Who asked for a new Twitter disaster list thread? Here it is.
January 17, 2023 8:21 PM   Subscribe

Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the social media site against impulsive billionaires who wanted to use the reach of its platform for their own ends.... This article rehashes the last three months of Twitter flushing down the toilet.

Here's my other list of Twitter drama over the last few days:
posted by jenfullmoon (195 comments total) 63 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thanks.

I'm still on the birdsite, reading the accounts that haven't migrated to Mastodon.

However, I have discovered that the "Following" view does not necessarily show all posts made by the accounts you are following. A spotcheck of "For You" revealed several tweets by people I follow which hadn't been in the other view.
I'm trying to create a private list to see whether that provides a more complete view, but Twitter limits users to 100 list membership changes per day, so I won't be able to add everyone until tomorrow.

Meanwhile, someone on Mastodon wrote that Twitter's "For You" feed may be exposing tweets from locked accounts, and ignoring users' block & mute lists.

Finally, Zoe Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath have coauthored a lengthy piece published in both New York Magazine & The Verge providing an insider look at goings on since the takeover.
Nothing terribly new for those who have been following the story, but further details on how badly Musk is mismanaging the place.
posted by cheshyre at 8:43 PM on January 17 [11 favorites]


I keep meaning to join the mefi mastodon. Mefites are the main people I talk to on twitter. Heh.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:49 PM on January 17 [12 favorites]


Finally, Zoe Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath have coauthored a lengthy piece published in both New York Magazine & The Verge providing an insider look at goings on since the takeover.

Psst, look up.
posted by zamboni at 8:51 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


D'oh!
But my first two points are new, right?
posted by cheshyre at 8:53 PM on January 17 [4 favorites]


The top article is a great summary and a must-read. I noticed while reading it a small bar on the left side that kept going down as I scrolled further, and mentally clocked it as a progress bar or time left to read bar or something.

Nope, the bar on the left shows Elon Musk's declining net worth as the story goes on. Delightful.
posted by Superilla at 8:59 PM on January 17 [52 favorites]


Regarding the exposure of protected tweets, "For You" shows tweets liked by the accounts you're following, ignoring the safeguards which should otherwise prevent you from seeing particular tweets.

Likewise, if you like a locked tweet, you may expose it to your followers.

Back in November, Yael Roth warned of “the canaries in the coal mine that suggest things are not right,” adding:
“If protected tweets stop working, run.”
Others have noted involuntarily exposing people who had a reasonable expectation of privacy would violate the FTC consent decree.
posted by cheshyre at 9:07 PM on January 17 [31 favorites]


*laughs* I wanted to start a thread but felt like either Elon had to do something SUPER shitty or some other big article had to come out before I did it. Saw this recap article (even though nothing in it's really new) and thought, "welp, there's the excuse then!"
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:09 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Once I built an auto, I made it run.
Ran itself down the street.
Then it ran into pedestrians.
Brother, can you spare a tweet?

Once I shot a rocket into the sun.
Not gonna lie, it was sweet.
Then Jeff and Richard got in on the fun.
Brother, can you spare a tweet?

As a free speech absolutist,
Gee I looked Swell
Everybody followed me!
Now I find myself living in Hell
Turns out free speech isn't free.

Thought if I gave the world the products it craved,
It would suck from my teat.
Though they need the products, they don't need me.
Brother, can you spare a tweet?
posted by dannyboybell at 9:14 PM on January 17 [50 favorites]


twitterisgoinggreat.com and best of dying twitter - compulsively checking them for updates and snark.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:18 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


That lead article is amazing. I thought I'd kept up with the large sweeps of the drama, but there are a lot of details in there that paint a much more full picture of the chaos.
posted by hippybear at 9:47 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]


Twitter became a big part of my life over the last few years but I've stopped using it now. Technically I am on Mastodon but it's not really fun to use -- which is fine, I don't need a fun-to-use Twitter replacement in my life.

Do I miss it? I had a dream about it a week or two ago, although oddly it was a dream in which I checked it and kind of confirmed there wasn't much for me to see. I have friends I've only ever talked to on there, though, and there were lots of things I enjoyed about it. It was good for meeting people in my profession, although mostly for goofing off together. And it was good for meeting people who I would otherwise never meet in my life. Weird shut-in college students with incredible knowledge about history and politics and communism. Weird divorced guys on disability who make offensive jokes in your replies like a cat bringing you a dead mouse. Weird software people, and the even holier weird hardware people. (Sorry, computer security people, I really like some of you, but some of you are very annoying.) People who have every kind of relationship to guns.

At some point I will probably log back in and see who all is still on there and try and figure out some more sane way of staying in touch. And god bless all the Mefites I've known on there, including the many who are now neither on that site or this one, and including the guy back in 2016 who -- out of the blue, never having talked to me before, and apropos of nothing, @'ed me on there to tell me to delete my account on here, deleted the tweet, and blocked me. Honestly I think you are a solid guy too. I wish us all a year of less posting.
posted by grobstein at 9:49 PM on January 17 [16 favorites]


If you want to bid on their office furniture, the auction is happening now. (I believe the lunchmeat slicer they originally paid $7,000 for is on there.)
posted by donatella at 10:01 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]


The dismissal of the class action lawsuit by laid off Twitter workers is another own goal for Musk. While normally it's the advised strategy because in most class action suits the plaintiffs are banding together because they don't have resources to file independently, that's not the case here - and by having the court greenlight this path, Twitter and Musk are now looking at mass filings for arbitration that they are on the hook for. (As you may recall, Uber wound up dealing with a similar situation and regretting getting the class action suit dismissed when it turned out the arbitration was going to cost them nearly 9 figures.)

What makes this even more hilarious is that they were told explicitly that this would be the strategy pursued by lawyer and employee representative Akiva Cohen in his letter a few months back. So they have nobody to blame but themselves.
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:13 PM on January 17 [42 favorites]


If you want to bid on their office furniture, the auction is happening now. (I believe the lunchmeat slicer they originally paid $7,000 for is on there.)

I know someone who would just love a womb chair but I can't afford to shell out $3,000 for it. Honestly it's not much better than retail.
posted by grobstein at 10:18 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I believe the lunchmeat slicer they originally paid $7,000 for is on there.

I love that the first bid on that beast was $25.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:57 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


oh the opening bid on basically every single item on there was set at $25 in the listing
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:06 AM on January 18


Ah, well, the next bid was like $50. If I managed to snag that, I'd come home saying "Honey, I'm sorry, but we have to start a deli business, it was decided by the fates."
posted by Ghidorah at 12:38 AM on January 18 [19 favorites]


With $1.5 billion bill due at month-end, Elon Musk’s options aren’t great (arstechnica)

The disconnect between "I bought this company" and "this company must go bankrupt because it can't pay off the debt I took on to buy the company" is hard to deal with.

That, and "Profits generated by my company will land in my personal bank account; debts incurred by my company are not my personal responsibility, even though I can afford to pay them and have billions left over."

That, and "People (and vendors) are losing their incomes because a rich person always has the right to get richer at their expense."

Was the law this broken from the very beginning, or was it gradually corrupted to reach the point where these things are legally valid? Is it this way in every developed country?
posted by trig at 12:41 AM on January 18 [95 favorites]


'God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—
Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 12:49 AM on January 18 [13 favorites]


trig, it is broken, and it was pretty much broken as written. It's how we lost Toys R Us, the Tribune company, Gizmodo/Gawker/Deadspin and a bunch of other pretty great stuff. Somehow, a person who doesn't actually have enough money to buy something (or, like Musk, actually does, but just doesn't want to use their own money) can get banks to give them a loan using the thing they don't actually own yet as collateral, which means the company that just got bought assumes the entirety of that debt. That's why Twitter, which wasn't profitable, but had enough money to pay it's shortfalls, was doing all right before this, and most likely won't live out the year.

It's a shit system, and all it does is provide hefty payouts for investors and execs that jump out at the right moment, while eliminating thousands of jobs and devastating industries.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:53 AM on January 18 [85 favorites]


Breaking Tweetbot (and others like Twitterific) is unforgivable. 15+ years of development blown away in an evening.

Tweetbot was the app that made Twitter usable, mostly by showing me only what I wanted to see and skipping the ads and the "you might like" algorithm. Which of course is why Musk killed it.

But to come out four days later and announce they're looking for developers to work with a new API? That makes Google look like the rock of stability.

Tweetbot's author is scrambling to finish their Mastodon client Ivory and I'm sure it will be really nice, but that magic is gone for me.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:19 AM on January 18 [35 favorites]


I liked Twitter a lot before Musk and while I hated that he bought it, the first few weeks afterwards with the verified shenanigans were the funniest the site had been. But as he’s brought back a bunch of awful people and done a bit of awful decisions I’d been trying to wean myself off it. I like grobstein, I’ve been enjoying Mastodon quite a bit. It’s not Twitter but I’m still hanging out with a bunch of fun folks cracking wise. I’d been fairly successful at reducing my time and engagement on Twitter. But it wasn’t until they aced the third party apps that I was able to actually leave for good. So thanks for that I guess. (I realize that due to the app Twitter wasn’t directly making any money off of me. Otoh I probably wasn’t costing them that much either, and social networks need network effects to stay afloat)
posted by aubilenon at 1:26 AM on January 18 [10 favorites]


I keep meaning to join the mefi mastodon. Mefites are the main people I talk to on twitter. Heh.

Where does one find this?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:44 AM on January 18 [6 favorites]


Twitterific for Mac continues to function (for now) if you want a last few reverse chronological ad-free huffs of birdsite.
posted by grahamparks at 2:13 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Where does one find this?

Old MeTa thread here.
posted by each day we work at 2:44 AM on January 18 [6 favorites]


https://mefi.social: contact pronoiac to join.
posted by taz at 2:47 AM on January 18 [18 favorites]


I'm reeeally curious what weird behind the scene stuff went on to suspend the Washington DC Metrobus account? The Metrobus Twitter Account Is Back. It's Still Not Clear Why It Was Banned.
posted by taz at 3:09 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]


I noticed the ability to see tweets by latest has disappeared from the menu, too. Like Facebook and Instagram, it's a shit idea. I don't use twitter to see what happened 15 hours ago.

