitter sucks. Do I really need this thing? Not really.

The adept256 nick goes back to my IRC days in the 90s. Anyone familiar with IRC (early internet chatroom) moderation could tell you that twitter was going to be a shitshow.
posted by adept256 at 7:48 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Wait a sec adept256...

"I'm Batman"
posted by Windopaene at 7:51 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


To expand on the notes above about making the Twitter archive more useful: this article about some scripts to convert and improve the archive is useful. A key thing in there; apparently all your links in the archive are to Twitter's t.co redirector, not the actual site you linked. Of course t.co is at risk of going down too. There's a script to resolve all the links and store their real destinations.

Twitter's archive is a pretty great little product btw, something built well years ago when it was launched. It has a nifty little webapp, even a working local-only search. It's one of the better cloud backups I've seen.

As for guesses, I think Twitter will survive in diminished form. I think the systems are resilient enough and there's enough folks left behind to keep it running. And Musk is not a complete idiot (despite evidence); he will extract value from what he bought somehow. But we already know some crucial functions like trust & safety are being abandoned. And it's not hard to imagine things being pretty rough over there for a long time. I can't imagine how Musk thinks they're going to do anything new successfully, at least not without great cost.
posted by Nelson at 7:52 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Too much of other people's money is tied up in Twitter, it's not going away. As such, I look forward to everyone tweeting their farewells for the next several months and then continuing to post.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:55 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


The extension Twitter Media Downloader seems to be good, it's available for Firefox and Chrome.
posted by roywig at 8:00 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I mean LJ is still around, Tumblr's is re-assuming its garbage site ethos, and:

Chenchen Zhang - this also reminds me of #douban, where users operate permanently in the expectation that the website might be banned tomorrow. those of us remaining on the bird site could use some douban spirit.

in general folks in China use social media while knowing that their accounts could get suspended any day for political or apolitical content. every time you lose an acct with thousands of connections, you start all over again.

posted by cendawanita at 8:01 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Often, regarding the existence of billionaires, it seems obvious that there are things we'd have if they didn't exist, but rarely can you point to something specific and say, that. That is something we'd have if billionaires didn't exist.

Well now, regarding one specific billionaire at least, we have an answer. Twitter. We'd have Twitter if Elon Musk didn't exist.


That's backwards. Outside the strictly money movers, people only become billionaires by creating the previously unimagined (or just unrealized) "that", whether "that" is Apple, Michael Jackson's song list, Amazon, Harry Potter, or, of course, Twitter itself, the creating of which made Jack Dorsey a billionaire.

Which is not to say that "that" is necessarily a good thing, or that a spare billion dollars or two arising from "that" could not find better uses than that which some billionaires put said billion or two to.
posted by BWA at 8:12 AM on November 18


It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of Twitter.
posted by Western Infidels at 8:14 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Too much of other people's money is tied up in Twitter, it's not going away.

So how are the lenders going to step in and change what's happening?

I'm sure plenty of money was lost when the Titanic sank too.

But while money has a lot of power in this society, it's not omnipotent...
posted by overglow at 8:21 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


That's backwards.

I think that's the point.

If it wasn't for a petty, narcissistic, manchild of a billionaire, Twitter wouldn't be facing the problems it's currently facing. Everything that's happening to Twitter now is a direct result of one man buying it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:25 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


The sky's the limit!

The only limit is yourself.
posted by fedward at 8:28 AM on November 18 [8 favorites]


I know how to get my own archive, but is there a way to DL the entirety of other users' public tweets/retweets?
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:31 AM on November 18


... and the various mastodon servers need to find more resources again.

My god though, this is a trainwreck, it's hard to look away.

My personal hope is this all stays up just long enough for all the artist and journalist communities to archive and find new places to land before the whole thing goes up.
posted by pan at 8:36 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


How To Kill A Mocking Bird

How to Mock a Killed Bird
posted by mark k at 8:36 AM on November 18 [16 favorites]


I know how to get my own archive, but is there a way to DL the entirety of other users' public tweets/retweets?

The entirety is a tall order. The API has some pretty strict limits on historical tweets unless you’re paying for enterprise access.

They’re used to be a commercial archive service (Gnip), but Twitter bought them several years ago.

There are some special purpose archives (eg Trump’s tweets), but for an arbitrary user it’s not really feasible in an automated fashion.
posted by jedicus at 8:52 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Please note that if you've ever used Twitter as an authentication proxy to log into any other services - that is, if you've ever clicked the "log in with twitter" button - you need to figure out how to get out from under that as soon as you can, because when that stops working everything downstream of it will stop working too.
posted by mhoye at 9:37 AM on November 18 [15 favorites]


So how are the lenders going to step in and change what's happening?

During testimony this week in the Delaware Chancery court, he stated he was already looking for someone to hand the role of CEO over to. Baby gets bored with his toys quickly.

I joked (?) that Twitter's patent filing was simply "a button that stokes anxiety". I stand by that now more than ever.

There is no harm in being proactive, download and archive whatever you see fit, but I think it is highly unlikely 44 billion dollars will be set on fire in under a month.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:46 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Science twitter is trying to make a social graph backup: Opencheck.is

Fedifinder tries to figure out if people you follow or have on lists have Mastodon accounts somewhere
posted by foxfirefey at 9:48 AM on November 18 [9 favorites]


roywig: The link to the Firefox browser extension is in Japanese, might want to get that edited (I just changed "ja" to "en" in the url).
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:53 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I found a single person who had been around for ages who was basically like "oh yeah that whole system is fucked, I have this ~40 page document on all the problems it has, wanna fix it?" He was, it seemed, the only person who really had any big-picture idea of how the system actually worked.

Did anyone else immediately hear and read this in Gilfoyle's voice?
posted by loquacious at 10:07 AM on November 18 [11 favorites]


but I think it is highly unlikely 44 billion dollars will be set on fire in under a month.

How much money did FTX just set on fire? 32 billion? It's not quite 44 billion, but it's close...
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:08 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Regardless of Musk's obvious, and publicly demonstrated ineptitude, I don't think comparing it to a literal Ponzi scheme is fair. FTX didn't set anything on fire, they stole it.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:11 AM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Elon just wants to test whether you can reuse a tech company after lighting it on fire and blasting it into the stratosphere.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:29 AM on November 18 [8 favorites]


I go back and forth on wondering whether this is ... not necessarily four-dimensional chess, but at least like, three-dimensional Candyland or something, where there's a kind of personally-beneficial soft-landing for Musk when the dust settles, or if it's some combination of egotistical incompetence and ... maybe drug abuse? I don't know, the whole saga is so farcical as to be almost incomprehensible to me.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:36 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


A good twitter thread on all sorts of ways things can go wrong at Twitter.
posted by fings at 10:43 AM on November 18 [12 favorites]


people only become billionaires by creating the previously unimagined (or just unrealized) "that", whether "that" is Apple, Michael Jackson's song list, Amazon, Harry Potter, or, of course, Twitter itself

This is a staggeringly, mind-bogglingly untrue statement and suggests you are woefully naive about the actual billionaires of our world. Check out the list of billionaires, click on a few names to see a little bit of their bios, and see for yourself. The myth that the only way to become a billionaire is by inventing or creating some world-changing new thing is pure pro-billionaire propaganda.

Fortunately, if there's one thing Musk is accomplishing (aside from setting a new world record for "most expensive midlife crisis of all time") with this absolute shitshow on the bird site, it's to do tremendous damage to the idea that the world is anything resembling a meritocracy and the billionaires of the world are all brilliant people who deserve their billions.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:52 AM on November 18 [39 favorites]


Do people really think it's anything but a lot of international actors pooling their money and looking for damning evidence to use against their political enemies -- whether by extortion, blackmail, or other means?

Wouldn't having access to a ton of investigative journalists' DMs bring in top-dollar from nefarious parties looking to quash any legal actions they're currently facing (including Elmo himself)?

IMO, having access to ALL that data and making it available for sale to the highest bidder is likely to net significantly more than the $44-billion outlay, especially if it helps cover up evidence of things like war crimes, governmental corruption, collusion by multinational corps engaged in price-fixing or price-gouging, etc.

And what about all that delicious, profitable user data? Identity theft? There are countless ways to monetize Twitter's user data once it's on the black market. And Elmo allegedly wants to turn it into a payment-processing system?

I see all of this as not a bumbling idiot breaking things, but malicious intent disguised as incompetency -- why else would he urge users to vote Republican in the midterms? Do we really think a GOP-led house is going to investigate whether Twitter's takeover now constitutes a national security risk?

Not to mention that once you wreck it into the ground, there's a shitload of tax breaks that come from declaring business losses for at least a couple years.

I hope I'm wrong, and he's just a gleeful idiot wrecking things because his ego can't handle failure. But I don't have a lot of faith that this is what we're seeing happen here.

Dave Troy has a pretty good (but brief) Twitter thread here: "I believe the Twitter purchase was an act of war and intentional sabotage."
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:08 AM on November 18 [17 favorites]


re: Tweeps who have visas who might lose them if they're laid off:
Does anyone know if there are resources being made available for these workers?
as someone who has gone through the gauntlet of work based immigration and been on both the staff receiving and management distributing side of a layoff, I think it is touching and lovely that you hope that this would happen, but I can tell you that this actually never happens. Not even for the kindest company.

Layoffs happen because a company is in financial trouble and has to do awful things to itself to stay alive. It will only provide support for departing employees because it's a way of mitigating the morale loss that comes from a layoff and also because states have employee protection laws in place to require measures like 2 months or 3 months severance. There are no laws protecting the ability for immigrants to maintain their status beyond the 90 days that are afforded after a loss of employment status. There are few options for a company to protect these former colleagues and very little upside for a company to do it. All of the money that immigrants pay into social security, unemployment taxes and medicaid will be used to supplement the benefit of citizens, and they will not be able to claim any of that.

We are always going to be left on our own.
posted by bl1nk at 11:09 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Forget that 'closed until Monday' stuff!
NEW: Email from Elon to the engineering team: "Anyone who can actually write software, please report to the 10th floor at 2pm today. Before doing so, please email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past 6 months"
Sounds like a trap to me.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:11 AM on November 18 [9 favorites]


Do people really think it's anything but a lot of international actors pooling their money and looking for damning evidence to use against their political enemies -- whether by extortion, blackmail, or other means?

Personally, I think that 90% of theories like this are attempts to find a deeper logic, however insidious, to actions which are largely chaotic and stupid. I'm sure that various groups of opportunists will try to take advantage of stuff like this when it arises, but by and large, history suggests that that kind of thing is more tactical than strategic, and involves a lot of flailing around.

A friend of mine has interviewed one-on-one with Musk multiple times, and has spent a fair amount of time with him apart from that. Her take is basically that Elon cares a lot about SpaceX, could give a shit about Tesla, and likely gives even less of a shit about Twitter. He's not a rational actor. His holding power doesn't make him rational, just like his being rich doesn't make him smart.

The "conspiracy" that I believe in is that wealth and power are extraordinarily transformative and ruinous, and also largely exist in the hands of unchecked individuals who can destroy the lives of tens of thousands of people for the same reason that most of us text exes: it's three in the morning, they drank two too many espressos, and they have a phone in their hands. Billionaires have power many orders of magnitude beyond most of us, but they are just as stupid as us, and their impulse decisions are as ruinous. And as much as we'd all like to pretend that that 3am booty call was part of some grand master life plan, it never is. Ditto the bulk of what happens when capital gets thrown about: the thought of insidious master plans is more reassuring than the reality that the driver's asleep at the wheel, and there're an awful lot of things to run into, most of which will suffer a lot worse than the person in the car.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 11:18 AM on November 18 [51 favorites]


There is no 4D chess at work; he talked some shit to mess with Twitter's stock price, got baited into making an offer -- because he can never back down from any challenge to his image -- and signed it while also waiving due diligence. He perhaps thought he'd be able to ask for a mulligan, or stall court actions long enough for Twitter to settle and let him back out. Then the Delaware Chancery court had all his texts entered in the discovery process and he wisely decided to live up to his obligation rather than spill even more embarrassing details about his life into official court documents for all to see. The Chancery court does not fuck around. He doesn't want to be doing this, but he's too arrogant to do anything but what we're seeing.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:25 AM on November 18 [16 favorites]


I know how to get my own archive, but is there a way to DL the entirety of other users' public tweets/retweets?

the archiver I wrote linked upthread tries to do this (tweets and retweets) in a roundabout way. It's not official and it's going to miss tweets, but it's probably better than nothing if you are comfortable with running and probably debugging bad Python code.
posted by roywig at 11:29 AM on November 18


Forget that 'closed until Monday' stuff!

Oh, the building is still closed and locked. Only the truly worthy people who can actually write code who make it past the locked doors, loose dogs, and laser turrets in order to make the appointment will retain their jobs.

On a more serious note, there's speculation that these emails went out to suspected leakers with watermarking in their spacing, punctuation, etc. so that when the reporters quote the leak verbatim the source can be identified.

he's too arrogant to do anything but what we're seeing.

At this point it's also feeling like there may be a stimulant bender on top of the usual arrogance.
posted by Candleman at 11:30 AM on November 18 [13 favorites]


If Musk has/had an actual plan for Twitter, I'd guess that he wanted it to be the foundation of a media empire, like buying a newspaper or a cable network. A lot of actual news is/was disseminated via Twitter, so controlling that pipeline has value. If Twitter was the "paper of record," (ie, the verification process was actually worth something), then it would have value if it supplied the world with posts from politicians, captains of industry and celebrities. In this scheme, the posts of "little people" would have no value at all, of course, so the algorithm would bury them. I think Stephen King had the right of it: Twitter should pay him, since he's the one creating content.

Of course, for this scheme to work, Twitter would require more verification and moderation, actual editorial control, not less. And somehow you have to make money doing this. But Elon didn't think about that.
posted by SPrintF at 11:34 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


His initial ideas for Twitter appeared to be "bank of Tik-Tok with single-click buying". What I got from that is that he wants money flowing through the place.
posted by clawsoon at 11:38 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


my current fascination is how the brigade of Elon supporters who show up in any Twitter/FB/LinkedIn thread criticizing Musk's behavior always reach for the talking points that Twitter employees are mismanaged, coddled, spoiled, and lazy. It's like all of the regular criticisms that folks point at government bureaucrats and liberal elites as they defend the inherent work ethic of capitalists are just being regurgitated to other capitalists who are now the designated enemy.

It's almost like these criticisms aren't based on any truth but are ... projections? of someone's inherent insecurities and class envy? That couldn't be ...
posted by bl1nk at 11:40 AM on November 18 [23 favorites]


Twitter vs. Musk texts released during discovery -- Exhibit H made for some pretty interesting reading re: buyer intent.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:43 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


people only become billionaires by creating the previously unimagined (or just unrealized) "that",

Creating the "previously unimagined (or just unrealized) 'that'" can, sometimes, earn you entry into the millionaire class. Millionaires only become billionaires by theft.
posted by biogeo at 11:49 AM on November 18 [17 favorites]


If Twitter did go down then it would be like a Brand New Day for everyone. That's not totally a bad thing is it?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:06 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


If Twitter crashes and you need to find me, the hell you will. I've got a two day head start on you, which is more than I need. I speak a dozen languages, know every local custom, I'll blend in, disappear, you'll never see me again. From @PeterBrannen1.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:12 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]


I don't know Elon Musk but I've known a lot of drug addicts and alcoholics, and it's pretty obvious to me that he's a person with a substance abuse problem and too much money. At this rate it won't be long before he only has the substance abuse problem.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:13 PM on November 18 [13 favorites]


I go by Hanlon's Razor, here as elsewhere. I believe that Musk's bankrollers did assume that the place would be less dangerous to them with the kind of changes he said he'd implement -- a free-for-all with a zone so flooded it was useless to anyone but bottom-feeders who would hatch constant evil rumors. (Usenet became like this, but with pure spam.) But surely they also assumed, being humans, that since he is very rich, he must know on some level what he is doing. They know better now, but that doesn't mean that Musk will no longer be useful to them. He's a Trump figure for the kind of guys who still think "Flying Spaghetti Monster" is funny. And as a Trump figure, he will have countless uses.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:16 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


> gwint: "Can't believe this nonsense woke kottke from his Odinsleep."

If this brings back Nicole Cliffe, perhaps it will all be worth it. Really, the only good path out of this I can see is if Nicole Cliffe's husband's hedge fund buys out Elon and puts her in charge.
posted by mhum at 12:36 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


A good twitter thread on all sorts of ways things can go wrong at Twitter.

I can't think of a better argument against twitter's existance. At least with a federated system the emotional labor is forced onto the people running an instance.
posted by The Power Nap at 12:54 PM on November 18


@capitolhunters
Someone has to say it: Elon Musk has lied for 27 years about his credentials. He does not have a BS in Physics, or any technical field. Did not get into a PhD program. Dropped out in 1995 & was illegal. Later, investors quietly arranged a diploma - but not in science.
Threadreader Link
posted by nathan_teske at 1:09 PM on November 18 [21 favorites]


LOL, the "and they said it was fine" on his graduation just made me snicker a whole lot.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:14 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Moneyquotes from a thread from a Twitter engineer who didn’t have an Musk allergy but who still didn’t stay:
I left because I no longer knew what I was staying for. Previously I was staying for the people, the vision, and of course the money (lets all be honest). All of those were radically changed or uncertain.

Obviously, a 50% cut is hard but my org was cut at 85%+ on the first round. (An admitted mistake by leadership when they were trying to retain the survivors) I was the last one standing in multiple large slack rooms and JIRA boards. The office was depressing.

Nevertheless myself and others were banding together, triaging services, updating on-call, literally saying to my wife on Tuesday “I’ll give it my best shot what do I have to lose?”. Then Wednesday offered a clean exit and 80% of the remaining were gone. 3/75 engineers stayed.

If I stayed I would have been on-call constantly with little support for an indeterminate amount of time on several additional complex systems I had no experience in. Maybe for the right vision I could have dug deep and done mind numbing work for awhile. But that’s the thing…

There was no vision shared with us. No 5 year plan like at Tesla. Nothing more than what anyone can see on Twitter. It allegedly is coming for those who stayed but the ask was blind faith and required signing away the severance offer before seeing it. Pure loyalty test.



Finally, there was no retention plan for those that stayed. No clear upside for sticking it through the storm on the horizon. Just “trust us” style verbal promises. But tweeps overall were untrusting after the 7 months of acquisition drama, recent tweets, and leaks etc.

So my friends are gone, the vision is murky, there is a storm coming and a no financial upside. What would you do? Would you sacrifice time with your kids over the holidays for vague assurances and the opportunity to make a rich person richer or would you take the out?
I wonder how much of Elon throwing his weight around with “resign or overtime decide now!!!” is designed to give the remaining engineers a nasty case of sunk cost fallacy or just identify the ones too captive by circumstance to have other options and he just miscalculated how many people (some of who doubtlessly had just had a very cushy payout from his overpayment of their RSUs) were willing to put up with it.
posted by foxfirefey at 1:33 PM on November 18 [21 favorites]


Dropped out in 1995 & was illegal.

It took me a while to parse this the first time I read it but what they mean is by dropping out he overstayed his student visa not that dropping out was somehow illegal.

as someone who has gone through the gauntlet of work based immigration and been on both the staff receiving and management distributing side of a layoff, I think it is touching and lovely that you hope that this would happen, but I can tell you that this actually never happens. Not even for the kindest company.

I think they were hoping some non company actor might have stepped in to help these people even if it was just a lose collection of former and current visa holders banding together to help each other out.

There is no harm in being proactive, download and archive whatever you see fit, but I think it is highly unlikely 44 billion dollars will be set on fire in under a month.

If Twitter wasn't private what do you think it would be trade at today? $53? $30? $10? I think it would be a lot closer tot he $10 than $50. IE: Musk has already set fire to that much corporate value.
posted by Mitheral at 1:46 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


> any portmanteau in a storm: "If Twitter did go down then it would be like a Brand New Day for everyone. That's not totally a bad thing is it?"

Well, you know how when people say goodbye to friends and colleagues when they leave a job or graduate from school they say that they'll write and keep in touch but they never do?
posted by mhum at 1:48 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


"Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2 pm today. Before doing so, please email a bullet point summary of what your code commands have achieved in the past ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code," Musk wrote in the first of three emails reportedly sent around midnight PT Friday.

Musk's emails were published in full by Business Insider and also reported by Fortune, CNBC, and Reuters. His emails requested in-person meetings with coders despite Twitter informing staff that it was closing all office buildings and disabling employee badge access until Monday.

"If you're working remotely, please email the request below nonetheless and I will try to speak [to] you via video. Only those who cannot physically get to Twitter HQ or have a family emergency are excused," Musk wrote in a second email. "These will be short, technical interviews that allow me to better understand the Twitter tech stack."

Musk prefers that Twitter coders fly to San Francisco for the short interviews. "If possible, I would appreciate it if you could fly to SF to be present in person. I will be at Twitter HQ until midnight and then back again tomorrow morning," he wrote in another email.

Publicly, Musk claimed to be unconcerned about the mass departures. "The best people are staying, so I’m not super worried," Musk wrote.
Screenshots. Of. Code. SCREENSHOTS. Holy fuck.

AND he thinks he's kept 'the best people' by firing a random half of the company and making most of the rest who are capable of finding other work quit with his insane demands. AND all the lead people who tried to tell him how the tech stack worked are gone because his ego wouldn't let anyone tell him his butthead assumptions were wrong without immediately firing them. Whatever he's smoking, he really needs to stop before he injures himself.

Hope no staffer is dumb enough to fly to SF thinking they'll put it on expenses, given the entire payroll department is reportedly gone...
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 1:54 PM on November 18 [17 favorites]


It will be a bad thing for a lot communities. A fair number may not survive a transition because there isn’t another Twitter. That may sound so obvious as to be stupid, but one of the groups I used to be involved in shifted to a different type of platform from its original home, not Twitter, and it’s just different enough that a fair number of people have left. So it may not be all bad, but if Twitter goes down permanently there will be plenty of pain involved for users.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:56 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Bella Donna: and it’s just different enough that a fair number of people have left.

I'm curious if some of the things from the "all sorts of ways things can go wrong at Twitter" link upthread played a part in it, especially the parts where if something is laggy people will give up on it en masse:
Suddenly it takes a couple dozen milliseconds longer to load the feed. Ever seen the statistics for what happens to retention rate? It's mind-boggling.

You wouldn't believe how many tens of thousands of people will stop using your app, forever, if some Android change adds the slightest lag to scroll times.

If you add 5 seconds to the time it takes to start your app from nothing, you will TANK your onboarding rate. To an unbelievable degree. I mean, push it into the fucking ground. They'll never try the app, ever.

Some Android change makes it where loading the app takes 1 second longer. Suddenly, 25,000 fewer people are using your app every day. Those numbers will start to grow. I know it seems ridiculous, but this shit is REAL.
posted by clawsoon at 2:02 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Twitter Chaos Endangers Public Safety, Emergency Managers Warn:

Though only an estimated 22 percent of U.S. adults use Twitter, its reach extends well beyond them. Users often share screenshots of tweets on other social media sites; some send tweets to their contacts via text or e-mail. “We found that Twitter can be a really, really useful platform, especially during disaster-type events,” says Robert Prestley, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who studies how weather information sources use social media. “It is someplace where you can go and get information that is being updated on a somewhat constant basis,” which is especially important during situations with rapidly changing conditions.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:24 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


Moneyquotes from a thread from a Twitter engineer who didn’t have an Musk allergy but who still didn’t stay

The thing is, pretty much everything he laid out is a Musk allergy. I'm sure there were some people at Twitter who just have a visceral hatred for him but most of them had a very rational dislike and bad expectations for him based on his prior antics with things like the Thai cave and his stated intent prior to the advertising. They very rationally knew it was going to play out something like this.

If Twitter wasn't private what do you think it would be trade at today? $53? $30? $10? I think it would be a lot closer tot he $10 than $50. IE: Musk has already set fire to that much corporate value.

I'd put it at more like $3 at this point. If 75% if the remaining half really do leave now, while I'm sure the name will carry on, I'd expect it will need to largely be rewritten and that it'll be just as successful as the Myspace rewrite. Beyond the loss of key personnel, he's also managed to piss off a lot of the key advertisers.
posted by Candleman at 2:26 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Musk has become high on his own supply, failing to differentiate between luck and execution, making him believe that he could continue a streak that has involved finding talented people to fix the problems he’s created. While he was able to enter early enterprises like Tesla and SpaceX and create a culture of fear and paranoia, Musk could not impose his will on Twitter. Staffers were not scared of him, as the company was not fundamentally dedicated to Musk’s pursuits, and he had no hand in its success, all while mistakenly believing that most people saw him as a moral and intellectual paragon.

Fundamentally, this situation has also proven Elon Musk to be deeply, painfully uncool.
From Ed Zitron. The whole thing is a truly epic read.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:43 PM on November 18 [12 favorites]


Yeah, those advertisers aren't coming back. In addition to their well-shared concerns about the mass firing of moderation, security, trust, and safety teams, and fake accounts (the whole Elli Lily debacle), and turning into 'child porn and Nazis' twitter, the other big factor is their ad-sales contacts have all quit or been fired, so they'd struggle to place adverts even if they did want to risk burning their brand big time.

It's possible Twitter could survive in a much smaller fashion ala Parler or Truth Social with the scummiest of the scum advertisers, but with that 13 billion in debt servicing he's saddled them with, they're absolutely fucked in the medium term. it's going to be an absolute money pit for him personally, until either he cries uncle, runs out of Tesla stock to draw loans against, or Tesla's other shareholders revolt at his shitstorm antics and kick him out.

And that's assuming the lights just don't go out permanently because of a major systems failure nobody left knows how to fix.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:44 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Obviously, a 50% cut is hard but my org was cut at 85%+ on the first round. (An admitted mistake by leadership when they were trying to retain the survivors) I was the last one standing in multiple large slack rooms and JIRA boards. The office was depressing.

Waitaminute, twitter uses slack internally?
posted by adept256 at 2:49 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Everything coming out of Twitter HQ has strong Death of Stalin vibes, with an alternate-universe plot twist that the motherfucker's still alive and giving orders.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:51 PM on November 18 [33 favorites]


I would give your comment 1000 favorites if I could, mandolin conspiracy.
posted by Bella Donna at 3:02 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


That's a great article from Ed Zitron. My favorite:
Coding Corner: I do not know how to code, but I do understand that Musk’s requests were strange, so I decided to open this one up to those who knew better.
My followers, when asked, described Musk’s request for code as “like asking a car mechanic to show you their 10 best screws,” “completely meaningless without context,” “like asking for screenshots of the top 10 sentence fragments that you’ve written to figure out how good you are at writing articles,” “like asking a librarian for their favourite numbers in the dewy decimal system,” “like asking an aerospace engineer for their most important airplane parts,” or “like judging a non-fiction book by asking to see 10 books referenced in the bibliography.”
posted by Melismata at 3:04 PM on November 18 [28 favorites]


I'm dying to find out if anyone actually showed up to this meeting. Or was ABLE to. If I were a for-the-minute-employed Tweep, I think I'd pretend I had no idea what coding is today.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:08 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Twitter's built-in archive download doesn't seem to include bookmarks. Or (as far as I can tell) the usernames of the people you follow or who follow you (just their numerical Twitter user IDs). To get those bookmarks and username lists: you can use the open source web archiving tool Webrecorder’s ArchiveWebPage Chrome extension. Log into Twitter and let the tool run for a bit, and it'll scroll & save for you. Blog post & short video about it by Ed Summers -- I do like using this tool because Webrecorder already had name recognition for me and I know it was built by archivists, is meant to be robust, and will continue to be used and supported.
posted by brainwane at 3:15 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


"It’s the end of twitter as we know it, and I feel fine": "My love letter to all my fellow twitterers… With love and gratitude for Michael Stipe and REM."

That’s great! It starts with a joke tweet
trolls and bots, an offer made
And Elon Musk is not afraid

Eye of a hurricane, listen to the staff churn

posted by brainwane at 3:17 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Waitaminute, twitter uses slack internally? @adept256

Forgive my ignorance, but why would this be so bad/wrong/fraught/dangerous?

In the same vein, the SCREENSHOTS take? Is that also a kind of vulnerability of some sort?