Yet another thing (admittedly, I'm not calling Twitter a "nice thing") that we can't have because some failson fuckwit cashed out of the right company at the right time, and ended up with more money that anyone should have, and without the understanding that they could simply fuck off to a private island and leave us all alone, and profoundly better for their absence.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:28 AM on January 18 [15 favorites]


I'm reeeally curious what weird behind the scene stuff went on to suspend the Washington DC Metrobus account?

Musk hates mass transit. That's all it is.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:51 AM on January 18 [35 favorites]


See also The Boring Company, with the stupidest alternative possible to regular old mass transit.
posted by Harald74 at 4:04 AM on January 18 [28 favorites]


Any way you slice it, the whole story is pretty fucking intense when you get down to just the bones of it - rich guy buys thing used by tens of millions of people and institutions/governments and breaks it. Boiled down, 1. he shouldn't have been able to buy it when it's utility is so significant for so many non-trivial applications (governments talking to their constituents, mostly) and 2. There should be a publicly-funded version to supplant Twitter. Since the internet has become the de-facto mouthpiece of... any one, supplanting books and pamphlets and (almost) radio and TV, the lack of a neutral or close to neutral source of information has been a huge problem (c.f.: Brexit, Trump).

The first article is pretty damn grim, from the point of view that the people getting fired are operating in a totally different frame-work as Musk and his minions. And that feels fundamentally wrong.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:06 AM on January 18 [22 favorites]


Ghidorah, I had the same reaction as you, but if you buy a car or a house aren't you using the thing you're buying as collateral? I don't find that part weird. I hope to buy a house someday but I don't currently own something worth as much as a house.

Of course a house isn't expected by most of us to generate so much revenue it makes its own mortgage payments, but I've definitely known people who have bought a car to use for Uber that they expected to pay for itself. I don't know if they told their creditor that or not.

If you had to justify any business loan by proving you could cover the payments without the use of that business, I don't know if many people could start a business. The weird part is that Musk doesn't appear to have ever had proof he could cover the cost of buying Twitter even with the use of the business, but that just makes it a dumb loan to have approved, not an indictment of the whole system, IMO.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 5:08 AM on January 18 [1 favorite]


The Monster at the End of this Thread, I think there's a fundamental difference, even if only in scale, of getting a mortgage or securing a loan to start a new business and the concept of leveraged buyouts, especially as they've come to be used. To get a loan to buy a house, you have to be able to show that you can, realistically, handle the monthly payment (subprime mortgages and scams excepted). To get even the tiniest business loan, you need a business plan that details how, exactly, you will be able to make enough money to pay it back.

Instead, leveraged buyouts are commonly used to purchase companies by securing loans that the purchased business does not have the revenue stream to repay. Banks know they'll get hefty payouts, and the people buying the company are doing so largely as an investment, which they'll recoup. The loan(s) Musk secured to purchase Twitter far exceed not only the company's income (which, again, barely profitable, or actively losing money, depending on who you ask), but also the company's capital reserve. The company has never made enough money that it would be able to pay back the loan that was taken out to purchase it with. The act of purchasing it is what will cause the company to fail, which is not the same thing as buying a house or getting a small business loan.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:32 AM on January 18 [45 favorites]


What I'm wondering about is less how leveraged buyouts work, and more about the history of the legal frameworks that make these things possible -- not just leveraged buyouts, but the concept of owners being insulated from various debts or legal risks their privately-owned companies create under their personal direction while not being personally insulated from the company's profits.

There's no question all this is legal - what I'm curious about is how this legal framework came to exist, whether it is being challenged now or has been in the past, and whether other countries do things differently.
posted by trig at 5:45 AM on January 18 [14 favorites]


I guess that still makes it just sound like a bad loan to me, since nobody's coming out ahead but the sellers.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 5:46 AM on January 18


Also note that twitter took Musk to court in order to enforce the purchase, when it was clear that the debt level would be unsustainable. Twitter could have said, “let’s not do this, it’s silly” but they specifically sort out a legal ruling to force these events into happening, because otherwise the leadership could have been fired at the next stockholders meeting as not providing enough financial renumeration. Instead, there was no next stockholders meeting, and all the leadership was fired.

Like I said in an earlier thread, this is going to be the textbook example of what not to do in a takeover. Partly is because Musk is an idiot, but mostly because the American definition of profit as the best metric is extremely unhealthy.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:49 AM on January 18 [26 favorites]


Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer are still working with Twitter, so that's a plus. And I miss Twitteriffic on my phone but can live with just the Mac client. Honestly, because of Twitteriffic, the Twitter experience initially didn't change at all for me when Musk took over (then got voted off the island via a poll he created himself, then ignored the poll results he said he'd abide by).

I'd bid on something in that auction, but I don't want to help Elon meet his loan obligations.
posted by emelenjr at 5:50 AM on January 18


I was reminded of how insidious the UX dark patterns of Twitter (and most other social media) are after visiting the site for the first time in weeks.

I've been on Mastodon for a few months now and love it there, but I kept my Twitter account and unfollowed every single person except my local weatherman.

So it was a little weird when I logged in and saw my Notifications all lit up, after all, I was only following one person and my weatherman doesn't know me, lol.

Nope, it's just the algorithim exploiting my lizard-brain dopamine receptors, clicking on the notifications (because ooh important things!) reveals it's just an automatic feed of the weatherman's tweets three dozen times.

In the past when I was following hundreds of people, I noticed this would happen once in a while. Clearly there's an algorithm that triggers a notification when a user hasn't been active for a specific amount of time.

But now it's completely broken and just spamming me the same person over and over, lol. There is an option to "see this less often", but it doesn't work when following only one person. 🤦

I think this "fake notification" trick was invented by Facebook, but it's now a social media convention. LinkedIn does this too, that little red bubble in your notifications is riding the coattails of other systems like email and hijacks your brain because shiny shiny thing just for me! Nope, it's just some shitty AI generated article about remote work or whatever.
posted by jeremias at 5:50 AM on January 18 [36 favorites]


"See this less often" is the knell of a site that no longer treats its users as anything other than eyeballs to which ads are delivered.

Thank god and Gargamel for Mastodon.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:56 AM on January 18 [18 favorites]


but if you buy a car or a house aren't you using the thing you're buying as collateral? I don't find that part weird.

If you have a ton of money but you're underwater on your house, you can't say your house is going out of business and you're not going to pay the contractors who worked on it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:03 AM on January 18 [20 favorites]


You can, however, do the same sort of thing as a homeowner, just not pay and say "sue me." But in this case, you and the contractors probably have fairly equivalent legal budgets and you are taking a big risk that they would sue and win, versus a smaller vendor trying to get money from a large corporation with a massive legal team. And then, like you say, the business could choose to go out of business (not always in ways that cause it to actually close down) and hit the reset switch that way.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:20 AM on January 18


As they say, if you owe a bank $500K, you have a problem.
If you owe a bank $500M, it's the bank's problem.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:23 AM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Corporate structure and culture is totalitarian by default. If Twitter had been taken over by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea then only the exec names in the article would be different.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:41 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


2. There should be a publicly-funded version to supplant Twitter.

Oh heck. You don't think the government will save Phony Stark* (and the platform) by purchasing this thing and giving him his money back? Perhaps that could be satisfying if they paid him like $0.40 on the dollar.

*Phony Stark stolen from somewhere, maybe the last thread.
posted by Glinn at 6:43 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


The banks were never supposed to be on the hook for this debt which is just delicious. Normally once a leveraged buyout like this happens banks find suckers investors to unload the debt onto. But there's a period of time from when they acquired the debt and before they had a chance to sell it where everything imploded and Musk began his meltdown. The banks haven't been able to unload the debt. Even at half par they couldn't move it. They're going to take almost the full writedown and it's so fucking delicious I just couldn't eat another bite.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:08 AM on January 18 [48 favorites]


>> What I'm wondering about is less how leveraged buyouts work, and more about the history of the legal frameworks that make these things possible -- not just leveraged buyouts, but the concept of owners being insulated from various debts or legal risks their privately-owned companies create under their personal direction while not being personally insulated from the company's profits.

The term you are looking for is "limited liability."

In centuries past, limited liability firms were very, very rare. Almost all companies were general partnerships, meaning any investor could end up on the hook for all liabilities incurred by the company. (As a practical matter, this meant that most companies were quite small: as an investor, you are placing enormous trust in your partners.)

Modern corporations and even most modern partnerships are limited liability: no investor is ever responsible for an amount greater than his or her investment. Whatever liabilities the company incurs, they stay with the company.

>> You can, however, do the same sort of thing as a homeowner, just not pay and say "sue me." But in this case, you and the contractors probably have fairly equivalent legal budgets and you are taking a big risk that they would sue and win, versus a smaller vendor trying to get money from a large corporation with a massive legal team.

You are missing the important difference between an LBO and a mortgage deal.

In a mortgage, the beneficial owner, the person who took out the mortgage, is the one who owes the bank money. There might be a lien on the house, also, but it isn't the house that ultimately owes the money -- any amount not recovered by the lien is still going to be the responsibility of the actual borrower. That is why the bank can sue you.

In a leveraged buyout, the borrower is the target company, not the new owners of the target company. So Mr. Musk and his partners borrow tens of billions of dollars from banks, but all of the liability resides in Twitter, itself. The investors owe nothing. The banks can't sue the investors or seize the investors assets.
posted by your postings may, in fact, be signed at 7:48 AM on January 18 [23 favorites]


Also note that twitter took Musk to court in order to enforce the purchase, when it was clear that the debt level would be unsustainable. Twitter could have said, “let’s not do this, it’s silly” but they specifically sort out a legal ruling to force these events into happening, because otherwise the leadership could have been fired at the next stockholders meeting as not providing enough financial renumeration. Instead, there was no next stockholders meeting, and all the leadership was fired.

My feeling was that Twitter's goal was to force Musk to the table to negotiate a "divorce settlement" where he would make a payment to Twitter and in return be released from his contract to buy the company. Which, all things given, would have been the rational move.

Of course, as we all now know, Musk is far from rational.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:49 AM on January 18 [5 favorites]


It's a shit system, and all it does is provide hefty payouts for investors and execs that jump out at the right moment, while eliminating thousands of jobs and devastating industries.

(In the voice of Marge Gundersen) And for what? For a penis rocket to not-quite-outer-space. (shakes head slowly).
posted by ishmael at 7:53 AM on January 18 [9 favorites]


The banks were never supposed to be on the hook for this debt which is just delicious.