I'm pretty much a fountain pen, Bank of England black ink, and letter paper sort -albeit eager to learn and grateful to be taught!
posted by dutchrick at 3:38 PM on November 18


The screenshots thing, assuming a modicum of care is taken not to spray the screenshots across the universe, shouldn't be a vulnerability.

It's just... a really really dimwitted, ineffectual way to assess code and the people who write code. I didn't think there was much worse than Microsoft stack ranking, but here we are.
posted by humbug at 3:50 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


the truly worthy people who can actually write code who make it past the locked doors, loose dogs, and laser turrets

And, in the Muppet version, the laser network made of red fuzzy yarn.
posted by clew at 4:06 PM on November 18 [6 favorites]


The screenshots thing is peculiar like communicating with a Mefite by screenshotting a piece of a metafilter thread and emailing it to them would be, if that helps.

It’s even weirder in context because both the editing programs used by individual programmers and the source code control programs that keep track of thousands of people’s interleaved, overlapping, jazerained source code have been improved over decades to help us understand the code at all the scales. Giving all that up for a disconnected screenshot is just strange.
posted by clew at 4:16 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Imagine telling a painter to zoom in on 0.05% of one of their paintings and take a picture of it and then you're going to fire them or not looking at that fraction of the painting. Now make it a collaborative painting with a dozen or more people all working on it over the course of several years so that many people's output is mixed together so it's hard to carve out a piece that you exclusively worked on.

It's also a stupid format to evaluate code in. What if your font size is too small for Elon's aged eyes or you love purple text and he hates it? If you evaluate code in text format rather than a picture, you can tweak all that stuff. You can cut and paste it. Etc.

And WTF is Elon going to do evaluate a picture of code written in languages that he doesn't understand? Even if he brings in his lovely people from Tesla, as noted above, the backend of Twitter is written in Scala and the odds of him employing people qualified to evaluated advanced Scala are slim (it's a niche but cool language).

And lastly, looking at a screenshot doesn't tell the story of the work involved or the importance. A really difficult and weird performance or security fix might be two or three lines of code but have taken several weeks of careful instrumentation of a complex stack to even figure out what's going on in order to write those few lines.
posted by Candleman at 4:17 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


A lot of big tech companies use Slack for internal comms. It costs money to license, but not as much as building out and maintaining a competitor, plus most engineers you'd hire are familiar and productive using it.

As I interpret it, the screenshots take is less "OMG security!" and more "omg looking at images of a couple of bits of code is a terrible way to evaluate someone's impact or ability as an engineer." I write lots of code. In isolation, a line of code is just a line of code. I can't really think of any single line of code that's self-evidently valuable, except for maybe something like the fast inverse square root in Quake or something, and even then that's clever/efficient, but not really going to move the needle in the kind of giant distributed system that Twitter is. The architecture (which makes it maintainble/extensible) is the valuable bit. You can't see that from a couple of screenshots.
posted by Alterscape at 4:21 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


I think it's all just an Elon mind trick. He asks you to show up in person to present your work, and instead of looking at the ridiculous printout of disembodied code, he tries to read your worth as a person pawn of capitalism. If you pass, you continue at Twitter and get to hardcore it for Elon for another day. If you fail, he'll zap you with laser eyes like the Oracles in The Neverending Story.
posted by mochapickle at 4:24 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


It's also a terrible way to evaluate your company as a whole; even if you want to concentrate on code and ignore marketing, accounting, human resources, plant security and maintenance, administration of databases/servers/networking/etc. There are big chunks of people vital to your codebase that never/rarely contribute any code to the production code. EG: Testers or documentation writers.
posted by Mitheral at 4:29 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


> dutchrick: "In the same vein, the SCREENSHOTS take?"

He previously asked for printouts (no more than 50 pages, lol) of code. I'm inclined to believe that Elon is just bad at coding. Like, I can't imagine anyone who's programmed in the last 20 years who thinks looking at a screenshot or printout of code is a reasonable thing to do in anything but the most trivial situations (e.g.: Comp. Sci. 101 or Intro to Programming type classroom exercises), nevermind in the context of "trying to understand Twitter's tech stack". I mean, in an enterprise of Twitter's size (and based on their microservice architecture), the individual snippets of code that you'd capture in a screenshot are not nearly as important as, say, how different components are linked up with each other or how the underlying server infrastructure is set up to serve these components.

I suspect that Elon basically fetishizes programming. He doesn't have any significant understanding or skill at it but recognizes it to be important and further believes it to be almost like a magic power (?) or, at the very least, an demonstration of intrinsic worth/skill/intelligence/whatever. I mean, he clearly thinks that if he just had the right 10 or 12 hardcore coders is all it'll take to fix Twitter (lol good luck with that).
posted by mhum at 4:30 PM on November 18 [15 favorites]


The purpose of this exercise is to see who will kneel and kiss Elon's ring. Think what a huge flex it would be to hear the news this morning in New York, jump on an airplane and run into the office at 7pm waving printouts of your code saying "am I too late? Will Mr. Musk look at my code please?" Just think how happy that will make Elon.
posted by Nelson at 4:31 PM on November 18 [17 favorites]


In the same vein, the SCREENSHOTS take? Is that also a kind of vulnerability of some sort?

You can't fit anything meaningful about code in a screenshot, and it blocks out all access to the rest it relies on - you can't follow links or see how it connects, or do anything to investigate further, because it's a tiny dumb picture. Code on any production scale is all about how many, many different parts fit together, written and used by many people, and a single small subsection of actually useful code can easily run into thousands of lines. Trying to diagnose whether a coder is any good, or worse how the code fits together with small snippets is like, well, trying to understand the geography and economy of the USA by looking at a tourist's favourite 10 photos, or learning how to fix a car by getting a mechanic to show you his favourite socket wrench.

PLUS a *really* good coder is often about *removing* code entirely. Code is a liability; it needs to be maintained, secured, updated, and not break when changes elsewhere are made, and old code that hasn't been touched for a while (because bob, who knew how it worked, and wrote clever but really opaque code that didn't interact well with other's, left years ago etc) is often particular risky. Customers are assets, money in the bank is an asset, a brand reputation is an asset; code is what you use to get those, but the code itself - you want it as clean, well-supported, understood, well documented and as little of it as you can get away with. Looking at snippets - especially outside the entire context of what they're for - is about as useful as well, Musk is competent as a leader.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:32 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]


Let's cut him some Slack. He's obviously a visual learner.
posted by bl1nk at 4:33 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


As an fyi for those who have managed to download their Twitter archives, I've been going through mine and noticed that many retweets have been truncated.
Something to keep an eye out for, if you're a completist.
posted by cheshyre at 4:35 PM on November 18


> Absolutely No You-Know-What: "You can't fit anything meaningful about code in a screenshot, and it blocks out all access to the rest it relies on - you can't follow links or see how it connects, or do anything to investigate further, because it's a tiny dumb picture."

Oh yeah, I also mentioned in the one of the other threads that I'd bet that Elon has no idea how to use a modern IDE. Otherwise, why would he be asking for screenshots and printouts? He probably doesn't understand git, either. It would be utterly unsurprising to me if he's basically trapped in the mental model of someone who self-taught themselves just enough C to get by sometime in the mid-1990s and never progressed beyond that.
posted by mhum at 4:39 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


I would be very curious to hear Mudge's thoughts on all this. He identified a lot of problems with internal processes and security at Twitter and would presumably have useful suggestions for change. On the other hand, Musk's legal team said that Mudge shouldn't get severance, and Musk doesn't seem to be very focused on security, so I'm guessing the two of them may not be on the best terms. On the other other hand, developers at Twitter might not be fans of Mudge, either, since he said they were doing a bunch of things wrong.
posted by clawsoon at 4:40 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Oh yeah, I also mentioned in the one of the other threads that I'd bet that Elon has no idea how to use a modern IDE.

The Wikipedia article doesn't say which languages or development tools Zip2 used, but it does say, "Zip2 allowed for two-way communication between users and advertisers. Users could message advertisers and have that message forwarded to their fax machine."
posted by clawsoon at 4:43 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


Let's cut him some Slack. He's obviously a visual learner.

So you’re saying he’s asking for the Visual Basics?
posted by nickmark at 4:43 PM on November 18 [11 favorites]


There are big chunks of people vital to your codebase that never/rarely contribute any code to the production code. EG: Testers or documentation writers.

Not to mention the Accessibility Experience Team.

They were eliminated in the very early going.

Via Gerard K. Cohen (thread):

I am officially no longer the Engineering Manager for the Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter. I have words.

[...]

So, the Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter is no longer. We had so much more to do, but we worked hard! There aren't very many people that have had the opportunity to make such an important global platform like Twitter accessible, but we understood the mission.


The fucked up thing is that I've met people IRL who learned a little bit about accessibility because of changes rolled out by Twitter. They were like "What's this "ALT" thing I see on an image? OH. THAT'S COOL. AND EASY TO DO."

Yeah, easy to do because the company made some investments in making that happen, and people worked on it. And it changed a few minds here and there, and provided simple end-user functionality that people could use with a minimum of friction.

Gone.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:45 PM on November 18 [8 favorites]


Musk has tweeted 7 times in the nearly 3 hours since his 2pm summons to personal review meetings with his eminence started. Perhaps he's multitasking. No, he's just an asshole.
posted by Nelson at 4:52 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


His latest tweet being a poll "Reinstate former President Trump"

Currently has 'Yes' at around 65% at just under 400k votes (probably more by the time this posts, it's going fast.

Gives a pretty good idea who his followers are, and looks like Trump will be reinstated.
posted by Buntix at 4:56 PM on November 18


I take it he's sitting there bored waiting for coders to fly in and show up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:56 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


If he's not playing League of Legends at the same time, I don't know how we can possibly consider him a genius.
posted by clawsoon at 4:56 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


His latest tweet being a poll "Reinstate former President Trump"

Perhaps that's his plan for the Content Moderation Council he promised three weeks ago. Twitter polls.
posted by Nelson at 4:58 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


His latest tweet being a poll "Reinstate former President Trump"

Considering that Twitter's only profitable years were 2018 and 2019, bringing back the platform's biggest money-maker no doubt makes financial sense.

Perhaps that's his plan for the Content Moderation Council he promised three weeks ago. Twitter polls.

His response to the results is, "Vox Populi, Vox Dei", so maybe.

Though he has said a hard no to Alex Jones, so perhaps there are some legal liability lines he's not going to cross.
posted by clawsoon at 5:02 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Like judging a guitar solo by taking a photo of the plectrum.
Like judging a meal by taking a photo of the kitchen knife.
Like judging a poem by taking a photo of the pen.
Like judging a _____ by taking a photo of the _____.

We can play this all day.
posted by adept256 at 5:04 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


If I were an engineer at Twitter, I would be seriously tempted to use the code review to troll Elon hard. Write up a little simulation of a thermodynamic system (or at least something that plausibly looks like one from the code alone), couch it in some bullshit about using statistical mechanics to analyze Twitter's network graphs, and force him to pretend that he understands enough physics to evaluate what you're doing.

He'd probably make you CTO just to avoid admitting that he doesn't know what you're talking about.
posted by biogeo at 5:06 PM on November 18 [20 favorites]


Like judging a meal by taking a photo of the kitchen knife.

Or the kitchen by the [obligatory] free bananas therein.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:17 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


If I were an engineer at Twitter

Send it to him anyway. He will have no idea if you are a Twitter engineer. Not even Twitter engineers know if they are Twitter engineers any more.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 5:33 PM on November 18 [24 favorites]


Haha, ok but seriously? Bring back TFG now, with his value to the GOP all dried up? Yes, this will be good, they can compare all the wrongs done against them.
posted by Glinn at 5:34 PM on November 18


I would be seriously tempted to use the code review to troll Elon hard.

10 PRINT "Hello World"
20 GOTO 10

posted by Greg_Ace at 5:45 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


The thing that's funny about Elon Musk's e-mails to coders is, he sounds basically exactly like I do, except that I always add "or whatever" because I have no idea what I'm talking about. Like, clearly he knows the SDE words you're meant to say, and uses them in a coherency-adjacent way, but equally clearly he is not actually talking to coders.

Elon's like, print out your code so I can "better understand the Twitter tech stack."

I'm like, "So I think your code is doing X, but can you help me better understand the tech stack, or whatever?"

Like, I cannot speak SDE. But I can tell when other people CAN speak SDE and are using the terms in the right way, and I can tell when people are basically me, a liberal arts person who's adjacent to tech and can understand clear explanations, but not deep dive into code. Elon is clearly not a tech guy; he is clearly a me. And like, everyone can tell.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:34 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]


Let's cut to the real tragedy: darth just went into annual hibernation, and if Twitter dies we may never see them again on the internet, cuz as far as I'm aware they didn't set up any other accounts to follow.
posted by dnash at 6:40 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


If you measure by how often I write it, my most significant line of code is almost certainly:
}

posted by aubilenon at 6:47 PM on November 18 [28 favorites]


The true measure of a senior software developer isn’t lines of code written, it’s lines of code deleted. You’d get that from git commit history, but not from screenshots.
posted by fedward at 6:51 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


I'm barely on Twitter, and I follow darth. They only have 230K followers? I would have thought it was at least an order of magnitude higher.
posted by mollweide at 7:22 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


Elon is clearly not a tech guy; he is clearly a me. And like, everyone can tell.

And how. I've been spending a significant chunk of my coding time teaching non-tech people to tech for the last several months, and I am barely conversant. The code screenshots thing is baffling enough that even the grad student I'm working closely with, who has been coding for maybe a year now, was confused.

It is, mysteriously, more work for less useful information and way less useful output than just, like... checking the git commits would be. Going from dead tree printouts to screenshots is just deeply, deeply weird.
posted by sciatrix at 7:47 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


I made a bingo card.