That's why the ArsTechnica article is so hilarious to me. He's going to ask for forbearance on $1.3B first payment, meanwhile the total amount borrowed is something like $13B... there's not going to be 13 billion in the whole entire company by the time he's done...
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 7:56 AM on January 18 [10 favorites]


My feeling was that Twitter's goal was to force Musk to the table to negotiate a "divorce settlement" where he would make a payment to Twitter and in return be released from his contract to buy the company. Which, all things given, would have been the rational move.

Wut? When someone gives you an ironclad contract to buy your lemon at 4 times the going rate you raise hell to make that deal happen come hell or high water. If Twitter didn't ask for specific performance their board and executives would be (rightfully) sued to kingdom come by their shareholders.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:03 AM on January 18 [20 favorites]


When someone gives you an ironclad contract to buy your lemon at 4 times the going rate you raise hell to make that deal happen come hell or high water.

Yuuuuuuup. The Twitter board would never again find a pigeon as plump as Musk. There was no way they weren't going to take his money and leave him holding the bag.
posted by jscalzi at 8:06 AM on January 18 [30 favorites]


I'd be fascinated to know the circumstances of Musk making the offer. Does have manic phases? Too stoned and thought it was funny? Did he mean to make an offer that could be rescinded later and screwed up or did he just think he could remake Twitter as he liked and folks and advertisers would just follow along? Or was he just stupid.

I'd believe any of them.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:16 AM on January 18 [12 favorites]


“He didn’t want to understand anything,” Shevat says. It made him want to cry, especially since he had actually been eager to work with Musk. “I would have worked really hard for him,” he says.

Sic semper bootlickers.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:17 AM on January 18 [31 favorites]


I really want to know if Musk couldn’t stand the too obvious boot licking or if someone else finally got to bury knives in the backs of the “I dissent” crowd after a loooong ass time of hearing their whining. A huge restructuring, lay off intensive, deeply confusing, full of people jumping ship time seems like a great opportunity to get some low-risk revenge in.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:21 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Another personal recounting:
I have two Twitter accounts. I recently stopped tweeting for 2-3 months. When I wanted to access the accounts again, I had trouble. So far, support has only helped with my secnd account, and I wonder if it's because the primary's username includes these emojis: Rocket + Car + Man = Nut.

I've probably spent way too much of the past 15 years there. I never "monetized" or even particularly networked on it. But I have found some nice online acquaintances.

I added the second account a few years ago when the primary was temp suspended (unclear why). Yes, my reaction to not being able to tweet was a strong sign of addiction.

So I was proud of myself for fleeing the toxicity and becoming a beta Post user.

But after a while, I missed the wider variety of topics, especially as related to entertainment, live-tweeting events, etc.

So, I started using that second account, and already see how much time I'm spending on it. Not to mention how pointless it is to be embroiled in the right- wing drama.

ElRon Muskrat's particular sociopathy aside, I am concerned about security/privacy in general. I don't know if this matters,
but as much as possible, I try not to use social apps.
I feel I can control certain aspects of security better with browsers.

I have some reservations about Post too. And just today its founder announced that the "wait list" is no more, it will be open to everyone, with complicated (to me) categories of users along with the "payment" for content.
posted by NorthernLite at 8:30 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I'd be fascinated to know the circumstances of Musk making the offer. Does have manic phases? Too stoned and thought it was funny? Did he mean to make an offer that could be rescinded later and screwed up or did he just think he could remake Twitter as he liked and folks and advertisers would just follow along? Or was he just stupid.

The first offer itself on April 14th was non-binding. Twitter thought the offer was so unserious that at first they adopted a poison pill which would dilute Musk if he tried any hostile takeover fuckery. Their concern was all his fuckery would wildly swing the share price and at that point just wanted him to go away. At this point Musk could have sold off, fought a couple of miniscule lawsuits from activist shareholders pissed about his antics, and made a bit of scratch from the higher share price.

The problem was that between the 15th and 17th of April, Twitter threw everything and the kitchen sink at Musk and Musk didn't quit. By that time the institutional investors (who between them owned a quarter of Twitter at that point) basically told the board they wanted them to consider the sale. So between April 23rd and April 25th the board's transaction committee basically negotiated the most Twitter-friendly, ironclad, "we're aware of your fuckery, Musk" contract they could and Musk still signed it. That's where the mistake came in and it went from "Fucking Around" to "Finding Out" really quickly. There was a clear 11 days in between stupidity and fucking himself. Would a manic phase or being stoned continually justify 11 days of that conduct?

No. He's just a fucking moron egged on by his moron billionaire friends and his narcissism. They're not smart. They're just greedy sociopaths who made their living off capital and the misery/labor of others.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:36 AM on January 18 [81 favorites]


Very interesting, thanks.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:44 AM on January 18


I used Twitter to follow a handful of pro cyclists, pro golfers and caddies, a few comedians, and some local governmental agencies that use it for handy notifications. If I ever got a notification it was because Patton Oswalt replied to someone and it blew up, or because some golfer had a meltdown during a round. Whatever.

For the last 6 weeks I've been getting notifications from Kyle Rittenhouse and Laura Loomer.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:46 AM on January 18 [26 favorites]


No. He's just a fucking moron egged on by his moron billionaire friends and his narcissism. .

Also potentially a lot to do with his exes wife Talulah Riley.

That combined with apparently being thoroughly glinner-pilled by Grimes going on to date Chelsea Manning after ditching him, and his trans daughter publicly disowning him.
posted by Buntix at 8:52 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


OT, but I'm not going to enjoy it when Musk follows in the footsteps of Caregie, Gates and Depp and bankrolls a reputation- sanitation campaign that leaves the younger generation thinking of him as one of God's underappreciated gifts. We should bankrupt him now to avoid that inevitability.
posted by klanawa at 8:58 AM on January 18 [27 favorites]


No. He's just a fucking moron egged on by his moron billionaire friends and his narcissism. They're not smart. They're just greedy sociopaths who made their living off capital and the misery/labor of others.

As the economic situation gets more grim in the coming year, we're going to see that quote by Will Rogers a lot more.

And I am here for that shit.
posted by eclectist at 9:00 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]




Also Musk is used to manipulating stock prices via tweet and not suffering consequences. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he thought he could pump twitter stick price above his buy price and then dump it for a profit.

What I'm finding hilarious is the effect his thrashing around is having on Tesla's stock price. Teala has been hugely inflated partially on the percieved "super genius"ness of Musk. Which he is proving isn't true.
posted by Mitheral at 9:16 AM on January 18 [4 favorites]


won’t name rules.

There were none. The scuttlebutt on the 13th was that the Twitter engineers were scrambling for something to say to explain it and kept coming up blank. It was all Musk. If he had at least said "it's because third-party apps don't see ads" that would at least have been something.

Some even posited that he pulled the plug at 0420 GMT on Friday the 13th because, you know, it's Musk.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:20 AM on January 18 [16 favorites]


The truth is, he's not a very bright guy, and things got out of hand.
posted by Not A Thing at 9:27 AM on January 18 [56 favorites]


did he just think he could remake Twitter as he liked and folks and advertisers would just follow along? Or was he just stupid.

I think a combination of these two things mainly. Since he took over Twitter it's become really clear that he doesn't understand advertising, he doesn't understand brands, he doesn't understand software at scale, he doesn't understand the cloud -- and he doesn't understand that most CEOs are BORING for a reason, which is that it's much easier to run things by processes and procedures than by the whim of charismatic founders/owners. And I think he hugely did not expect how reluctant boring CEOs of consumer-facing retail products companies would be associated with hate speech, how hesitant they would be about brand risk, etc. I think he thought that all CEOs work like he does, and just makes decisions on a whim and lets everyone up clean up the mess.

He does understand the idea of his personal brand, and has a great intuitive sense of that branding and drawing in fanbois. But he doesn't seem to have any understanding of brands as value propositions or as things that exist outside one person, which made him remarkably ill-suited to a social media company, a company that has advertisers, a company that relies on other companies -- not consumers -- for revenue.

That, plus a dire case of engineer's disease, where he thinks all human and social and ethical problems have simple engineering solutions, and that he's definitely the first person to any think of any of them. (Except even that's funny because as we're learning, he's not a "real" engineer.)

Or, what Not a Thing just said.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:31 AM on January 18 [37 favorites]


I do think it's rather telling that Elon's twitter antics nearly all ended after he was photographed at the World Cup surrounded by Jared and a bunch of Saudis (based on their headwear) looking very unhappy. It seems he got called in by his loan masters to tell him to knock it the fuck off, and he did very immediately.
posted by hippybear at 9:40 AM on January 18 [26 favorites]


I was going to add another post about that infamous image of Elron and Jared with the Saudis, but I have a very different interpretation.

The site that first became famous for its use by dissenters during Arab Spring is deliberately being killed off by powerful Saudis - it's the perfect villain arc.

Both American democracy and Twitter are being decimated by greedy narcissistic idiots (the entire GQP, ElRon) who are manipulated/ controlled by very bad actors, foreign and domestic.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:36 AM on January 18 [20 favorites]


I signed out the day shithead bought it. Just logged back and was surprised to find ... it's the same? There were no notifications (which is a little odd), the timeline seemed more heavily "curated" than I remembered, but there was no flood of musky tweets or reccos for right-wing wing nuts. I miss quite a few things on Twitter -- like the JAV porn title bot, or harassing Josh Gondelman by posting "Gosh Jondelman!" in his replies from a sock puppet (didn't work) -- but I don't really feel a compulsion to get back on. Sometimes I find myself blankly staring at my phone and don't really want to do anything on it. Probably a good thing, I suppose.
posted by slogger at 10:51 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


did he just think he could remake Twitter as he liked and folks and advertisers would just follow along? Or was he just stupid.

He went full Ayn Rand. You never go full Ayn Rand. The reason so many CEOs and billionaires fetishize Ayn Rand is that, their obscene power and corruption aside, they have to go through legal departments and dot every i and cross every t for a reason, and they resent it, so they like the fairy tale story where some industrialist is so powerful that he just swashbuckles his way all throughout his eight separate business, and all of his employees love him, and none of them unionize, and the only thing to worry about is that lousy no-good Government trying to give second-hand leeches all of their hard-earned patents...