The afternoon of November 14th, a few friends and I were joking, and I made a bingo card of predictions for what would happen next at Twitter. It's in my most recent blog post and Twitter post, and I've posted it on Mastodon. Here are the squares:

Move Twitter HQ to Texas
Acquihire one of his other companies
Ban Unicode; Twitter goes ASCII-only
Premium members get multiple avatars
Sue Mastodon for IP infringement
Require personal loyalty pledges from workers
New head counsel: Rudy Giuliani
Classmates.com model: pay to read each DM you receive
Each tweet is now its own blockchain
Crowdsource moderation with gamification
Users must specify a binary gender in profile
“Real names” policy
FREE SQUARE
All-hands meeting inspirational speaker: Donald Trump
New Twitter-branded mobile OS or handset
Remove light theme
Sue users who have stopped tweeting
Require personal loyalty pledges from users
New head of public relations: Rudy Giuliani
Incite fans to harass @FTC
No more 2FA: “If you’re careful you won’t need it”
Health insurance benefits replaced by CrossFit discount
Ad buys get you git commit access
Move on-prem data centers to Sealand
New CTO: Rudy Giuliani

Since I made this:

* there were 2FA issues with SMS verification
* the "hardcore" pledge demand to workers
* the crowdsourcing-style poll about whether to reinstate Trump's account
* getting closer to a "Real Names" policy

I am dismayed.
posted by brainwane at 7:52 PM on November 18 [17 favorites]


I made a bingo card of predictions for what would happen next at Twitter. It's in my most recent ... Twitter post

Are you trying to give him ideas??
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:40 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Ban Unicode; Twitter goes ASCII-only
Crowdsource moderation with gamification


Slashdot?
posted by clawsoon at 8:43 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


So how are the lenders going to step in and change what's happening?

My guess would be to collect Tesla shares when Elon can’t service Twitter’s debt load because if I were a banker, I wouldn’t hesitate to loan him money to buy Twitter so long as the debt is backed by his personal Tesla shares.

Also makes me think about the $50-odd billion worth of shares he was gifted earned as compensation for superior performance from Tesla’s board.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 9:04 PM on November 18


What blows my mind is that Elon can essentially throw away $44 Billion, and not really give a shit. And just keep on keeping on, as all that cash crumbles around you...

But, only 44 billion. I've got more where that came from...
posted by Windopaene at 9:16 PM on November 18


I've thought about making a bingo card except I couldn't possibly have guessed some of this shit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:01 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Everyone explaining how code excerpts are a dumb way to judge anything a programmer or developer does are right, but are missing the more obvious criticism:

There idiot wants pictures of text. Pictures. Of text.

Asking eg an editor for a list of their most recent corrected typos is stupid. Asking them to produce a picture of the same makes you dumber then Beavis and Butthead.
posted by Dysk at 12:23 AM on November 19 [9 favorites]


So Musk has tweeted a pic of that come-if-you-can-code meeting and it's quite the sausage fest...

When if first saw the tweet on my phone I thought it was odd no-one was commenting on it. Just grabbed the URL on the PC and now the top reply is about it, and I thought "yay! finally" -- until I read the second sentence...
Oh my, twitter became a male dominant space, just like in computer science class 🤣 No more activists and crybabys around 💁🏼
posted by Buntix at 4:01 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


So Musk has tweeted a pic of that come-if-you-can-code meeting and it's quite the sausage fest...

I did feel like there were more women than men posting #LoveWhereYouWorked goodbye-to-working-at-Twitter tweets, but I didn't bother to count to see if my feeling was correct.

It's not surprising, given how strongly Musk has been pushing ideas that are popular in the manosphere. Other than the moderation council announcement (which he didn't follow up on), his whole vibe has been "sigma male grindset hero." There are plenty of women who work incredibly hard at a high level and sacrifice themselves for a cause (I can immediately think of doctors I know, and I bet there are many women like that on NASA's Artemis project), but "the first thing I'm gonna do is let a bunch of men who despise women back on the platform" is probably not the vision to inspire them.

But I'm not a woman, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here. I'm just spitballing.
posted by clawsoon at 4:26 AM on November 19 [6 favorites]


I did feel like there were more women than men posting #LoveWhereYouWorked goodbye-to-working-at-Twitter tweets

Watching the tag during the first firings it definitely seemed like it, especially at first (perhaps they were the easier fires for him). He does also seem to have fired some like @thinkingfish, who judging from the replies were absolutely keystone developers, and exactly the ones you'd need to keep if reducing team sizes.

Another way of looking at it from @isislovecruft: "i love that women respect themselves too much to put up with this goat fucker"
posted by Buntix at 4:57 AM on November 19 [10 favorites]


That fits with my experience of every place I've ever worked that turned toxic - women (and to a lesser extent, other marginalised people/minorities) are absolutely the first to leave, as we're the first to bear the burdens of said toxicity. The breakdown of morale and order always leads to the worst assholes acting out their misogyny as well, and rarely with consequences.
posted by Dysk at 5:20 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


I have to say that office decor reminds me of a broken man eating rotisserie chicken on the floor of a furniture-less apartment, and rather than confront how bleak their situation is, they are lying to themselves about how manly this is.
posted by adept256 at 5:58 AM on November 19 [9 favorites]


andyjda [Hacker News]: "Thinking that by having engineers go "hardcore" you're automatically going to have a better product is like if a pizza delivery company decided to invest in better cars because people criticized their pizzas."
posted by clawsoon at 6:12 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Appears the tide has turned on the 'reinstate Trump' poll and it's edging ever closer to 'No'.

Musk is claiming it's due to bots.

Someone suggested that it should be possible to do an 'all user' poll that is pushed out to everyone. Musk agreed, and that there should be the option to do it for all users from a country/region. Oh, and...

"Most accurate would be to require access to phone GPS for location-specific polls"

[sideshow_bob_rakes.gif]

So yeah, looking like it's really time to delete the phone app...
posted by Buntix at 6:34 AM on November 19 [11 favorites]


A thread from Dan Luu (nitter version) on all the technology Twitter developed in-house to do its thing:
The now gutted HWENG group was so good at designing low power servers that, in a meeting with Intel folks, discussing reference designs vs. what Twitter was doing, the Intel folks couldn't believe the power envelope Twitter achieved...

Manhattan, Twitter's in-house DB, has such low tail latency that it caused a problem for Twitter's attempts to move to the cloud and switch to some cloud DB...

In order to make Scala usable at scale without the extreme costs associated with Scala (despite claims to the contrary, Scala is slower than and creates much more GC pressure than Java), the JVM team did cutting edge work on the Scala compiler as well as the JVM JIT...

When I joined Twitter, having previously worked on a major web search engine, I was astounded at how small the search team was...
A similar thread from Vladimir Kostюkov back in May.

They are both now ex-Twitter.
posted by clawsoon at 6:57 AM on November 19 [10 favorites]


Many thanks for the explanations - they are really helpful. It is good to have a greater awareness of the underlying complexity of these everyday, ostensibly simple, entities. Curious how often learning in any field is an invitation to complexity and the problematising of the hitherto non problematic. Hmmm. I wonder if Elon Musk's experience this week or so has been similar to mine?
posted by dutchrick at 7:29 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


learning in any field is an invitation to complexity and the problematising of the hitherto non problematic

No no, that is exactly why you want to stop learning the moment you've grasped some new keywords! Keywords are things you can throw around and sound smart with. Complexity is an obstacle to grandiosity. Clearly you will never be a Musk.
posted by trig at 8:09 AM on November 19 [4 favorites]


I mean you just know people will be hearing the keywords from this picture many times.
posted by trig at 8:11 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


Appears the tide has turned on the 'reinstate Trump' poll and it's edging ever closer to 'No'.

Musk is claiming it's due to bots.


Vox Roboti, Vox Dei
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:18 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


It is good to have a greater awareness of the underlying complexity of these everyday, ostensibly simple, entities.

It's interesting how much of it revolves around latency. We seem to have a hard time dealing with latency. When we push a button or slide a slider, we want it to do something immediately, for a fairly tight value of immediately. We hate feeling like we're trying to steer a big ship, where there's a big delay between what we do to the rudder and which way the ship goes.

Back in the '70s and '80s there were a bunch of experiments with mainframe users (reviewed in Response Time and Display Rate in Human Performance with Computers (PDF)), pretty much all of which found that users can detect quite short latencies, and once latency goes past 2 seconds users get very frustrated and productivity drops dramatically. If you're on a touchpad, your human hatred of latency is even worse (PDF).

But now you're accessing Twitter or Google and the button you're clicking sets off a chain of events that travels through many machines and wires to somebody else's computer halfway across the continent, and then that computer has to stitch together a whole bunch of semi-random data that's very specific to you. Making all that happen before you notice and get frustrated because you feel like you're dragging the rudder around on a big ship is an engineering challenge.

Dan Luu gets into some of the insanity required by Google to deal with this in Sampling v. tracing:
The diagram shows a single search query coming in, which issues RPCs to over a hundred machines (shown in green), each of which delivers another set of requests to the next, lower level (shown in blue). Each request at that lower level also issues a set of RPCs, which aren't shown because there's too much going on to effectively visualize. At that last leaf level, the machines do 1ms-2ms of work, and respond with the result, which gets propagated and merged on the way back, until the search result is assembled. While that's happening, on any leaf machine, 20-100 other search queries will touch the same machine. A single query might touch a couple thousand machines to get its results. If we look at the latency distribution for RPCs, we'd expect that with that many RPCs, any particular query will see a 99%-ile worst case (tail) latency; and much worse than mere 99%-ile, actually.

That latency translates directly into money.
You type "poo" into Google, and two thousand machines leap into action.
posted by clawsoon at 8:19 AM on November 19 [12 favorites]


Someone suggested that it should be possible to do an 'all user' poll that is pushed out to everyone. Musk agreed, and that there should be the option to do it for all users from a country/region. Oh, and...

Musk and one of his sycophant rich people friends remarked that with so many people involved in the Trump poll it was probably "statistically significant," revealing yet again that Musk repeatsr buzzwords, but does not understand them.
posted by mark k at 8:24 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


This thread from @whstancil puts into words the change in the vibe/zeitgeist over there. What having the manosphere take over, none of them knowing enough to realise what they don't understand (but absolutely confident that they do) feels like.
I’ve figured out why Musk and Twitter bothers me so much:

It’s so distinctly the sensation of being bullied

The cackling refusal to take anything seriously, the loss of autonomy, the cavalier privilege. He’s got something that matters to you and he’s going to torment you with it for the amusement of the worst people in the world

That's aside from the ACTUAL bullying he's doing, obviously. And all the bullying he's enabling. But just his flip attitude towards it all - "Let's run a poll to let Trump back on," "Let's shred the credentialing system so my trolls can run wild" - is the same thing.

Standard rich-boy sociopathy, except the boy is so incredibly rich that he can tease and torture big chunks of society instead the gay kid at prep school or whatever

Like think about it: if he was just a guy with bad, disastrous business ideas, but who was trying to make the site work and bellyflopping, it would be absurd but tolerable, right?

But that's not it. It's the way he's going out of his way to hurt people, break things
posted by Buntix at 8:34 AM on November 19 [25 favorites]


It is good to have a greater awareness of the underlying complexity of these everyday, ostensibly simple, entities.

I have learned that programming is a wicked problem. More importantly, that people in support roles, like the janitor and secretary, have a lot more awareness of what's going on. Oh, I'm a job creator. Your comfortable c-suite is built on the backs of my brothers and sisters, dude.
posted by SPrintF at 8:37 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Came across some tweets this morning describing how Elon's "hardcore or GTFO" ultimatum is not a legal way to fire employees in Europe, so he's now likely to face labor lawsuits in the EU/UK.
posted by dnash at 8:45 AM on November 19 [9 favorites]


I hadn't caught that the text messages included in the Delaware pre-trial trove included chats between him and his ex-wife that explicitly reveal the two of them to be motivated by rightwing antisocial reactionary bubble thinking. She had suggested (or joked?) that he should "buy Twitter and then delete it, please" after the Babylon Bee was suspended toward the end of March.
posted by nobody at 8:50 AM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Appears the tide has turned on the 'reinstate Trump' poll and it's edging ever closer to 'No'.
Musk is claiming it's due to bots.


What's the Latin for "The voice of the people is the voice of God, assuming it's saying what Elon Musk wants to hear"?
posted by Epixonti at 9:17 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


It is good to have a greater awareness of the underlying complexity of these everyday, ostensibly simple, entities. Curious how often learning in any field is an invitation to complexity and the problematising of the hitherto non problematic.

Oh honey. You're 10,000 years too late. At least.
posted by heatherlogan at 9:36 AM on November 19


Musk is claiming it's due to bots.

Well the smartest, most capable people can make the best bots to vote the most times. Meritocracy!
posted by ctmf at 10:03 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Oh honey. You're 10,000 years too late. At least.

For what? Haha. I feel like I 'just' missed a Pleistocene party ! Marginally more seriously, its endlessly intriguing when one steps out of one's own field which in my case has nothing but 'wicked problems' into another's - of which one is utterly, comprehensively ignorant (e.g. IT for me ) only to discover that here too the lovely, level, neat and tidy grass overlays a minefield riddled with potholes for elephants and an army of clever elves defusing, filling, stitching and mending for dear life! :)
posted by dutchrick at 10:10 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


I'm also sure, like me, many of the Trump 'no's are refraining from participating in Elon's fucking bullshit and not engaging in the poll. I only saw it on his timeline because I can't look away from the train wreck.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:13 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


That poll is just as meaningful as Elon's promise three weeks ago to create a Content Moderation Council. He's just making shit up. Or trolling.
posted by Nelson at 11:21 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


What blows my mind is that Elon can essentially throw away $44 Billion, and not really give a shit.

If you have $45 Billion and you burn $44 Billion, you still have A BILLION DOLLARS.

A BILLION DOLLARS!

Musk supposedly had $300 Billion in January and now he has $195 Billion or maybe $191 Billion.

You know, give or take SEVERAL BILLION DOLLARS.
posted by straight at 11:34 AM on November 19 [4 favorites]


f you have $45 Billion and you burn $44 Billion, you still have A BILLION DOLLARS.

Indeed. I get why greedy people trying to *make* a fortune cheat like crazy on taxes and everything. But at some point, you're more than self-sustaining. Your interest and investment returns are more than you can spend on yourself in a year. At another point, you could give away half your fortune and not affect that status at all.

I saw a story recently about Bezos deciding to give a lot of money to charity. If only there were some kind of huge organization you could donate to, supporting public good things like infrastructure, social assistance programs, public safety, etc., run by professionals who know what they're doing, and everyone gets a say in what to prioritize spending money on. And what if 100% of your donation was tax deductable. Oh right, it IS taxes. Pretty sure you're allowed to give more than your accountant can legally (and illegally) get away with.
posted by ctmf at 11:56 AM on November 19 [10 favorites]


What if every American billionaire decided to put all their charitable giving into extra taxes instead. We could do all kinds of amazing things.
posted by ctmf at 12:00 PM on November 19 [9 favorites]


The secret is that people of that level of wealth almost never "give" anything away. Most philanthropists are purchasing influence and control with their money. They may desire to use that influence and control to do good things, but a true gift would be allowing others to democratically make decisions about how resources are best used and allocated.

If you just pay your taxes, or even pay extra taxes, you can't buy any influence with it, so I'm sure no billionaire would see any point. Ceding power to democratic control without getting anything in return would be a true gift, and the type of person who derives pleasure and meaning from that type of gift is not the type of person who strives to become a billionaire in the first place.
posted by biogeo at 12:14 PM on November 19 [15 favorites]


If Trump comes back to Twitter, I've said it, I'm leaving, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. A poll that comes down to 51% in favor of Trump coming back and 49% against probably results in ultimately losing 49% of Twitter's user base.
posted by JHarris at 12:14 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


On plus side, Musk isn't so far up his own asshole that he thinks bringing back Alex Jones would be a good idea.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 12:17 PM on November 19


Is the user base that heavily American, JHarris?
posted by Selena777 at 12:29 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Musk isn't so far up his own asshole that he thinks bringing back Alex Jones would be a good idea.

Well not yesterday. He may change his mind at any time and reverse that decision. His content decisions seem based entirely on his whims and what might make people laugh or be mad at him.
posted by Nelson at 12:41 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


Today I note that "Pardon Trump" is trending on Elon's shitshow Twitter...oh, yay.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:59 PM on November 19


Less than a month ago, many advertisers said that reinstating Trump would be a red line for continuing on the platform. But like a lot of things in Musk and co, they may not know if those advertisers have already left or not.
posted by meowzilla at 2:13 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]




Is the user base that heavily American, JHarris?

I mean, I guess not, although I can't help but think that overseas people have to be at least as sick of Trump as we are, I mean you guys didn't even have to have him as your president.
posted by JHarris at 5:04 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


Elon Musk just brought Trump back to twitter -- Molly Jong-Fast
posted by valkane at 5:27 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


And ..... Musk just announced that Trump will be back ..... and TRUMP JUST RESPONDED TO ELON’S POLL AND SAID “NO THANKS”

As one responder to that link said "When you spend $44b on a ring and he says no"
posted by mbo at 5:30 PM on November 19 [24 favorites]


Hoping this kicks off some major intra-narcissist conflict.
posted by Artw at 5:32 PM on November 19 [10 favorites]


Trump said no (embarrassing), but I guess Elon reactivated him anyway.
So the standoff is, does Trump have the willpower to NOT tweet, when it's right there?
posted by ctmf at 5:40 PM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure he'll tweet. But I also think this is like the last season of The Apprentice.
posted by valkane at 5:42 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


A reminder https://secateur.app/ can be used to block Trump AND ALL HIS FOLLOWERS now that he's back
posted by mbo at 6:05 PM on November 19 [7 favorites]


Geez, even TFG doesn't want to be associated with Elon's shitshow.
posted by Mitheral at 6:17 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


So a tweet here suggesting Trump is now deleting all his old tweets, with an almost immediate follow-up saying they're back.

And I've been getting that, increasingly, for a while now, you click to view a thread (especially via an external link) and it shows up as the top tweet of the thread being deleted. Reload and it's back again.

Also been getting that thing where you 'like' a post and it rolls up and then immediately back down (which TBF does happen on a dodgy connection) more frequently.

There do seem to be existing problems, and not-seen-before problems accumulating.
posted by Buntix at 6:22 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


There are still investors on Truth Social to fleece. Trump doesn't get paid if Elon/Twitter succeeds, and still exerts a strange amount of power over the multi-billionaire.
posted by meowzilla at 6:59 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Is the user base that heavily American, JHarris?

I mean, I guess not, although I can't help but think that overseas people have to be at least as sick of Trump as we are, I mean you guys didn't even have to have him as your president.


Speaking as a Brit, and for my French family also, OH GOD are we so sick of Trump. No offence to current company, but your country is *fucking nuts* that he still has so many supporters. And my country voted for Boris, so I have a pretty high threshold to be able to say that! Trump's fuckery reached well beyond the US border, not least on climate change.

Anyway, I've been saving up deactivating my twitter accounts for this moment, and it is done! I suspect many, many others will do the same. I was mostly a reader, but I'm blackholing twitter in my DNS filter (pi hole) so I don't end sending the uber-rich twat any traffic ever again.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:07 PM on November 19 [17 favorites]


Speaking as a Brit, and for my French family also, OH GOD are we so sick of Trump.

Like, umm, Twitter isn't regional, when someone posts on it it's visible everywhere. If Trump gets reinstated he doesn't just get reinstated on a discrete U.S. American Twitter, and doesn't only impact on U.S. Americans.

That's the equally absurd (but less worrying than his plan to use GPS to locate all users) thing about Musk looking to regionalise polls. At least in this instance.
posted by Buntix at 7:17 PM on November 19


I thought that Twitter suspended TFG not from the goodness of their heart but because the government, like, kinda put pressure on them because y’know he tried to overthrow the country and all. Won’t something like that come up again, I hope?
posted by Melismata at 7:18 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


I wonder to the extent to which the overthrowing the government messages are still in the system. Like, wouldn’t that be his last half dozen tweets?
posted by Artw at 7:24 PM on November 19


(Active government overthrowing as opposed to soft general government overthrowing)
posted by Artw at 7:24 PM on November 19


All the tweets seem to be there up to the 8th of Jan.

I'm assuming the government pressure worked because the trust and security team were probably in favour of blocking him anyway, and they gave a damn about Twitter's reputation.

Neither of which is likely true now.

Now it's probably more about whether the govt. can afford, and are willing, to pull their subsidies from Tesla and SpaceX. Going after Twitter itself may be a lost cause as Musk seems OK with letting it burn, and death-by-cop/FTC would probably make him a free-speech martyr and hero to the alt-right.
posted by Buntix at 7:31 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine being a con man and having the world's richest person desperately seek your approval?
posted by meowzilla at 7:33 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


No, seriously. Why can’t the government just say HE IS A GODDAMN HUGE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY RISK REINSTATE THE SUSPENSION PER FAVORE ? What am I missing here?
posted by Melismata at 7:37 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Because then Elon will say absolutely not, there's no law requiring it, freeze peach 4eva! And the fanboys and conservatives will go wild and twitter will become even more monstrous.
posted by mochapickle at 7:41 PM on November 19 [4 favorites]


This is about Journa.host but seems applicable here:

The worst, most dreadful and damaging thing that a single member of your online community does or says, that you do not PROMPTLY erase, becomes a benchmark of what your community defines as acceptable.

Overthrowing the US government is now the benchmark for Twitter. Congratulations to any remaining(?) advertisers for being sponsors of that and to the US government via SpaceX on also being a sponsor of that.
posted by Artw at 7:44 PM on November 19 [12 favorites]


No, seriously. Why can’t the government just say HE IS A GODDAMN HUGE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY RISK REINSTATE THE SUSPENSION PER FAVORE ? What am I missing here?

Because right now he probably has more leverage over them than they have over him.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/10/22/elon-musk-ukraine-russia-washington-lawmakers/
Though Musk needs Washington less now that he is a global powerhouse, Washington continues to depend on him. The U.S. military uses his rockets and satellite communications services for its drones, ships and aircraft. NASA currently has no way to get American astronauts to the International Space Station without his space capsule. And, at a time when climate change is a top White House priority, he has more electric cars on U.S. roads than any other manufacturer.

Several top government officials said they are working on decreasing their reliance on Musk, including partnering with and nurturing competitors with government contracts and subsidies. “There’s not just SpaceX. There are other entities that we can certainly partner with when it comes to providing Ukraine what they need on the battlefield,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters last week.
I mean they could just grassy-knoll him, but at this point they're probably best off just waiting a week or so till the Twitter collapses or goes bankrupt.
posted by Buntix at 7:48 PM on November 19 [5 favorites]


maybe the IP lawyers will be the ones to take him out:
Chad Loder - @chadloder@kolektiva.social

@chadloder

Twitter's copyright strike system is no longer working. People are tweeting entire movies.
mods asleep, post hackers @AsleepMods - 3h Hackers (1995) full movie official twitter thread 1/49
(Video)
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:57 PM on November 19 [12 favorites]


The U.S. military uses his rockets and satellite communications services for its drones, ships and aircraft. NASA currently has no way to get American astronauts to the International Space Station without his space capsule.

Sounds like the best argument to nationalize SpaceX, if it’s essential to national security.

I'm blackholing twitter in my DNS filter (pi hole) so I don't end sending the uber-rich twat any traffic ever again.

I’m reiterating my request that no further links to Twitter should be allowed on the site, posters should either be encouraged to replace with Nitter links instead or it should be auto-replaced. It’s rapidly descending into an alt-right hate site with poor security, why give Musk our web traffic?
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 8:38 PM on November 19 [25 favorites]


A Physics professor's take: skullsinthestars @drskyskull@mastodon.social on Twitter
He goes into it with the same bluster that he used to boost his car and space companies: act like the genius "disruptor" that can fix anything. But those companies are not ad-based, and advertisers immediately become spooked by his approach. 7/
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:03 PM on November 19 [2 favorites]


I thought that Twitter suspended TFG not from the goodness of their heart but because the government, like, kinda put pressure on them because y’know he tried to overthrow the country and all.

Trump was suspended when he was still President (and the Republicans had the Senate) and thus had control over the government agencies that might provide that kind of pressure. The Democrats had the House but that doesn't grant the ability to talk a major company into banning someone. Let's give that team at Twitter a little credit for making a right but difficult call.
posted by Candleman at 10:05 PM on November 19 [7 favorites]


> Twitter's copyright strike system is no longer working. People are tweeting entire movies.
Chad Loder - @chadloder@kolektiv... @chadloder

Automatic copyright flagging is a labor-saving system designed to spare Twitter staff (and copyright holders) from having to respond individually to DMCA takedown requests, a laborious process.

If the automatic system is not working, Twitter staff will be unable to keep up.

8:37 PM Nov 19, 2022 Twitter for iPhone
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:04 PM on November 19 [1 favorite]


No, seriously. Why can’t the government just say HE IS A GODDAMN HUGE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY RISK REINSTATE THE SUSPENSION PER FAVORE ? What am I missing here?

Well, they let him buy Twitter just a few weeks ago, do I don't think that...

Oh wait, that's not what you meant.

At this point, Musk is a bigger threat to the security of all nations than Trump is. He is a threat to international security. He should be in a sound- and signal-proof box.
posted by Dysk at 1:48 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


And ..... Musk just announced that Trump will be back ..... and TRUMP JUST RESPONDED TO ELON’S POLL AND SAID “NO THANKS”

God, this retrospectively feels like the only possible way this could have ever gone. Elon Musk is a loser—specifically the kind of wannabe-alpha-male suck-up that Trump loves abjectly humiliating. (And already has humiliated: remember when he tweeted that photo of Elon Musk and basically called him a bootlicker?)

Twitter banned Trump, and therefore, according to Trump logic, Twitter is a loser platform. It's even more of a loser platform now that Elon Musk has bought it, which was an embarrassing business decision that tanked Tesla stock, lost Musk $44,000,000,000, and has led to his being publicly humiliated by his own company. I get the logic of "Elon Musk is a bully flaunting his power," but his loser suck-ups are conspicuously some of the most pathetic people in existence. Even his rich tech friends, like Jason Calcanis, are the sorts of rich people who people in the tech world relentlessly mock, not just because they're dumb hacks but because they have this desperate need to be liked.

Trump's whole appeal to his fanbase is not needing to give a shit about whether or not people like you. Elon's whole shtick, meanwhile, is desperately seeking validation—and his dumb Twitter followers aren't even MAGA-style sadists, they're "well Actually" nerds who can't help pointing to charts and figures in the desperate hope that that'll win them the debate. That weird gross phenomenon of Twitter employees openly calling Musk an idiot and his fans leaping into their replies saying shit like "ooooooh daddy's gonna fire you, fire him daddy please please please!!" is—pardon my invoking this awful framework—the most beta shit imaginable. And that's the thing about Elon: he's not the school bully, he's the sniveling suck-up to the school bully who by all accounts should be powerful and assertive and literally is so devoid of charisma or self-confidence that none of the material trappings in the world can stop him from coming off like a pathetic fucking coward. He's such a nobody that his idea of a "good tweet" is to post the kind of thing that makes for a top-voted comment on Reddit—i.e. memey and cornball and lowest-common-denominator—and he can't even pull *that* off because he lacks the slightest bit of wit or imagination. Even the 200,000 followers who like his every tweet can't mask the fact that he sucks shit.

Trump is a hack and a fraud and a terrible man, but his shamelessness is the opposite of Elon's. Elon is shameless in that he lacks all dignity, to the extent that even his attempts to garner respect are cringeworthy. Trump is shameless in the classic psychopathy sense that he literally could not care less about other people; he is thin-skinned and narcissistic, but basically lives in a cartoon world where he is the only human being alive. Which is why, imo, he was a world-class poster: his tweets were deranged, rooted in nothing but whatever the fuck was flitting through his head, and mired in such weird grievances and neuroses that any other living person would hold themselves in check way before they hit post. Elon is entitled in that he feels like he deserves things; Trump is entitled in that the question of "deserve" would never cross his mind to begin with.

That doesn't mean Trump would never come back to Twitter, but honestly I'd be unsurprised if he stayed away. I bet it's tempting, at the very least, to frame this as a narrative of Twitter collapsing in the wake of the mighty and powerful Truth Social: Elon Musk as the loser who needed to buy Twitter and still gets owned on it, the rich "businessperson" who can't even run a tech business, contrasted to Trump, who built a whole social network just by screaming TRUTH!!!! at the sky until it manifested itself out of nowhere. And Trump has a history of humiliating any man who thinks that the key to being "strong like Trump" is to pander to Trump for his approval; the act of seeking his approval is the proof that they're not Trumplike, and Trump loves rubbing their faces in it. (See: Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, every single person in his former administration.)