These dumb shits all buy into this populist philosophy where the masses are such big fans of theirs. The Liberals have got them all kowtowed and have sapped the meaning out of life with their pronouns and their brutalist architecture, but what they really love is when people with lots of money just throw it around, because billionaires are our folk heroes. Which is why Elon keeps showing his ass, staging "do you like me?? y/n" polls, hanging out with Dave Chappelle and getting booed, etc: he's such a goddamn Reddit neanderthal that he can't conceive of being the one locked in an echo chamber. What he sees and reads online is reality. Everything else is just, idk, some oppression.

What's ironic about all of this is that he's being destroyed by the thing that made Tesla a big deal. Teslas made cars fun—and not just for "car guys," most of whom were rightly pointing out that Teslas weren't actually good cars. Teslas were whimsical, Teslas had weird hardware features, Teslas had a sense of humor. And Teslas had Musk, who got accolades for being a weird Reddit guy, for being kind of a shitty dweeb with mediocre taste, in the same way that Sam Bankman-Fried got lauded for pretending he didn't know what a haircut was. Tesla's "we're so cool and edgy and futuristic" attitude got it name recognition, and their competitors' relative conservatism and humorlessness meant that Tesla kept getting attention, with Musk's antics seen as harmless at worst, and maybe actually visionary(??) at best.

But the clownery and whimsy that gets you noticed in the automobile industry means jack shit in the tech world, where Google's been doing cute little doodles since 2001. "Future-thinking" edgelordery just doesn't mean the same thing in a world where Facebook has managed to ruin two formerly-beloved products by "advancing" them to the point where nobody wants to fucking use them. And all of that cheesy corny dorky stuff that felt like a "personality" when it was held at a 6,000-mile removed from actual people suddenly looks like a dude with serious personality issues making some horrible fucking mistakes.

Fun fact about Atlas Shrugged: at no point does Rand write about advertisers. Much for the same reason she doesn't write about children: you can't include them in her worldview without immediately puncturing it and revealing why it doesn't work. (Rand does occasionally write about consumers, but generally speaking, her consumers like it when businesses build simple products that work correctly and deliver what they promise—one of those overlooked aspects of her worldview that gets conveniently ignored, the way that billionaire Christians skip daintily over that inconvenient Jesus fella.)
posted by Tom Hanks Cannot Be Trusted at 11:15 AM on January 18 [71 favorites]


I thought I'd probably hang around twitter longer, but killing the third party clients did it for me. First time in a decade I haven't had twitter open basically all the time in the corner of my screen. What a mess.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:41 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Much like the embellishments in George Santos's CV, none of these transgressions matter so long as Twitter can maintain the support of its base. And so far unfortunately there hasn't been a mass exodus. And no front runners as Diadochi to carve up the carcass of Twitter's empire.
posted by xigxag at 11:56 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


Reading the Verge article, it's really interesting thatMatt Taibbi's boss David Sacks was looming around, as one of Musk's Goons. Good reminder of what a propaganda exercise those breathless "TWITTER FILES" threads are.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:11 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


none of these transgressions matter so long as Twitter can maintain the support of its base

If "base" here means "userbase", this is wildly untrue, right?
posted by ominous_paws at 12:16 PM on January 18


I was going to add another post about that infamous image of Elron and Jared with the Saudis, but I have a very different interpretation.

The site that first became famous for its use by dissenters during Arab Spring is deliberately being killed off by powerful Saudis - it's the perfect villain arc.


Not just the Arab Spring; a lot of union organizing (Amazon, Starbucks, etc) has been used really effectively over Twitter, a lot of protest movements have leveraged it (METOO, BLM). I suspect either Musk was the most useful idiot in the billionaires club to burn a mountain of cash in the interests of destroying Twitter or that he lost a bet and figured whatever money he lost would be made up for in attention and chaos.
posted by Eikonaut at 12:19 PM on January 18 [10 favorites]


In a leveraged buyout, the borrower is the target company, not the new owners of the target company. So Mr. Musk and his partners borrow tens of billions of dollars from banks, but all of the liability resides in Twitter, itself. The investors owe nothing. The banks can't sue the investors or seize the investors assets.

$6.25 billion of the bank loans are to Musk personally and there is a $12.5 billion margin loan. The banks are not as stupid as they seem and Musk spectacularly is even dumber than he seems.
posted by srboisvert at 12:35 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


The site that first became famous for its use by dissenters during Arab Spring is deliberately being killed off by powerful Saudis - it's the perfect villain arc.

With respect, this is way overthinking things. The Saudis have invested in Twitter for a very long time, the Arab spring lead to no real changes, and they have used the platform to track and harass dissidents (story). They don't need to destroy Twitter, it works just fine for their purposes.
posted by Dark Messiah at 12:42 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


If "base" here means "userbase", this is wildly untrue, right?

We don't really know. Twitter's current user estimates are about as reliable as China's current COVID estimates, for not-dissimilar reasons.

What I can say from observation is:

* A few relatively self-contained communities have upped and moved to Mastodon en masse. Infosec is the paradigm example here. Library Twitter is divided -- if I had to guess, I'd say maybe 30% of it is gone from Twitter for good, 30% has one foot in Twitter and the other in Mastodon, and 40% is Twitter-only.

* Celebrities are appearing elsewhere (Mastodon, a few on Tumblr), but few have actually abandoned Twitter entirely. Of those who have, it's very hard to tell how much of their Twitter userbase abandoned ship with them. I wouldn't myself put the percentages terribly high.

* Attrition without migration -- people who ditch Twitter without replacing it -- is happening, but its numbers are a guessing game. I have to guess the abrupt cutoff of third-party apps is making it worse, though.

Twitter is camouflaging all this, insofar possible, by stuffing anything and everything into the algorithmic feed and doing their best to force users to see only that. Doubt that'll be a winning strategy, but I see no win for Twitter ever -- not even under new management or even new ownership.

tl;dr: Twitter's run entirely out of (financial and actual-user userbase) gas, but not rolled to a stop yet.
posted by humbug at 1:00 PM on January 18 [14 favorites]


I would love to play poker with Space Karen.
🍬👶😭
posted by terrapin at 1:18 PM on January 18


That would mean having to spend time with him. No thanks.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:24 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


Twitter's current user estimates are about as reliable as China's current COVID estimate

An inactive twitter account I've had for many years just passed 1,000 followers, due to hundreds of bots over the last few months. Somebody's inflating user counts at Twitter.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:25 PM on January 18 [15 favorites]


You could save time by just reading 2012 reddit posts. I'm sure Musk would pay his debts as promptly as he pays Twitter's rent, so this method seems analogous to the real thing.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:26 PM on January 18


Somebody's inflating user counts at Twitter.

Plus there's people like me, who don't use Twitter anymore but kept their accounts open so their usernames couldn't be taken. (I'm a nobody but I'm also an editor and there are one or two writers who hate me who I don't want to give any opportunity for shenanigans.) I'd be surprised if they aren't still counting me as an active user.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:38 PM on January 18 [7 favorites]


In the months before I closed my account, I was followed, 3-4 times a day by, what appeared to be Eastern European Cam models. So, I'd be in the hundreds now too.

Musk has the bankers in their own money game. I can't pay and you know it. Renegotiate with me and I'll pay, say 20 cents on the dollar. I don't think anybody wants to buy the debt as it is soooo radioactive as is the brand.

At the beginning consider the end...
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:49 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I am still on Twitter, and the whole vibe is weirdly quiet and depopulated, which makes me unhinged loons that much noisier. My key follows have been journalists and bike racing people, and while many of them still seem to be around, I just don’t see as much interesting stuff. I’ve signed up for Mastodon, but I am being “that” old person who can’t figure out why I can’t log in on the app.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:54 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


I’ve signed up for Mastodon, but I am being “that” old person who can’t figure out why I can’t log in on the app.

Thanks for the reminder to activate my mefi mastodon account. It was painless to sign up in the browser and adding the account to default mastodon android client was seemless.
posted by mmascolino at 2:22 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Twitter seems the same to me as it was 3 months ago. Musk has apparently taken a reprieve from being the main character each day, so my feed is back to exactly what it used to be. I only follow a maximum of 187 people, some of whom are low-volume posters.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:30 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


No. He's just a fucking moron egged on by his moron billionaire friends and his narcissism. They're not smart. They're just greedy sociopaths who made their living off capital and the misery/labor of others.

I don't believe Musk is particularly smart, but I honestly don't buy the idea that this is "Musk is dumb and really thought he could run Twitter." I look at the cast of characters who helped this happen and believe they actively want twitter dead because of the role it's played in uprisings, worker discussions, #metoo, etc.

Buying it and just shuttering the site would've been too obvious. Turning it into a flaming shitpile that loses critical mass serves their purposes just fine and is well worth the $44bn.
posted by jzb at 2:33 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


Musk is an idiot, but his downfall in this case is his inability to back down from anything. They told him he didn't have the money and he said "the fuck I don't" and then waived the due diligence process while signing a deal that I am sure many of his lawyers warned him not to.
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:36 PM on January 18 [12 favorites]


he doesn't understand that most CEOs are BORING for a reason, which is that it's much easier to run things by processes and procedures than by the whim of charismatic founders/owners.

All of these people want to be Steve Jobs without realizing that, even though he was an actual genius in many respects (which many of the wannabes simply are not), Jobs still managed to nearly sink Apple the first time around and then actually sank NeXT and made a lot of VCs much poorer.
posted by mightygodking at 3:40 PM on January 18 [26 favorites]


As I was reading this thread, an email from VERO popped into my inbox. I almost literally laughed out loud.
posted by TangoCharlie at 3:48 PM on January 18


then waived the due diligence process

This is exactly where it goes from silly to pants on head ridiculous.

He's going to be in text books for the contract he bought Twitter with.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:59 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


By now it's pretty clear that Elon isn't very clever, but I'm sure plenty of stupid people have "run" companies that didn't immediately collapse.

But I think we all may be suffering from the delusion that out of all these people with mountains of cash, at least a few must have some idea what they're doing. I don't see any reason why that has to be true, it's just something we're conditioned to believe.