I remember someone saying, during the 2016 primary, that the reason even people who hated and feared Trump enjoyed his antics was that he basically Oompa Loompa'd every single other candidate, one by one; it was a festival of despicable people letting themselves get abjectly humiliated by one of the weirdest and most embarrassing human beings in existence. I'm torn right now, because on the one hand I don't want Trump to reclaim an ounce of power and find him a uniquely terrifying human being, and on the other hand, the thought of him humiliating Elon Musk is really fucking satisfying. I'm not sure anybody's pain is more enjoyable than Elon's, and it would be the funniest fucking thing in the world if he spent half a year trying to hype the world up about a possible Trump/Twitter fascist-death-pit reunion, lost a fortune and a reputation trying to make that happen, and Trump let him get up to that point and then just said "nah" and spat in Elon's face.
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 6:22 AM on November 20 [39 favorites]


He doesn't have a lot of discipline. No matter how much money Truth Social will lose when he does, he will return to Twitter. I shut down my account yesterday.
posted by Selena777 at 7:12 AM on November 20 [10 favorites]


If Trump returns, it'll make many people very happy. There's many liberals & lefties who miss the glory days of easy dunks and easy clout. They seem to be positively giddy at those days returning. I was angrily blocked by one when I suggested he refrain from relentless Trump quote retweets for the benefit of his readers' mental health.

If Twitter dies tomorrow, there's much I'll mourn. But I won't mourn that particular part.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:27 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


I also shut down my account yesterday. I was try to export the people my follow list first, but I decided the very fascination I had watching the meltdown was reinforcing shit I didn't want to reinforce (and distracting me from reading a book or something.)

But I liked twitter. I mostly used it passively. I avoided getting sucked in to the all-outrage use. Covered some hobby stuff, cute animal stuff, followed some academics and writers I like in addition to people doing politics. Discovered new writers. The 'algorithm' was decently trained by now and my twitter feed had no more hot takes and easy dunks than my metafilter reading.

So sorry to see it go.
posted by mark k at 8:16 AM on November 20 [9 favorites]


I'm picking up habits right as we speak of refreshing "recent activity" and the "best of" twitter page like crazy, wanting more, more, more meltdown news. I never got into social media, I don't know where this is coming from, but it doesn't feel healthy.

I don't have a twitter account to delete, but I think I should probably try for some perspective on this whole mess.
posted by tigrrrlily at 8:32 AM on November 20 [7 favorites]


I'm still on twitter for now, but probably not for much longer. I'm getting several DMs or mentions a day from crypto/nft scams in a way that I never did before now.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 9:31 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Oh, I hate Twitter/don't have an account, but this is a fascinating trainwreck/soap opera and I keep watching it hoping something bad finally happens to Elon. I'm addicted to the stupid drama.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:09 AM on November 20 [5 favorites]




If Trump returns, it'll make many people very happy. There's many liberals & lefties who miss the glory days of easy dunks and easy clout. They seem to be positively giddy at those days returning. I was angrily blocked by one when I suggested he refrain from relentless Trump quote retweets for the benefit of his readers' mental health.

Twitter's income stream also misses Trump. The only years that the company has been profitable were 2018 and 2019.
posted by clawsoon at 10:18 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Discovered something interesting, it looks like Twitter may well be close, or at, the point where they become an H-1B dependent company, with the extra restrictions that brings. [https://www.immi-usa.com/h1b-visa/h-1b-dependent-employer/]

@paul_griffiths [nitter of https://twitter.com/paul_griffiths/status/1594187334387630081]:
In 2022, Twitter had 300 people as H-1B visas.

Assume they all stayed:

7,500 - 3750 (layoffs) - 1200 (quit) = 2550
so 300/2550

H1Bs are 12% of Twitter.
(H-1B figure from CNN.)

---

Do nitter.net instances save copies of the tweets they are serving?

If so it may be worth adding Nitter links (and going through the archives with a script to populate all existing Twitter links with Nitter versions) in case Twitter really does disappear without a trace and take all the remotely referenced content with it. Thinking in particular of things like the Ukraine threads where there are a lot of comments that could be made fairly useless without the supporting info on linked Twitter threads.

I notice that some of the functionality must already be there for the Labs projects, although might be something better done split up between a bunch of volunteers rather than @coretex having to go all hardcore to get it done while Twitter is still up.
posted by Buntix at 10:18 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


Ooops, got side-tracked with the nitter stuff, also meant to mention that presumably the 2550 figure is all Twitter staff globally, so the U.S.-based ones may already be at or over the 15% limit to make them H-1B dependent.
posted by Buntix at 10:20 AM on November 20


I don't think Nitter is a mirror of Twitter. I believe that it requests data from Twitter and just displays the data without all the tracking and Javascript and login requirements. If Twitter goes down (or the specific way Nitter works is removed, which may also happen), Nitter won't display anything.
posted by meowzilla at 10:35 AM on November 20 [4 favorites]


Twitter's income stream also misses Trump. The only years that the company has been profitable were 2018 and 2019.

It was mentioned (huge thread) previously, but that's not because of decreasing income (huge PDF). Revenue was apparently rising significantly every year, and was around $2B higher in 2021 than in 2018.
posted by trig at 10:47 AM on November 20 [8 favorites]


Sooner or later Trump will ask how much Musk is willing to pay him to come back, if he hasn't already.
posted by Pryde at 12:45 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]


I think Trump would pay a dollar if he gets the keys to the building as part of the deal.
posted by UN at 1:35 PM on November 20


Twitter may well be close, or at, the point where they become an H-1B dependent company, with the extra restrictions that brings.

It seems likely Twitter has lost a lot of the people responsible for making sure they are compliant with regulations like that. So Twitter will probably coast along for a while breaking a bunch of laws until the government can catch up and start enforcing them.
posted by straight at 2:37 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]


Musk doesn't have to worry about those laws. When you're a star, they let you do it.
posted by tigrrrlily at 3:48 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]


All this Twitter stuff has got me watching Twitter engineer tech talks. I think if Musk had listened to Yao Yue instead of firing her - e.g. her talk Lies, Damned Lies, and Timeouts - he might've had some more nuanced things to say about microservices.

She talks about how microservices make developers more productive because they can work within a well-defined domain which has well-defined interfaces to other services without having to think about the system as a whole.

However, she says, lack of awareness of the system as a whole can make positive feedback cascades which take the whole system down (as the Ellen tweet that took down Twitter did) more likely. The timeouts and retries that we typically use to deal with black boxes that we're communicating with - the other microservices - exacerbate that. She's a fan of backpressure in communication protocols, letting other services know how stressed your service is so they can back off, but says it's rarely implemented.

She says that diagnosing problems in microservice systems also tends to be much more difficult, because we don't have tools that can see the entire state of the system the way that tools to debug monolithic services can.

Around 23:45 she shows a graph of all the microservices that Twitter uses and how data flows between them (and compares it to a plate of spaghetti). It looks pretty crazy. I'm not sure if a picture like this is where Musk's "1200 RPC calls" comment came from, but the number of nodes on the graph looks like it's getting close to that.
posted by clawsoon at 5:40 PM on November 20 [14 favorites]


elon turning up the cringe to woo trump

ha ha, the advertisers are never coming back

screenshot for when he deletes it
posted by ryanrs at 6:24 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]




He's also brought back Kanye, who's got straight back to the anti-Semitism, and Project Veritas who are now advertising an upcoming report about child trafficking in the federal government.

Libs of TikTok are pretty much openly celebrating the Colorado shooting, and posting moral panic fearmongering about another Colorado org that does drag.

Nate Silver's gone full-on Musk sycophant and all the RW types seem to have gone full mask-off and aren't being moderated in the slightest.

It's remarkable how fast it's going downhill from a social perspective.

It really is now a tossup between whether it becomes entirely unusable because of that, or due to software/hardware issues, or just not being able to keep the lights on when all the advertisers bail.
posted by Buntix at 6:54 PM on November 20 [7 favorites]


Nate Silver, who’d have thought it.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]


Someone on reddit is reporting Twitter's NOC has been unresponsive for over a month.
(I'm not entirely certain what this signifies, but doesn't sound good.)
posted by cheshyre at 7:43 PM on November 20


BTW, regarding Trump, apparently he's made some contractual agreements to primarily post on Truth Social. And, given his financial stake in that company, Elon's actions seem all the more futile.
posted by cheshyre at 7:51 PM on November 20 [1 favorite]


I just think he's fired the one person who remembers his password
posted by mbo at 8:26 PM on November 20


BBC reports:
Elon Musk says he will not allow the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to return to Twitter.....

Mr Musk responded to tweets asking if Jones could be next.

He wrote that his own child had died, and that he "had no mercy" for anyone who "would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame".
(I had not known that Musk had been a parent of a child that died, several years ago. The article has a little more info.)
posted by brainwane at 8:40 AM on November 21


Or as this person characterized it
it’s not that he’s against banning speech that harms people, it’s just that he doesn’t believe anybody but himself is a person
"Twitter bans this guy because of my personal tragedy" is a terrible basis for a policy.
posted by Nelson at 8:41 AM on November 21 [15 favorites]


Elon Musk says he will not allow the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to return to Twitter.....

I absolutely don't believe this. Give it what, two days? Also, since when has he had principles?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:46 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]


Elon probably could not tell you how many kids he has and most of them probably hate him, I do not believe his story in the slightest.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]


he "had no mercy" for anyone who "would use the deaths of children for gain, politics or fame".

Guess he's fucking lucky the "pedo guy" managed to help orchestrate a successful rescue a few years ago then, because Musk was sure as shit using that situation for those ends.
posted by Dysk at 8:59 AM on November 21 [17 favorites]


Twitter's NOC has been unresponsive for over a month

For NOCs, you really have to know the secret handshake / phone number. Someone in that thread is pointing out that unless you are pushing a certain number of gigabits per second, you're beneath notice... and I could see it.

I used to get "East NOC, $wifesfirstname speaking" when I'd call asking if my ex wanted lunch (no cell reception in the belly of the beast). Didn't cross my mind what a pain in the ass it would have been if I'd shared that number with anyone.
posted by tigrrrlily at 9:09 AM on November 21


unless you are pushing a certain number of gigabits per second, you're beneath notice

Hence the definition of NOC as "No One Cares"...
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:28 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


If only there was a department that could respond to these sorts of rumors in a professional, media friendly manner.
posted by Mitheral at 12:58 PM on November 21 [6 favorites]


Phil Schiller, who runs Apple's App Store, recently deactivated his Twitter account. I'm sure it's no big woop
posted by zenon at 1:34 PM on November 21 [5 favorites]


Phil Schiller, who runs Apple's App Store, recently deactivated his Twitter account. I'm sure it's no big woop

Also, @Apple have deleted all their tweets, although their various sub-accounts still have theirs up.
posted by Buntix at 6:28 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


Interesting.

Earlier tonight I did a quick scan of a few lefty voices to see if they were still tweeting; Jacobin, various writers for other progressive mags, etc. All seemed to be going strong. But Apple (following my lead, no doubt) bails out.

The risk to a commercial brand is a lot bigger than the risk to individuals or orgs known for their political views, it seems. Makes some sense.
posted by mark k at 6:40 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


@Apple have deleted all their tweets

I think this is not true; Apple never had tweets. Or more accurately only ever had Sponsored Tweets which don't show up in the regular timeline. So no change because of Musk. I am curious what their future ad buy plans are on a site that's welcoming Nazis back though.
posted by Nelson at 6:51 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]


The risk to a commercial brand is a lot bigger than the risk to individuals or orgs known for their political views, it seems. Makes some sense.

Isn't being concerned with things beyond just yourself meant to be a major part of left wing politics? Then again, being continually disappointed in self-described left wing organisations and individuals for failing to prescribe what they preach is hardly new.
posted by Dysk at 12:19 AM on November 22


(prescribe? practice. I hate modern phones.)
posted by Dysk at 1:36 AM on November 22






I logged into twitter for the first time in a while — to delete my account of course.

The initial feed I encountered was full of Musk (who I definitely never followed) tweeting things like 'more new users than ever!' and 'twitter is doing great!'. Whatever. Scrolling down a bit: bunch of suggestions to follow right-wing US politicians (who I definitely definitely do not follow or care about beyond recognizing their names ... a Trump Jr. was one of them). Nope.

I hit that delete button hard and fast.
posted by UN at 3:30 AM on November 22 [8 favorites]


A company that has lots of money to spend on advertising chooses to leave Twitter and spend that money on ads in other venues, while leftist organizations that do not have lots of money to spend on advertising have to balance "this venue has changed and is becoming less safe on multiple dimensions" with "we can post here for free and reach the audience that is still here and that we have built up over time, most of whom will not follow us If we move entirely elsewhere." The comparison to Apple needs to take into consideration that advertising budget makes a difference here.

By the way, here is why Tall Poppy advises most of its clients to NOT entirely delete their Twitter accounts.
posted by brainwane at 3:35 AM on November 22 [6 favorites]


Isn't being concerned with things beyond just yourself meant to be a major part of left wing politics? Then again, being continually disappointed in self-described left wing organisations and individuals for failing to prescribe what they preach is hardly new.

This question only makes sense if you assert that "boycott Twitter" is the only objectively decided proper course of action. If they just disagree with that conclusion, it's neither hypocrisy nor betrayal.

I closed my account personally, but I get that not everyone of good will on twitter is necessarily going to agree that going silent on twitter helps anyone at this point. People post content on youtube, a hotbed of extremism and conspiracy mongering, with zero apparent concern.

AFAICT the main argument for a twitter boycott is looking at it through a consumer choice lens, which is not always the best frame for interactions in the public sphere. The calculation is different for an advertiser, both from a public good perspective and from their own self-interest.
posted by mark k at 7:37 AM on November 22 [7 favorites]


This question only makes sense if you assert that "boycott Twitter" is the only objectively decided proper course of action. If they just disagree with that conclusion, it's neither hypocrisy nor betrayal.

I was referring to all the many, many people cheering the downfall of twitter... on twitter.
posted by Dysk at 9:07 AM on November 22


Twitter Africa employees accuse Elon Musk of discrimination over severance terms

Not just discrimination - he also ignored the labor laws of the country the branch was based in (apparently Ghana belongs on the long list of countries with more worker protections than the US).
posted by trig at 9:50 AM on November 22 [9 favorites]


Around 23:45 she shows a graph of all the microservices that Twitter uses and how data flows between them (and compares it to a plate of spaghetti). It looks pretty crazy. I'm not sure if a picture like this is where Musk's "1200 RPC calls" comment came from, but the number of nodes on the graph looks like it's getting close to that.

Well, I can tell that one of the microservice calls that isn't updating as regularly is the one that refreshes my feed. Right now the feed that I see in the morning is pretty much the feed that I will see for at least half the day. This was not the case before the Musk takeover.

This might also be why Musk's graph about engagement with hateful content as dropped. Basically, if you don't refresh feeds as often fewer people will see the content. There may well be less engagements with anything and everything.

Also this reduced-refreshing feed is just the kind of dopamine hit tapering that will help me quit twitter.
posted by srboisvert at 10:41 AM on November 26 [3 favorites]


Huh. That would mean mastodon.social, the biggest and therefore slowest instance, is currently outperforming Twitter. Which is interesting.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on November 26 [2 favorites]


Right now the feed that I see in the morning is pretty much the feed that I will see for at least half the day.

I just assumed it was because almost nobody was tweeting anymore...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:06 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Tangential, but interesting:

Patrick S. Tomlinson on Twitter
Thread time. Here's the thing about @tesla. It's not a car company. Tesla is a company that has to make cars in order to sell its real product: Emissions Credits.

Let me explain. Back in 2012, the EPA put out new, strident emissions standards for new vehicles fleetwide. 1/
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:34 PM on November 26 [3 favorites]






Tesla is a company that has to make cars in order to sell its real product: Emissions Credits.

Tomlinson's comments appear to be dated. Further down the thread, there's a link showing that Tesla profits no longer depend on credits, and also some graphs suggesting those credits will become an ever-shrinking part of Tesla revenue.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:57 PM on November 26 [2 favorites]


Not convinced he can run a company without SOME kind of government subsidy scam, but I had heard there’s been some tightening of loopholes there.
posted by Artw at 9:33 PM on November 26 [1 favorite]


Tomlinson's comments appear to be dated. Further down the thread, there's a link showing that Tesla profits no longer depend on credits, and also some graphs suggesting those credits will become an ever-shrinking part of Tesla revenue.

Except that as Tomlinson points out, Tesla's fucked coming and going there - the car industry is transitioning to EVs in a major way now, meaning that their credit buyers not only won't need as many credits because they have EVs, but they're also now directly competing with Tesla and have competitive products with features such as "we won't beta test self driving software that's been implicated in a number of fatal crashes on your car." There's also the fact that Tesla and Musk's public images are joined at the hip, which is why the latter's fucking around and finding out at Twitter has caused the market cap of the former to jart.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:53 AM on November 27 [1 favorite]


Elon posted slides from a company talk. One that says "User Active Minutes also at an all-time High" with a graph whose x-axis ends at Nov 2020. Some other wild stuff too.
posted by achrise at 4:20 PM on November 27


These sure are some metrics.
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on November 27


"advertising as entertainment"
posted by glonous keming at 6:57 PM on November 27


FWIW the small print on that Nov ‘20 slide says it goes until 2022. My guess is just a typo.
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:11 PM on November 27


The small print also says the plotted data starts in 2021, not 2020. In either case, it's suspicious that the previous graph shows data starting in 2014. When you see variations in the axes ranges like that, always ask yourself why. My guess is that "all-time high" is misleading or an outright lie in ways that plotting the full range of data would make obvious.
posted by biogeo at 7:36 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


Showcasing misleading or false or over-optimistic data in a business presentation? Elon Musk?
posted by UN at 2:59 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


New user signups could be mostly bots. Active user minutes could be people downloading posts and networks. Hate speech impressions might be lower if you've changed there definition of hate speech.

It's pretty meaningless without more transparency.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 5:09 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


WaPo this morning has a graph of the change in follower counts for the past month [gift link]. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both lost over 100K followers, presumably liberals leaving Twitter. OTOH, counts for Ted Cruz and MTG have increased by over 200K.

Some of these may be bots, but some may also people returning to Twitter from Parler, Gab, and Truth Social, now that they perceive it's "safe" to return. Greene, in particular, has increased her following by 330,000, a 28 percent gain since Musk restored Donald Trump's account.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:30 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


I’d say presumptions around losses are probably a lot safer than presumptions around gains, given that spam accounts are probably going wild while moderation is absent. Could even be that the losses are bigger but offset by spam account gains.
posted by Artw at 6:53 AM on November 28 [3 favorites]


From my morning feed*:
  • Search Twitter for any major Chinese city (in Chinese) and you will see a cascade of spam tweets making it impossible to get any legitimate news about the ongoing protests
  • NZ Govt had to force Twitter to remove freshly uploaded video of the Christchurch massacre because Twitter's automated reporting systems didn't recognize the content as harmful
  • This morning at 3am Pacific time, Twitter employees received an email from Musk informing them of another round of code reviews will be happening tonight. They're supposed to showcase what they've done the last "10 days" since the previous code review, even though it's only been 5 business days. Email includes a reminder "all managers are expected to write a meaningful amount of software themselves"
  • Elon Musk tweeted a photo of 4 empty Diet Coke cans and two replica pistols captioned "my bedside table"
And it's barely 10am Eastern Time, Monday morning after a holiday weekend.

* btw, make sure your feed is set to show Latest Tweets rather than the algorithmic view
posted by cheshyre at 7:08 AM on November 28 [5 favorites]


Elon Musk tweeted a photo of 4 empty Diet Coke cans and two replica pistols captioned "my bedside table"

Caffeine Free Diet Coke, to be exact. The most hardcore of soft drinks!

Saw the image posted a few hours ago, sans who-posted-it context, and figured it was related to some sort of weird AITA-Alpha related post. Which I guess technically...

Other (anecdotal) observations (based on my current ecosystem):

* The quality of posts I see isn't really dropping (if anything improving???).
* The comments are increasingly a troll shitshow, though.

I really do hope someones out there are sucking the API dry to save data tracking the changes.
posted by Buntix at 7:44 AM on November 28


Some links for cheshyre's roundup: Chinese propaganda, Christchurch murder video. The Chinese attack is a big deal, the government using Twitter to suppress information about the protests there. Musk's non-serious response: talking about making $8 / propaganda account, then a Pepe meme.

Worth noting that both of these failures yesterday are a combination of tech and staffing. Twitter has automated systems to catch and block both scenarios but the tech failed either because it isn't perfect or because something is simply broken right now. The backstop for this is Twitter's Trust & Safety staff, the moderators who would see this happening and take manual action. Musk fired almost all of them.
posted by Nelson at 7:53 AM on November 28 [7 favorites]


Twitter’s $5bn-a-year business hit as Elon Musk clashes with advertisers. Deep dive from the FT on ad problems. Not just the reputation concerns that have been widely reported. Also advertisers are having a hard time without help from Twitter's business staff; Musk fired most of the ads sales folks. And apparently the website companies use to buy ad campaigns isn't working reliably.
posted by Nelson at 8:42 AM on November 28


Twitter’s $5bn-a-year business hit as Elon Musk clashes with advertisers. Deep dive from the FT on ad problems.

I'm sure calling out Apple will help with that.
posted by nubs at 10:30 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


Trying to bully companies into advertising with you is certainly a thing like a business strategy.

The indignities are coming so fast I can't keep up. Last night Musk tweeted a faked screenshot purporting to be a CNN news story. CNN called him out on the fakery. Musk's response was Lmaoooo.
posted by Nelson at 10:42 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


Trying to bully companies into advertising with you is certainly a thing like almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a business strategy.

FTFY
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:51 AM on November 28 [2 favorites]


Twitter is now having trouble paying some employees on time (Chris Stokel-Walker, Ars Technica).
While staff in the UK and Germany have not been paid, those in the Netherlands and Ireland have been—suggesting that the problem is one of staffing and operations, rather than a systematic refusal to pay workers. “The company is just not run well,” said one former UK staff member affected.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:56 AM on November 28 [4 favorites]


So is the plan here to go to chapter 11 and walk away?
posted by nubs at 11:04 AM on November 28


Musk has now disclosed that the iOS Twitter app is at risk.
Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why
Musk is in full public meltdown mode right now so I can't keep up with it all. But he's also complaining about Apple censorship and apparently has just discovered Apple's 30% cut of revenue on the platform.
posted by Nelson at 11:14 AM on November 28 [5 favorites]


So is the plan here to go to chapter 11 and walk away?

Go fully fash and get subsidized with Thielbucks would be my bet.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


"While staff in the UK and Germany have not been paid, those in the Netherlands and Ireland have been—suggesting that the problem is one of staffing and operations, rather than a systematic refusal to pay workers."

Which largely does not matter -- late pay oopsies still get you lots of late pay penalties. Even the US is really strict about this. This is one of the most fundamental baseline things your company has to be doing correctly -- paying people the right amount, on time.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:06 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why

So, it's fascinating that Mr. Musk is the only person on the entire planet who's confused as to why the App Store is thinking about ditching Twitter. That probably means that either a) he's lying and he actually does know, or b) he's delusional. And the delusional thing is kind of fascinating. Consider this excerpt from an article called The Missing Missing Reasons
She told you in a language you understand what the problem is, and you understood her meaning. That you disagree with the problem is immaterial. It's still a problem whether you agree with it or not. It will be a problem forever until you deal with it. Saying, "I don't understand the problem" when you really mean, "I don't agree this is a problem" will not make the problem go away. It will make the person who DOES think it a problem go away...

...Anything tinged with negative emotion, anything that makes them feel bad about themselves, shocks them so deeply that they block it out. They really can't remember anything but screaming. This emotional amnesia shapes their entire lives, pushing them to associate only with people who won't criticize them, training their families to shelter them from blows so thoroughly that the softest protest feels like a fist to the face.
In case you were wondering, it's an article about dealing with narcissists.
posted by MrVisible at 12:37 PM on November 28 [13 favorites]


Which largely does not matter -- late pay oopsies still get you lots of late pay penalties. Even the US is really strict about this.

*laughs in British*

Maybe "even the US" is strict about it, but there are zero automatic consequences for UK employers for paying wages late. Anyone who has ever worked for an agency probably has a dozen stories similar to mine. In theory you could take legal action, but in practice it would have to be a sustained and systematic refusal to fix an ongoing problem, or outright wage theft for anything to be done, and you'd still be legal fees out of pocket, which in all but the most egregious cases will dwarf any awards. Employers can absolutely get away with semi-regularly paying wages late without consequence here.
posted by Dysk at 1:12 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


Soooooooooo I was just trying to check the Nitter drama updates and got "451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons Nitter is currently unavailable due to illegal content"

Uh-oh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:28 PM on November 28 [6 favorites]


Same about Nitter. I’m logged out of Twitter for good but did appreciate being able to use Nitter to keep up with a topic list I’d made.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 2:37 PM on November 28 [1 favorite]


Interesting you can still access Nitter.net and search, and find, users. But when you click on their profile you see their pinned tweet and then a message that say, "No items found". Maybe even that will close off soon.
posted by vac2003 at 2:43 PM on November 28


So as not to abuse the edit window, some instances of Nitter still appear to be working, e.g. https://nitter.lacontrevoie.fr/. As of now that is....
posted by vac2003 at 2:45 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


That nitter instance may be having problems, but nitter is opensource and there are tons of instances out there. You can host your own. Here’s the code.
posted by antinomia at 2:51 PM on November 28 [3 favorites]


There's also apparently an open-source android nitter app (I haven't tried it).
posted by trig at 3:20 PM on November 28


Director of a B2B company: I told my team to pause our $750K/month Twitter ads budget last week

Bullet points:
- Performance fell significantly. CPMs didn’t drop but our engagement went way down. Maybe it’s a shift in users on the platform, maybe it’s ad serving related.
- Serious brand safety issues. Our organic social and CS teams got dozens of screenshots of our ads next to awful content. Replies to our posts with hardcore antisemitism and adult spam remained up for days even when flagged.
- Our entire account team turned over multiple times in 2 weeks. We had multiple people (AE, AM, analyst, creative specialist) supporting our account and they all vanished without so much as an email. We finally got an email with a name for an AM last week but they quit and we don’t have a new one yet.
- Ads UI is very buggy and login with SSO and 2FA broken. One of my campaign managers logged in last week and found all our paused creatives from the past 6 years had been reactivated. Campaign changes don’t save. These things cost us real money.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:35 PM on November 28 [12 favorites]


Seen on Mastodon.
A colleague informed me that it's now impossible for a blind person to sign up for a new account on the bird site because the human verification test is now only visual. I fear this is just the start of what we'll see since musk fired the entire accessibility team.
I mean, none of us are surprised at this, but it's just so wilfully petty, so mean spirited, so awful.
Edit:Formatting
posted by vac2003 at 8:27 PM on November 28 [9 favorites]


I'm sure that Apple is worried about twitter because snuff films are now a thing there. Largely because they fired all the people who's job it was to stop them
posted by mbo at 8:44 PM on November 28 [2 favorites]


I've decided that if I ever get to have a superpower, it should be the ability to stay "Stop. You don't get to do this anymore. Go home. Stay there." and then the person I said it to as to do it.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:09 AM on November 29


Servo5678: I've decided that if I ever get to have a superpower, it should be the ability to stay "Stop. You don't get to do this anymore. Go home. Stay there." and then the person I said it to as to do it.

Xi, that you?
posted by clawsoon at 5:31 AM on November 29 [7 favorites]


I would only use it for good, I swear.
posted by Servo5678 at 5:52 AM on November 29


Seen on Mastodon.

A colleague informed me that it's now impossible for a blind person to sign up for a new account on the bird site because the human verification test is now only visual. I fear this is just the start of what we'll see since musk fired the entire accessibility team.


A number of countries where Twitter does business have regulations about website accessibility, so I wonder if that'll have consequences (I'm not sure how it works for websites based outside the country). Meanwhile in the US there's the ADA Title III requirements; their examples of "businesses open to the public" are still very brick-and-mortar-y, but apparently there's precedent for enforcement.