Most of these guys are inheritors of massive dynastic fortunes, (organized?) criminals, lottery winners (in the business/investment sense) or all of the above. There's nobody behind the curtain, just a bunch of chipmunks with their cheeks full of nuts.
posted by klanawa at 4:30 PM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Oh god how I wish they were chipmunks with their cheeks full of nuts. At least we'd have something adorable to look at.
posted by revmitcz at 4:36 PM on January 18 [15 favorites]


Remember when he told everyone at Twitter to send him screenshots of their best lines of code?

It's shit like that that proves he is completely clueless. He fundamentally doesn't understand how engineering works, and yet that's supposedly the thing he knows/cares about the most. I wonder if he realizes he's that ignorant, or if he thinks all engineers are just bullshitting 24/7 just like him?

He also thinks he's good at tweeting, lol.
posted by ryanrs at 5:04 PM on January 18 [14 favorites]


Oh goodie, Trump is workshopping his first tweet for his return to Twitter.

Truth Social has exclusivity rights to Trump posts for six hours ... but only if they're personal. They have no exclusivity right to his political posts. Which makes the whole thing even more hilarious, Trump's going to tank Twitter, Trump Media and Technology Group (which owns Truth Social), and Digital World Acquisition Corporation, which is a SPAC that's supposed to buy out TMTG and result in a Trump payoff.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:22 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]


One thing I'm curious about that I haven't seen much coverage of is what's happening to Twitter use in countries-that-are-not-the-US and language-communities-for-languages-that-are-not-English.

Any MeFites got a read on any of those?
posted by humbug at 5:27 PM on January 18 [6 favorites]


I wonder if he realizes he's that ignorant, or if he thinks all engineers are just bullshitting 24/7 just like him?
I think what little coding he ever did - if any - back in the "founding PayPal" days was pretty low-level and minimal at that. In the early-mid 90s, you could reasonably write, say, 100 lines of code in PHP or Javascript and really move some mountains with it. Mostly because the mountains being moved were little more than large couches.

It's kind of hilarious, but hardly surprising, that many of the folks who made their millions or billions in those early days still today think they did some awesome, massive, very difficult and super genius thing that actually was pretty easy and they just were early to the game and/or had (in a vast majority of cases) pretty solid programmers doing the best they could with new languages.

Zuckerberg likely wouldn't be able to write a simple PHP echo statement today. Marc Cuban also wouldn't be able write code that triggers a Javascript prompt. Elon Musk almost certainly doesn't know what either of those things means, but boy howdy could he talk for an hour about how that doesn't matter while pitching you another of his dumb ideas.
posted by revmitcz at 5:28 PM on January 18 [9 favorites]


One thing I'm curious about that I haven't seen much coverage of is what's happening to Twitter use in countries-that-are-not-the-US and language-communities-for-languages-that-are-not-English.

A lot of the left/liberal side of New Zealand Twitter set up Mastodon accounts, but it feels like most of us are still on Twitter. Just because there's so much more there, still. Keep telling myself I'll just head to Mastodon permanently, but it hasn't happened yet.
posted by Pink Frost at 5:59 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I've been bugging people I follow to get their Mastodon information and then unfollowing them on Twitter if they're active on Mastodon. I figure I'll do a push once a month to move as much over as I can. There are accounts I follow (bands, etc) that I don't expect to see on Mastodon but I'd rather be checking that first before Twitter.
posted by hippybear at 6:02 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


From twitterisgoinggreat.com in discussing the removal of twitterific from the app store.

The founder of Twitterific, Craig Hockenberry, wrote:
"What bothers me about Twitterrific’s final day is that it was not dignified. There was no advance notice for its creators, customers just got a weird error, and no one is explaining what’s going on. We had no chance to thank customers who have been with us for over a decade. Instead, it’s just another scene in their ongoing shit show. But I guess that’s what you should expect from a shitty person."
posted by bluesky43 at 7:10 PM on January 18 [5 favorites]


One thing I'm curious about that I haven't seen much coverage of is what's happening to Twitter use in countries-that-are-not-the-US and language-communities-for-languages-that-are-not-English.

The tech-aware/extremely online parts of Southeast Asia have pretty much settled in. For anglophones, the standouts are the Singaporeans and Filipinos. I do think Pinoy twitter is still going strong, but Pinoy Fediverse isn't suffering from cytros/Marcos fans either so there's a strong cultural attraction there already in terms of setting up presence. Malaysians are around but we have the inability to use hashtagging to find each other - mostly because us and Indonesians love untagged shittalking (protective reasons) so it's slowgoing finding people. The power users (who do fresh content) are still on Twitter even if they've made fedi accounts, but who knows, as always it's always a matter of time with us. That said Malay- and Indonesian-speaking side of Twitter is surprisingly numerous already, and very social but I can't find anything much worth boosting, usually.
posted by cendawanita at 7:30 PM on January 18 [12 favorites]


This latest chapter in The Grand Adventures Of Mr Elon Musk is just another example of how having too much money prevents emotional maturity.
posted by Pouteria at 7:41 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]


To me, it's the small administrative failures that are more damning and ridiculous than the terrible business decisions.

Sure, maybe Elon didn't realize how much hate speech / CP / spam Twitter was already suppressing before he axed the entire Trust and Safety Team. Maybe he thought everyone loved Twitter as much as he did and would love to send him eight dollars a month in perpetuity. Those can sorta be explained away as hubris and ignorance. Bigger companies have made similar disastrous mistakes.

But asking software engineers to print out their code on paper? (which got changed to on the computer) Expecting to interview each and every single one about their impact? (many the meetings didn't happen) Demanding people respond to an email within 48 hours to keep their job? These are the actions of someone who hasn't worked with normal people without multiple handlers and managers to interpret and massage his random direction.

It's absolutely clear now that at Tesla and SpaceX, Elon is a figurehead and pocketbook more than any kind of real engineer or leader. He is the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert that has an Etch-a-Sketch instead of a laptop, to prevent him from doing any real damage or making any decisions.
posted by meowzilla at 7:51 PM on January 18 [25 favorites]


Well, he didn't create Tesla. He bought it and eventually the guys who founded it quit in disgust. I'm pretty sure he did none of the engineering for SpaceX. He's a great figurehead for it, and he likes making deals with big wigs and that's had to be done with NASA contracts. The Twitter thing really does feel like hubris has bitten him in the ass pretty hard.
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


Cat twitter is relatively indifferent to the current owners shenanigans, which I love.
My cat, follows other cats, there are plenty of cat posts and thats about it. I did lock it though, so the cat retweets have largely stopped but she still gets the same amount of likes as before from followers.
I need to find a solid Cat masto instance or sort out another account for her. Plenty of cats in the Fediverse but few account posting solely as a cat (or other animal come to think of it).
posted by phigmov at 9:01 PM on January 18 [4 favorites]


He is the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert that has an Etch-a-Sketch instead of a laptop

There's a kind of perfect resonance to the PHB being coined by a guy who is himself ultimately so wealth-justifying and tech-pilled and stupid that he would almost reflexively side with Elon on all this addled horseshit. May Ark B collectively set off on a Mars-like trajectory as soon as possible.
posted by cortex at 11:45 PM on January 18 [16 favorites]


One thing I'm curious about that I haven't seen much coverage of is what's happening to Twitter use in countries-that-are-not-the-US and language-communities-for-languages-that-are-not-English.

Poland, not much fediverse usage for big accounts in Polish, except for some leftist organisations. It doesn' t help that the biggest Polish Mastodon instance, 101010.pl, had issues with other instances defederating for things like descriptions of mainstream politics here (yes, LGBT exclusion zones HAVE been legally declared) or for plain not using English "because it's too hard to moderate in a foreign language".
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:53 PM on January 18 [8 favorites]


Despite not having any proof whatsoever*, I firmly believe that several evil countries who didn't appreciate their citizens being able to communicate with the world via Twitter approached Musk and said, "Hey we'll give you all the money you need to buy and plausibly wreck Twitter over a period of months. In exchange you can be the exclusive electric car seller in our countries."

*Other than pretty much everything that's happened since Musk took over
posted by Kibbutz at 11:54 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


> I need to find a solid Cat masto instance or sort out another account for her.

I know toot.cat exists, though dunno how cat-focused they are. Their wiki notes cats on there and on other instances.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:10 AM on January 19 [5 favorites]


Thanks for the tip Pronoiac, I'll follow the admin from my instance account and see if I can pick up the vibe from there.
posted by phigmov at 12:25 AM on January 19


Some clients can also allow you to follow an entire instance's feed of public posts, so another local feed for your dash. I know Fedilab for Android does this. Not sure about others.
posted by cendawanita at 12:36 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Instead, leveraged buyouts are commonly used to purchase companies by securing loans that the purchased business does not have the revenue stream to repay. Banks know they'll get hefty payouts, and the people buying the company are doing so largely as an investment, which they'll recoup. The loan(s) Musk secured to purchase Twitter far exceed not only the company's income (which, again, barely profitable, or actively losing money, depending on who you ask), but also the company's capital reserve. The company has never made enough money that it would be able to pay back the loan that was taken out to purchase it with. The act of purchasing it is what will cause the company to fail, which is not the same thing as buying a house or getting a small business loan.

That isn't common at all. Leveraged buyouts (and tbh Twitter wasn't really that leveraged, most of the money was in fact equity) are based on a business plan that the buyers present to the lenders for how they're going to pay them back. The overwhelming majority of buyouts use some leverage and it is in fact very rare for them to go bankrupt and be unable to pay the loans back. Logically because why else would someone lend in those circumstances.

The fact that this happens to be a very bad deal, that Musk actually doesn't know what he's doing, and that we're in the middle of a secular crash in online ad spending anyway doesn't have anything to do with the concept of the LBO of which this isn't even one.
posted by atrazine at 2:35 AM on January 19 [6 favorites]


It doesn't seem like there's a big migration away from twitter in Japan. But Japan is one of the countries that has an "everything" app (in this case LINE) so that might affect migration patterns. They only just rolled out Twitter Blue in Japan last week.
Japanese tech news sites are putting up the same sort of news as the sites in the US about the dumpster fire that is Elon's management though.
posted by LostInUbe at 3:02 AM on January 19 [4 favorites]


You can see tons of cat content by following #CatsOfMastodon (and tag your posts accordingly to be seen), but yah, a lot of CatTwitter has stayed put so far.
posted by cheshyre at 5:12 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Sure, maybe Elon didn't realize how much hate speech / CP / spam Twitter was already suppressing before he axed the entire Trust and Safety Team.

Nah, he knew - about the hate speech, anyway. His actions and tweets since the takeover have made it clear that about half the reason he wanted the damn thing in the first place is that he agrees with the hate speech, and was mad that the "reasonable" Hate Speech Lite and edgelord shit kept getting caught by the team and ratio'd by the hoi polloi.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:59 AM on January 19 [14 favorites]


toot.cat is my home instance and the vibe is leftist, pro trans/queer, and absolutely intolerant of hate speech or federating with those who allow it. if you decided to join, please strongly consider a monthly tip to the admin. cats not required but welcomed.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:28 AM on January 19 [7 favorites]


In a previous thread, there was reference to the impact of large, popular accounts leaving social media platforms (search keyword:"Trust Thermocline"). One of the big accounts that I was keeping an eye on is Paul F. Tompkins' account. You might know him from Mr. Show, you might know him as the voice of Mr. Peanutbutter from Bojack Horseman. Or you might have heard of him if you've listened to a podcast (pretty much any podcast lol) in the last 10 years. He was pretty active (and imho delightful) on Twitter and I feel like he's kind of a hub for several overlapping entertainment circles: standup/sketch/improv, podcasting, TV, animation, etc.. Basically, if you've been involved in any kind of live performance or podcasting in Los Angeles, I'm guessing you're probably not more than two degrees of separation from Paul F.

Anyways, towards the end of last year, he declared that he was going to be stepping back from Twitter in the new year and so far it looks like he's kept that pledge. If I were in charge of a social media platform, I'd probably be a bit concerned if I were losing an account like Paul F. Tompkins.
posted by mhum at 10:27 AM on January 19 [13 favorites]


Oh man, if Mr. Peanutbutter has given up on you, you need to examine your life
posted by Jacen at 11:10 AM on January 19 [9 favorites]


Per TwitterIsGoingGreat, Twitter's Q4 ad revenue went down 40% year-on-year.

I am shocked and appalled it wasn't down, like, 90%. Who the hell is still advertising on Twitter and can they be convinced to stop?
posted by humbug at 12:30 PM on January 19 [9 favorites]


SpaceX for one.
posted by Mitheral at 1:10 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Paul F. Tomkins has been seriously busy recently, so I wouldn't necessarily call his break a harbinger. Might be, though!
posted by rhizome at 1:35 PM on January 19


That shitbird revoked the Twitterrific Mac app's API access this afternoon. Twitterrific still isn't sure why. So now both of my preferred methods to interact with Twitter are dead.

It's been said that Twitter was targeting third-party clients with larger user bases and suspending their access. Looking at Elon, I completely understand why he's not aware that he's wrong, but "If we reduce the ways to get here, especially the very popular ways, more people will come!" is certainly a take.
posted by emelenjr at 2:03 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I’ve been hoping to move fully over to Mastodon, and unsurprisingly it’s just hard to replace a timeline I’ve been tweaking for years. Network effects are real. Whole categories of people, particularly celebrities, are only on Twitter. Not a lot of British comedians or soccer journalists active on Mastodon.

And obviously I don’t expect Mastodon to be an exact replica of my Twitter experience, but I do worry it will end up having all the same time-wasting qualities as Twitter without providing the same value… although it may be that the time-wasting is the value.

With Twitterific for Mac dying, though, I’ve had to resort to using the official client, and it’s really helping push me out the door. Now I really need a Mac mastodon client that syncs with one on my phone.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:12 PM on January 19


> rhizome: "Paul F. Tomkins has been seriously busy recently, so I wouldn't necessarily call his break a harbinger. Might be, though!"

Oh, I probably should have included a link to the thread from Dec. 15 where announced this and explained his motivation:
I think I’m gonna wind down the ol’ Twitter account and deactivate at the end of the year. I don’t feel like I’m getting anything out of it anymore. A lot of the people I really enjoy don’t tweet as much anymore. I don’t either! The fun has truly faded.

I’ve thought about it even before that dumbass took over but I was worried about losing an outlet for promotion. But ultimately I’m just scrolling and scrolling looking for something interesting and coming up empty more than striking gold.

I really enjoyed being on here, for a long time! The good far outweighed whatever bad I experienced. I met people here who became friends in the three dimensional world! But it really feels like that kind of fun is over.

All the other nonsense going on with this site right now made me admit it’s not worth it for me to be here anymore. I need to be able to say this dumb site is not part of my job or my life or whatever.

Thank you to people who were kind to me, supportive of me, who challenged me and got me to think more deeply about what I care about, and to the people who made me laugh.

I’m gonna deactivate on January 1st because that feels tidy and orderly to me & hopefully I’ll get to chat with my pretend friends here a little bit more before it’s all over. I’ll also use that time to figure out a fun promotional tool for that aspect of this that is enjoyable.
posted by mhum at 2:17 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]




Now I really need a Mac mastodon client that syncs with one on my phone

I looked for this for a bit but haven't found it yet. I expect Ivory will eventually be that (From the makers of Tweetbot) but it's not yet.
posted by aubilenon at 3:29 PM on January 19


The toot from Paul Haddad, creator of Tweetbot, really nails it:
Finally some clarity we apparently broke the long standing rule of "use or access the Licensed Materials to create or attempt to create a substitute or similar service or product to the Twitter Applications”.

I guess I didn't realize long standing actually means a couple hours ago, once again I'm deeply sorry.
posted by bcd at 3:30 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Mastodon won't become a replacement for Twitter for the masses. Non-techies like me have no interest in trying to figure it out.

And I don't know the background on the name - maybe deliberately ironic - but "let's name it after a clunky extinct animal"? Had I been their branding advisor...

That's why Post, on the surface, looked appealingly familiar. But right now it's like what I see in my Twitter archive from my earliest years. So bare bones and isolated compared to how active my bitdsite interactions were later. It really reinforces the community and acquaintances being lost.

So, despite how horrible Twitter's been, this is sad. Perhaps more difficult even than when some of my favorite message boards or lists faded.
posted by NorthernLite at 3:57 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I keep getting emails welcoming me back to twitter Advertising. I have like 10 people I follow and fewer followers. So yeah I'd say they're desparate.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:32 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


My one 'complaint' about Fediverse is that my tabs situation is out of control: too many interesting things and people to read up on! Yes, it does depend on networks and this is where I'm honestly bored when fedi users generalize about it (so not referring to anyone here) because it usually betrays their experience being twitter-heavy or -specific: the whole experience of curating my timeline feels very Tumblr to me. One of the key difference is definitely the hesitance to just boost the hell out of anything interesting (tumblr's anything goes vibe is really because of that) and just follow anyone interesting. My fedi timeline has a different makeup than Tumblr (where being anonymous is the point; so it's really on the strength of your hyperspecific posts or reblogged content and less on rl credentials) but it's definitely a snappy moving one.

So, back to the network effect this is where I think cultural norms are showing itself - Brazil's attempted coup had a lot of active coverage on fedi because it turns out Brazilians are established enough + people felt it was important, that it burst past bubbles easily. This is where I'm trying to recreate with hunting for Southeast Asians who are interesting. But yeah, it's Tumblr. Think Tumblr.
posted by cendawanita at 4:47 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


I weirdly want to find a replacement Twitter despite having barely used Twitter. Mostly I think I just want everything to be what Google Reader was back in the day, with slightly better design for short-form posts.

But maybe that's part of my wide-eyed incredulity at the Mastodon (Android app) new-user experience. Like, is there stuff here that would be intuitive to people who have used Twitter a lot?

The first thing that pops up is a big splash screen with "Get Started" or "Log in". Cool, that makes sense. #💯 or whatever.

If I hit "Get Started", I'm brought to the server selection UI. I'm in tech, I roughly understand architecturally how Mastodon works and why the server thing is necessary... and I still can't figure out what to do as a human who wants to use this product.

The first recommendations under the "All" category are swisstoots.ch (described as "Ein schweizweiter nationaler Mastodon-Server"), arsenalfc.social, and gametoots.de. Um... you showed me the app text in English so you probably figured out that's my primary language, maybe the first recommendation in a language you think I can read and the others should be slightly more general-purpose. God help the people running the arsenalfc.social server if they're the entry point for randos across the world.

So, okay, there's a "Search servers or enter URL" input, let me put "Colorado"... err, nothing comes up from the autofiltering, and if I hit the submit button it pops up an error that "Colorado" is not a Mastodon server (which ancient humans might dispute).

I'll skip ahead here, because basically nothing about "Get started" is useful to get started with Mastodon. I would welcome someone explaining to me that I'm missing something obvious, even if it was a link to download a PDF tutorial I could print out.

I mean, I understand how I'd ask to join the unofficial MeFi server, but then what? This is a pseudonymous account, I'm not going to start following my friends from it or posting as myself. Without any sensible guidance to choose a reliable general-purpose server I'm just not going to Get Started with it at all.
posted by Riki tiki at 5:57 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


I wonder what would happen if Mastodon introduced an invitation mechanic. Riki tiki is absolutely correct that the server-choice hurdle can be a brain-breaker, even though for plenty of users it's not actually a make-or-break feature of the eventual experience. (I read Mastodon through lists, just as I did with Twitter. I don't use the Home or Local feeds hardly at all.)

But if someone asked me "what server should I pick?" and I could say "hang out on the one I'm on, here's an invite," I feel like that would maybe help? Including with server moderation, in a weird way?
posted by humbug at 6:31 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Here's my process (definitely specific to me; I'm used to Tumblr, livejournal, hell even finding about Metafilter which iirc was back when I was lurking around the blogosphere and i think i saw it in the comments of TMP, wow about 20 years ago - twitter is new to me comparatively, my heavy use of it was around 5 years ago when Tumblr got too quiet due to the last pre-automattic management decision):

- what most guides really forget to capture is the social aspect of it. Possibly because their social circle is a given to be there (hence a lot of good pointers on using web apps that scrapes your twitter follows for their fedi accounts, but I've only used once and i have a habit of setting up fresh feeds anyway) but here's how a loner (me) does it - i did a lot of scouting. By the time I joined the mefi instance, based on all the discourse, i knew which accounts to follow.

- more importantly I lurked at the comments. Anyone interesting, I follow.