Maybe it's too much to hope that regulatory agencies will come down hard on stuff like this, but a company at Twitter's scale haphazardly removing existing accommodations (and demonstrating blatant disregard for legal regulations at all levels) seems like a very appropriate candidate for penalties.
posted by trig at 6:22 AM on November 29


Musk on COVID disinfo killing people: ”everybody dies”
posted by Artw at 6:51 AM on November 29


The latest Platformer is something:
One reason the right has found so much joy in Musk’s takeover of Twitter is the fantasy that you could erase that history, just as easily as you can throw a bunch of old T-shirts away. To them, Dorsey represented a new, bad way of doing business, dropping everything to go protest in his home state, explicitly linking his businesses (if only symbolically) to fights for justice and equality. And Musk represents a good, old way of doing business: ignoring everything but his principles, his product roadmap, and his path to profitability.

Set aside for the moment that this vision of Musk — clear-headed, focused, stable — is largely at odds with the man who has been running Twitter for the past few weeks. That Musk might be this person has proven to be hugely influential for some of his fellow CEOs, and the ramifications of his leadership could resonate across the tech industry for some time to come.
There’s a lot of ugh in this one. Be prepared.
posted by fedward at 8:40 AM on November 29 [4 favorites]


Yeah seem Ms like the entire C suite and VC class is violently insane and addicted to racist conspiracy theories right now, I have no idea how the fuck to navigate that.
posted by Artw at 8:48 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


...Yeah, I didn't enjoy reading that Platformer either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:50 AM on November 29


Maybe this whole capitalism thing and subsequent consolidating of all money and power into like 300 odd dorks was a bad idea.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on November 29 [11 favorites]


"And Musk represents a good, old way of doing business: ignoring everything but his principles, his product roadmap, and his path to profitability."

This Platformer actually made me laugh. I mean, not that some of these tech guys are horrible atavisms of early 2000s brogrammers (we all knew that and it sucks), but that Musk is so thoroughly beclowning himself by betraying zero knowledge of how to run a company (big "first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" energy), zero knowledge of how "software" or "coding" works in 2022 (the part where he thinks it's just a matter of flipping a switch to unban someone!), zero evidence that he did ANY due diligence whatsoever (uh, yeah, guy, the whole WORLD knew that the App Store took a 30% cut, and much bigger companies than Twitter are already fighting with them about it).

But what Musk very clearly doesn't know, and what his fanboi also completely misses when he says, "Every tech product you use came out between 2000-2010. Nothing was built from 2010-2020. The culture was so broken. PMs, MBAs, SJWs, and entitlement. But the culture is changing." -- is that what changed wasn't the arrival of SJWs. It was governments catching up to tech companies and beginning to regulate them, and tech companies becoming big and powerful enough not to squeak by ignored.

The culture IS changing -- and Musk and his fanboi Hotz seem not to have noticed that it's changing in a regulatory-and-compliance direction. They can denounce SJWs all they want, but the EU regulators are going to demand they provide certain kinds of gender equity. They can extol free speech, but they can't let Nazi speech appear in Germany. They can just take their hands off the controls, but they're under a bunch of consent decrees and court orders not to. They can claim they're going to solve all of this with algorithms, but the EU will demand extremely explicit details about those algorithms, their training data, their outputs, etc., and will issue existential fines if the algorithms are bad.

And if Musk and his fanbois want to just, like, ignore the EU? ALSO existential fines. And they've removed so many compliance and legal people that they're gonna end up in contempt of court in some US jurisdiction where there's a subpoena attached to a criminal case for online harassment. And with Uber's CISO criminally convicted for ... following a pretty normal procedure after a breach? The infosec and data world in the US is currently very unsettled (because it sure looked like Uber's CISO was following the US's laws), and there are not that many COMPETENT infosec people who will work for Elon, which is going to mean that Elon's going to have to personally take on the criminal liability.

This is Wiley Coyote when he's run off the cliff end and is still running because he hasn't noticed yet. There's going to start to be an avalanche of legal processes coming after Twitter, one after another after another, maybe right at the start of 2023. Musk will either have to return it to status quo antebellum, where it existed due to that delicate dance of balancing users, advertisers, and legal regulations; or resell Twitter at a massive loss; or ride that crashing Tesla into the wall while claiming the brakes are fine. Legal processes are slow! Maybe Elon has enough runway for reality to smack him upside the head before Twitter goes bankrupt and/or Elon gets criminally charged and/or EU regulators really get moving. But I sort-of doubt it. (I will say, unfortunately, I think Twitter is done for; so much damage has been done, and so many laws and legal orders violated, that it's hard to imagine how new ownership (who?) would put in place a CEO (who?) who could reassure regulators enough to give them time to fix the damage, especially since Twitter's finances are going to be a disaster.)

And look, when you're the sort of stooge in a CEO seat who gives quotes in the international press about how excited you are to get back to the Wild West internet, EU regulators NOTICE, and you're going to get to talk to a lot of them, very personally, and if they don't like your answers or think you're dodging, they're going to ask again. And again. And they're going to send people to your offices to pick through your systems and see where you're lying. It's not going to go well.

So, sure, complain about the SJWs wrecking the internet and making software unfun. But in my experience, the guys doing that are actually white lawyers in their 60s who work for CNIL and are coming for your ass.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:51 AM on November 29 [19 favorites]


The other thing is everyone is striving for five nines in terms of reliability, uptime and quality, and Elon? He’s all about pushing shit onto the market that most people would consider an advanced tech demo and dealing with consequences later (or ignoring them, or whining about people bringing them up) He’s pretty much a one nine kind of guy on all of that. I’m not sure one nine works outside of his niche companies.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on November 29


That Platformer article is bleak, but it feels like it's extrapolating very hard from a sampling of a few noisy assholes -- DHH, geohotz -- to the industry as a whole? and is probably ascribing them more influence than they have or deserve.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:21 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


also, here we go again: @ZoeSchiffer:
NEW: Email from Elon to Twitter engineers and designers: "Anyone writing software or doing design should be on the 10th floor of SF HQ. It is intended to be dense and intense. Thanks, Elon."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:23 AM on November 29 [3 favorites]


It is intended to be dense and intense.

No doubt it will be.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:26 AM on November 29 [1 favorite]


I’m not sure one nine works outside of his niche companies.

As noted in the Blind link above, chaos mode unreliability very much doesn't work for advertisers.

Again though I don't think Musk cares to be in the service of big advertisers; it's noticeable that although Twitter HQ leaks like a sieve there have been no further reports about him meeting with advertisers, and he's continued to degrade brand safety with his tweets and actions. I think he's given up on brand advertising -- too high-touch, too demanding, too much feeling like he's at their beck and call. I am seeing a lot more low-quality promoted ads for content farms etc.

Apple cutting ad spending stings him though as they have three levers of control over him: their ad spend -- which was reportedly the biggest on the platform?; their App Store gatekeeping; and their in-app-purchase levy which oops, he's only just realized applies to in-app Twitter Blue subscriptions. How humiliating that must feel to the self-styled Technoking.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:54 AM on November 29 [2 favorites]


It is intended to be dense and intense.

Great for spreading more covid!
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:08 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Apple also allows for refunds - probably how most of the pranksters got their money back.
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


It is intended to be dense and intense.

Can’t wait to see the whiteboard.

“We’re going to make a tweetPhone!”
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on November 29


Wonder how the people doing localization for, oh, idk, France, feel about moving to SF and going hard.
posted by Mitheral at 1:15 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


"Every tech product you use came out between 2000-2010. Nothing was built from 2010-2020. The culture was so broken. PMs, MBAs, SJWs, and entitlement."

Hahaha, the boomer dumbass hasn't even heard of Discord.
posted by Dysk at 1:38 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


George Hotz, who wrote that tweet, is 32. But no less a dumbass.
posted by fedward at 1:43 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


(I'm older than that, and well aware that he's younger than me. The home was that anyone over about 16 is a boomer to the Discord set.)
posted by Dysk at 1:48 PM on November 29


From what we’ve seen of him stumbling through trying to do a search widget I would conclude dumbass also. Certainly not someone you have to pay attention to as a Titan of industry.

DHH had some kind of mental breakdown in 2913 and is generally considered a weirdo to be avoided now as well.

So not a great sample set.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


I’m not sure one nine works outside of his niche companies

Speaking of them, I used to have a very low opinion of test-in-prod against the unconsenting public for software that can crash cars into us. But after seeing this dude's approach to reliability, safety, compliance, and general scruples, I have THE LOWEST OPINION.

Multi-ton high-speed robots with chaotic "everybody dies" edgelord software: fuck you.
posted by away for regrooving at 2:46 PM on November 29 [5 favorites]


Nothing was built from 2010-2020.
SJWs or tech monopolies enabled by a toothless FTC?
posted by migurski at 2:56 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


If Nazis are the source of creativity we had a veritable explosion of them 2010-2020, so that theory needs a little work.
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on November 29




Twitter workers are being mistakenly fired so often under CEO Elon Musk's leadership that human resources created a new internal category to identify and rehire them quickly. (Business Insider), Archive link

Other tidbits from the article:

* Apparently some people who were fired in the Thanksgiving Eve Massacre were mistakenly fired and then had to be brought back on Monday.

* Twitter has told their remaining employees to recruit some of the previously-laid-off workers, I guess in their copious free time when they're not being hardcore.

Honestly, I feel really bad for anyone who needed their job at Twitter for whatever reason, but for everyone else, it sounds like the first people to be laid off were the lucky ones, because they didn't have to deal with the ever-escalating bullshit and incompetence.
posted by creepygirl at 11:46 PM on November 29 [9 favorites]


Three months' severance and then the exact same job back (though maybe you negotiated better pay since twitter are clearly desperate) sounds like a pretty good deal (if you ignore the fact that you're working for an evil psychopath).
posted by Dysk at 12:00 AM on November 30 [5 favorites]


Three months' severance and then the exact same job back

I have to imagine it’s not even close to the exact same job anymore.
posted by notoriety public at 6:20 AM on November 30 [7 favorites]


I'm The Guy Behind The Viral "Insulin Is Free" Tweet

...an informative video.
posted by clawsoon at 7:33 AM on November 30 [7 favorites]


I have to imagine it’s not even close to the exact same job anymore.

Same job on paper, same job title. You've already fucked off ice, why not coast for a month or two collecting two paycheques while you look for your actual next job?
posted by Dysk at 8:03 AM on November 30


why not coast

You're being told to show up at the office. Presumably the higher-ups still at the company will be of the type to hover around glancing at your screen. If you're home, they'll call you into spontaneous meetings without notice and at odd times.

You can only get so far making up fictional dairy entries of what you did this week.

You may get some severance but if you spread it over the additional 'hardcore' hours you're told to do, that severance can get eaten up quick. We're talking double hours or more. That's an entire second job!

I shudder thinking about it.
posted by UN at 4:10 AM on December 1 [1 favorite]




You're being told to show up at the office. Presumably the higher-ups still at the company will be of the type to hover around glancing at your screen. If you're home, they'll call you into spontaneous meetings without notice and at odd times.

Ignoring a lot of that might get you fired after a few weeks. That's a few weeks of severance from when you were let go plus the pay from the re-hiring. It might take them longer given they've no meaningful HR at the moment.

Basically, I'm advocating taking the piss 100% not actually doing what they expect now. If they want to give you another job while you're still being paid severance, soak them for what you can without doing any real work until you get fired (again).
posted by Dysk at 5:34 AM on December 1 [2 favorites]


(Not sure how much it changes what's being argued here, but I'm nearly certain this sort of severance is structured such that being hired back would stop those severance checks flowing. I think it was reported to be two months of "continuing employment" followed by a one month severance check, in which case during those first two months you'd still be an employee, and probably still technically have your same title, even though in this case you'd no longer have building/system access.)

(In other situations I've also seen someone reporting they'd found a new job at another company triggering the end of those "continuing employment" payments.)
posted by nobody at 7:50 AM on December 1 [3 favorites]


I think a lot of that will depend on where you are - what you describe might apply to US based employees, but it would not be a legal setup in (most of?) Europe.
posted by Dysk at 10:23 AM on December 1


but I'm nearly certain this sort of severance is structured such that being hired back would stop those severance checks flowing

If it were me, they'd have to make a better offer than "for the next two months you get paid the same amount as you would if you didn't come back to work for us"
posted by aubilenon at 12:52 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


Just imagine how much worse this would all be if he was drinking regular diet coke with caffeine!
posted by srboisvert at 3:17 PM on December 1 [1 favorite]


So today Kanye was praising Hitler on Alex Jones, and then he tweeted something Alex Jones wrote for him on a piece of paper about Jesus, and then Elon responded to him by saying nice things about Jesus.

So that was today.
posted by clawsoon at 3:58 PM on December 1 [3 favorites]


Shit's getting real with employee legal action. Apparently Musk is looking to weasel out of paying the promised severance. A legal firm is threatening aggressive action soon unless Musk promises to make good on the promises. Apparently the employees have binding arbitration clauses, so the lawyer is threatening to file a separate arbitration claim for each employee in a way that will be very expensive for the company to answer.
posted by Nelson at 6:02 PM on December 1 [11 favorites]


Yeah, that was quite the entertaining demand letter.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 6:20 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


Despite buttoning my own twitter account, I'm a bit undecided on whether this is the best approach for progressive voices who actually comment there, so Karen Attiah on not leaving Twitter was interesting to me:
Twitter is probably the only global digital platform where elite institutions and powerful individuals share space with marginalized people, including the working and lower classes. It has the power to quickly focus enormous amounts of attention on crucial issues.
She says it's mostly White people buttoning their accounts on principle. (Applies in my case.) Marginalized voices are more likely to decide that access to a platform is important.

(In other situations I've also seen someone reporting they'd found a new job at another company triggering the end of those "continuing employment" payments.)

IIUC in California it's really hard to do an agreement that keeps someone from working at a different job. Just not generally enforceable on its own. So if you're getting paid to "work" zero hours a week at Twitter I don't believe any limits on what you do with your other 168 hours/week will hold up.

In other states corporations get away with boiler plate non-compete agreements on burger flipping.
posted by mark k at 9:15 PM on December 1 [7 favorites]


One interesting thing in the lawyers letter linked by Nelson is that the acquisition agreement included promises on accelerated vesting of RSUs (paid in cash at $54.20) in the event of firings within a year of takeover.

That's potentially a quite expensive subclause.
(and predictably it's subclause 6.9)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:40 AM on December 2 [3 favorites]


« Older It sounds like it ought to be an English word   |   The Qatar World Cup Explained Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.