- eventually I'm going to a hit a wall of like-minded people, this is when I start tag trawling, because exactly, plaintext search doesn't work. But tag trawls work along the lines of federated feeds i.e. it can only find as far as your home instance is connected to (via other people on the instance's follows as well). This is where single-user instances have the most difficulty because their federated feed IS the same as their own follows. If you're in a bigger instance, trawling and lurking in your local instance feed or federated feed will probably expose you to interesting accounts.

- if I'm going to use a social science lingo, I'm basically doing snowball sampling. I hop from node to node.

- ppl who boost a lot are a good spot to build your own follows. In terms of culture, consequently this is beginning to form a Tumblr/livejournal ethos: your follow habit is not personal. Unfollow if the boosts are too frequent or irrelevant.

- following hashtags is also a thing now, so you don't have to follow people, but if they tag a tag you follow, they'll show up on your feed. So, follow #colorado.

- and then finally, fedi culture: people are genuinely sympathetic to requests for connection. At this point you should have picked up two things: hashtagging to surface your public posts beyond your local instance and boosting as human-driven recommendation engines. So, do an #introduction post, be genuine about what you're looking for, tag liberally.

- i spent about a week hopping from one social bubble to the next because my priority is not to recreate a genuine fedi issue of having my feed to be too white and male. Happy and proud to say I think i achieved it. Sorry to everyone on mefi.social though!

- translation & following feeds: a number of clients offer in-app translation and the ability to follow other instances' local feed. You can also build your own lists (of people you already follow). Apologies to anyone following me tho, for some reason none of the built-in solutions have figured out Malay text enough to translate it. Indonesian too. Doesn't seem to happen with other languages using latin characters.
posted by cendawanita at 6:37 PM on January 19 [13 favorites]


Meanwhile, Musk's securities fraud trial (over his 2018 tweet, "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.") has begun.

In his opening statement, Musk's lawyer asserted:
Twitter haikus don’t move the market.
I think Eli Lilly would like to object.
posted by cheshyre at 7:03 PM on January 19 [11 favorites]


Twitter haikus
Am considering
taking Tesla private at
$420.


You can almost pass it off, but the

Funding secured.

ruins it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:22 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


> In a leveraged buyout, the borrower is the target company, not the new owners of the target company. So Mr. Musk and his partners borrow tens of billions of dollars from banks

This is such a strange thing because the entity taking out the loan isn't the one negotiating a loan. It feels like a thing that corporate bylaws should be able to stop the whole thing cold by forcing any liabilities the buyers carry to not be transferable to the business and requiring a unanimous vote of all those who are employees at the time of the purchase to change that part of the bylaws. Getting it right would be kind of hard, though. I don't know the accepted categories in those transactions, but it seems like something you could write a standard clause for that everyone puts in.
posted by madhadron at 8:07 PM on January 19


> ChurchHatesTucker:

Funding secured.

ruins it.


Interestingly, if he had left out those two words and kept it just to the haiku part, I don't think that trial would be happening. The first part was true, "funding secured" was the lie.
posted by mhum at 8:39 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


This is such a strange thing because the entity taking out the loan isn't the one negotiating a loan. It feels like a thing that corporate bylaws should be able to stop the whole thing cold by forcing any liabilities the buyers carry to not be transferable to the business and requiring a unanimous vote of all those who are employees at the time of the purchase to change that part of the bylaws.

Huge topic but I think the sticking point here is just that employees are not considered to have a proprietary interest in a corporation under US corporate law (unless they are also shareholders). They've got a contract and some protections against egregious abuse, but apart from that they don't have any legal interest in what happens to the business. (Summers and Shleifer actually wrote a pretty interesting paper about this back in the '80s, before they helped do shock therapy on the Soviet Union.) In general it is understood to be operated in the interest of its owners, the shareholders. And as long as they're getting paid enough in the buyout, the shareholders have no reason to care about what happens after. From this shareholder-centric perspective, the entity taking out the loan is being consulted. They (through their only party that matters, the shareholders) don't directly negotiate the loan, but they can reject the deal.

Now in spite of this there are things that corporate management can do to fight against a deal they don't like. This is the exciting world of takeover defense.
posted by grobstein at 10:14 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


cendawanita, that's a nice summary of how to use Mastodon. Thank you. :)
posted by wandering zinnia at 4:19 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


On one hand I understand all the kvetching and dismissing of Mastodon compared to Twitter, yes the UI and navigating of instances is confusing, I get it.

On the other hand, you do realize that back in the day Twitter had numerous people making 6 figures whose sole job was to study and improve things like onboarding and interaction with the site? Alternatively, there was a person who would literally lose their job if they were responsible for letting the site go down for more than an hour.

Now that's actually not my central point, because I understand that if you're frustrated, you're frustrated, and it doesn't matter why or how.

My point is: give it some fucking time.

The massive influx of people coming to Mastodon is actually something we should be thanking dipshit Musk for because it's giving energy to a system that can be much better in the long haul.

Before his purchase, Mastodon had around 400k users, that jumped up by 230k in one week in November to around 650k users. Now just two months later, it has close to 3 million active users, although the total number of users who have registered accounts is 9 million. BTW, unlike Twitter and most other private social media companies who juice their numbers, all of this data is completely available and transparent. Imagine that?

Here's two examples for people who apparently can foresee the future and remain skeptical that Mastodon could EVER be palatable to a mass audience.
  • Here's a screenshot of Elk, an open source Mastodon web client that is in the Alpha stage of development. Looks pretty familiar I'd say. I've been using it this week and it's already doing a lot of things better than the default client and was built by a team of...four people.
  • The company Tapbots is developing a new iOS client for Mastodon called Ivory. This is notable because they made Tweetbot, one of the best third party Twitter apps and whose development team released 7 versions of the app over time, winning multiple industry awards, etc. (And have real motivation to make a good app because their app, like all other third-party Twitter apps, is now dead).
All that's happening (and there are multiple people in this thread who have explained it better than me) is that systems that rely on venture capital funding and were intended to make profits, will pump tons of money into creating a seamless and engaging user experience, but that's just a means to an end. (The "end" of course is cashing out, without regard for the societal damage you may have created.)
posted by jeremias at 5:51 AM on January 20 [12 favorites]


Here was my Mastodon process:

1. Sign up on one of the big instances (I think mastodon.social but couldn't swear to it).

2. Immediately read that smaller/less crowded instances are better, less firehose-y, etc and switch to toot.site based on looking at mastodon's list and picking something small more or less at random.

3. Use debirdify to find my Twitter friends on Mastodon. Upload the resulting spreadsheet and add about 400 people (I had a lot of Twitter followers at my small press's account).

4. Search newsie.social (an instance for journalists) and follow maybe 100 people who look interesting. Same for astrodon.something (sorry I forget, but it's an astronomers site) and a history-focused one, which I also forget. I found those by googling something like "finding astronomers on mastodon". Follow #BlackTwitter, #BlackFridays, #Nashville, #bunnies and a few other hashtags for my interests and follow people who post interesting things.

5. Spend a couple months unfollowing people who turned out not to be that interesting after all. I'm at about 450 accounts I follow now. Spend that same time posting almost everything I was posting to Facebook or my website also at Mastodon, probably on average a post every second day, nothing too time-consuming. Use hashtags liberally. Follow back some of the people who follow me because of that.

6. Switch to mefi.social (just this week). Toot.site was fine but the "Local" feed was useless to me since it was mostly two or three apparently-teenagers-in-maybe-Germany who were really into emojis and random non-sequitors. The Local feed on mefi.social is pretty interesting.

I do have the app installed on my phone but I never use it. For me, this is a "laptop while my husband watches sports" activity. I'm not on every day, but probably 4-5 days/week, and it's interesting, I still get social justice and news but without the temptation to spend hours reading arguments about them like on twitter, and I get a lot more weird little quirky things, and way more dogs and bunnies because of following hashtags for them.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:24 AM on January 20 [11 favorites]


New lawsuits incoming!

Twitter hired experts for case against Musk—now Musk won’t pay them, lawsuit says (Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica):
CRA said it received no response to a series of messages it sent about the unpaid invoices during the month after Musk's purchase. Twitter also hasn't followed the agreed-upon process for objecting to the invoices, CRA said. "Twitter agreed pursuant to the terms of the Contract that any 'objection with respect to CRA's invoices must be made by the client in writing within five (5) business days following receipt of the invoice to which objection is made,'" the lawsuit said. "Twitter has never provided any objection to CRA with regard to the CRA Invoices."
Lawsuit alleges Twitter failed to pay rent for Seattle office (Renata Geraldo and Heidi Groover, Seattle Times):
A complaint filed in King County Superior Court Thursday alleges Twitter “defaulted by failing to pay the rent owed under the lease for December 2022 and January 2023, and by indicating it would not be paying any rent moving forward.”
This is in addition to the lawsuit over unpaid rent for one of Twitter’s San Francisco offices, or its eviction from its Singapore office, both mentioned in the previous thread. Some reports say Twitter has stopped paying rent for any of its offices worldwide.

I guess the plan is to drive the company straight toward bankruptcy so why bother paying any bills in the meantime?
posted by mbrubeck at 9:50 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


(In other Musk legal news, he is now personally implicated in the decision to produce a faked demonstration of Tesla’s “Autopilot.” That demo was recently the subject of testimony in a lawsuit over a fatal crash, and could be evidence in a criminal investigation.)
posted by mbrubeck at 10:05 AM on January 20 [10 favorites]


Meanwhile, I just watched Glass Onion for the first time
posted by trig at 1:25 PM on January 20 [13 favorites]


Apparently it's the second or third time watching Glass Onion that you catch everything that's really going on. I haven't watched it that many times, though. I have watched a lot of youtube videos about the movie, however.
posted by hippybear at 2:08 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]


That, and, you know, it's the second or third time watching Glass Onion stupid things from real life that you catch everything that's really going on.

(First link is for the video, which has stood out as distractingly stupid since the first time I saw it - but that was after this whole saga started. Would I have found it that stupid beforehand? I can only hope so.)
posted by trig at 3:20 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]




Huge topic but I think the sticking point here is just that employees are not considered to have a proprietary interest in a corporation under US corporate law (unless they are also shareholders).


now this may sound new but what if workers owned the means of production
posted by lalochezia at 6:58 AM on January 21 [17 favorites]


Musk going further down the anti-vax pipeline.

In reply to a Scott Adams tweet implying major side effects are common: "I had major side effects from my second booster shot. Felt like I was dying for several days. Hopefully, no permanent damage, but I dunno."

Then: "And my cousin, who is young & in peak health, had a serious case of myocarditis. Had to go to the hospital."
posted by Buntix at 7:22 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Previous Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also promoted antivax conspiracy theorists, so I guess it comes with the territory.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:36 AM on January 21 [2 favorites]


okay but any update on their cousin's friend's balls
posted by cortex at 8:37 AM on January 21 [16 favorites]


okay but any update on their cousin's friend's balls

TIL Dorsey and Minaj are cousins by brain worm!
posted by srboisvert at 2:22 PM on January 21


WaPo on Twitter's influence on hate speech.
“In the past three to four months, we have seen an increase in anti-LGBTQ incidents, and you can see a statistical correlation between these real-world incidents and the increased use of the term ‘groomer’ on Twitter,” said Alexander Reid Ross, a Network Contagion analyst who shared the findings with The Washington Post. He did not say that use of the term had led to the violence.
The second biggest spike in tweets with the word “groomed” came just after Musk took control of Twitter. The biggest, to more than 4,000 in a day, came in late November, shortly before a record seven daily antigay attacks were recorded in the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a nonprofit tracker of worldwide political violence, Ross said.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:34 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Twitter is no longer reliably delivering content or notifications, especially for accounts with a large volume of interactions. Various high profile users are noticing that their posts are suddenly reaching only a fraction as many people as they used to.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:20 PM on January 23 [3 favorites]


In other news, Trump wants back in.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:22 PM on January 23


And the King of England* is also suing Twitter for failing to pay rent on its main London office.

*well, the Crown Estate anyways
posted by mbrubeck at 8:30 PM on January 23




According to Reuters, December ad spend at Twitter down 71% in December (from the previous month? or YOY? not clear). Total 4Q revenue down 35% YOY.

Now that's more like it.
posted by humbug at 8:41 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Looks like it's from last year

https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/twitter-sees-ad-spending-fall-over-70-dec
Twitter saw ad revenue in December fall 71% from a year ago as top advertisers slashed their spending
...
Twitter's fourth-quarter revenue fell about 35% year-over-year due to a slump in advertising, technology-focused publication, the Information reported.

Advertising accounted for 89% of Twitter's $5.08 billion revenue in 2021.
[autoplaying vid on page & it's mostly the same as the Reuters article apart from the above additions.]
posted by Buntix at 9:39 AM on January 25


Some back-of-an-envelope maths, if the ad revenue stays down ~60% on the previous year, and there's no other significant source of income that would be a turnover of around $2.3 billion.

Per https://tradingeconomics.com/twtr:us:operating-expenses the operating expenses for Q2 2022 was $1.5 billion, even with the all the layoffs and non-payments guessing the annual operating costs are still over that $2.3b. So with the $1b a year in interest payments, unless he pumps more money in from elsewhere, Twitter would seem to be technically insolvent.
posted by Buntix at 9:53 AM on January 25


Twitter would seem to be technically insolvent.

From a purely financial point of view, the guys who sold Twitter must be feeling pretty damn smug.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:17 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


After just one day after being reinstated back on Twitter thanks to owner Elon Musk’s blanket pardon of hate figures, white nationalist and anti-Semite Nick Fuentes has once again been kicked off the platform.

Hannah Gais, a senior researcher with the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote that overnight Fuentes hosted a Twitter Space where he praised both Hitler and domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski, AKA the unabomber.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:23 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


The Verge: Elon Musk thinks Twitter is real life
“Let me check my Twitter account,” he said in a Tesla earnings call Wednesday evening. “Okay, so I’ve got 127 million followers and it continues to grow very rapidly.”

Apparently the steady growth of his own Twitter presence is all the evidence he needs that his tweets are right and good and his online antics are beyond reproach. No mention of the white supremacists he’s let back on the platform (and then kicked off again after they have reverted to type and said Nazi things) or the worrying rise in hate speech and harassment. No mention of his own declining reputation or the growing calls to ditch his post at Twitter and refocus on the company that actually matters, Tesla.

Just look at that scoreboard.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:01 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


Elon apparently doesn't realize that some people might be following him just like they might turn on a web camera aimed at a burning dumpster.
posted by hippybear at 7:05 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Pre Elon take over Twitter probably actually capital M Mattered more than Tesla (IMO). Tesla is going to get its lunch eaten by the big traditional automotive players on one side and new Chinese players on the other eventually becoming an also ran. They've accelerated the adoption of electric cars and now it is out of their control. Twitter on the other hand was immensely influential and probably could have continued in that vein for years (enshittening cycle notwithstanding).

Tesla shareholders are unlikely to share that view.

I wonder what percentage of those 127 million are bots? The fact that the count is growing very rapidly (whatever that means) probably means it is pretty high.
posted by Mitheral at 7:23 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


I don't follow Elon's Twitter, but literally everything else I read about him is dumpster fire territory.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:14 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


imagine a burning dumpster that keeps posting shit like "getting pretty hot in here 😂😂😂" when it's not reply-guying random nazis about twitter complaints and you've pretty much got it
posted by cortex at 8:42 AM on January 26 [7 favorites]


On the local news (KTVU) this morning, they reported that Twitter is down to around 1300 employees, an 80% drop, and that Twitter costs $4,000,000 a day to operate. Also it appears that firing the custodial staff may have violated a state law that requires any new owners of a business have to provide a transition period from old custodial staff providers to any new replacements. Meanwhile, since that firing, nothing has been done inside the SF headquarters, custodianly, and I can imagine the working conditions there. Maybe they are using those printed sheets of lines of code as toilet paper?
posted by njohnson23 at 9:02 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]


Twitter support/security seem rather absent. Brian May's account looks to have been hacked ~30 hours ago and is being used to scam people into buying signed MacBooks for charity.

The last retweet of the scam post was all of 2 minutes ago.

Thanks to the view stats it's even possible to see that the first tweet had over 300K views.

All replies and quote tweets are turned off so there's no warning from other people visible.

Suspect someone's making enough to retire on...
posted by Buntix at 8:30 PM on January 28




Is it just me or does Elmo's face look like it is becoming more and more ... what's the German word for a face that is demanding to be punched? ... like that. That snobby self-congratulatory sneer thing seems to become more prominent as time goes by.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:21 AM on January 29 [4 favorites]


Shkrelike?
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 11:30 AM on January 29 [5 favorites]


Elon Musk ‘doesn’t seem like’ right person to own Twitter, says co-founder

Damn, Biz Stone, don’t say anything in the heat of anger you can’t take back later.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:27 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Backpfeifengesicht is the word you are looking for (a face in need of a fist).
posted by Marticus at 7:48 PM on January 29 [10 favorites]


Shkrelike?

Excellent, but sounds like a mineral to my ear.

May I suggest 'Shkrelilike' with the extra lili in the middle?

LILILILILILILILILI!!1
posted by porpoise at 7:55 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Shrekelicle cat
posted by cortex at 8:25 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


How does Elon Musk have this little self-awareness?

(tweeted picture: "4 Signs You Are Bad With Money;" it's meant to be anti-government, but change the order-of-magnitude in the last sign and they all apply to Musk himself)
posted by cheshyre at 5:52 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


I guess ever since his emergence from the pod/creche someone has always been telling him he's really smart, he's a genius, he's clever, he's the brightest little boy ever, and if something or someone contradicts that his brain translates it into the mental equivalent of olestra: something just not processed at all.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:50 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: the mental equivalent of olestra.
posted by Not A Thing at 7:10 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


A new whistleblower has emerged, saying that any engineer can activate an internal program that allows them to tweet from any account, delete tweets, & restore deleted tweets, and usage of this program isn't properly logged.

Meanwhile, Musk is taking further steps to add financial services functionality. Would you trust Twitter with your money?
posted by cheshyre at 7:16 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Would you trust Twitter with your money?

ah Haha Ha Ha HA Ha.

no.

(I wonder about the ratio of genuinely horrifying revelations to standard-issue horrors of any tech workplace, though. I expect the worst, frankly - at the same time, if Twitter continues to sink (this is Geocities Livejournal MySpace Tumblr all over again, I think we all recognise that) hopefully it will be replaced with something better. Probably won't, but, you know, hope springs eternal. (Which in German turns into "die Höffnung stirbt zuletzt." - hope dies last.)Take your pick. The demise of Twitter is an opportunity, as well as a hell of a spectacle.)
posted by From Bklyn at 2:03 AM on January 31 [3 favorites]


The Norwegian government established a commission on free speech a couple of years ago, that released their report last year. It went as far as identifying the Internet as critical infrastructure for maintaining an environment for free speech, and recommended looking into how search engines and platforms are also infrastructure and should be regulated to the same extent as other critical infrastructure in our society. It will be interesting to see where that goes.
posted by Harald74 at 3:35 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Earlier, something extremely stupid was going on as several right-wing accounts (i.e. the main people Elon responds to) were setting their accounts on private in an "experiment" to see if their "reach" was somehow altered. The end result was Elon setting his own account on private temporarily because apparently Ian Miles Cheong somehow knows how Twitter works better THAN THE GUY WHO OWNS IT.
posted by LostInUbe at 4:32 AM on February 1 [6 favorites]


Can Malaysians both win the Oscar and take down Musk? TIME WILL TELL
posted by cendawanita at 5:07 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


@TwitterDev: "Starting February 9, we will no longer support free access to the Twitter API, both v2 and v1.1. A paid basic tier will be available instead "
posted by Buntix at 3:13 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Which is pretty much "all the fun Twitter bots die that day."
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:40 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


The clearest public face of it will be the fun autopost bots that all go quiet (and the subset actively migrating to mastodon because this established free API access was the one thing keeping twitter at the front of the pack for them). But there's also gonna be a shitload of pain points for boring useful stuff, from general public utilities like migration and tweet deletion tools to private personal and business workflow glue stuff that people will discover have just suddenly stopped working.

All for some short-sighted penny-pinching bullshit because a rich dumbfuck corncobbed himself and is trying to scrape inches back on his mile of corporate debt.
posted by cortex at 8:50 AM on February 2 [9 favorites]


I have been giving students a "make a twitter bot" assignment for years. Fuck that I guess.
posted by grobstein at 8:58 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


Some follow-up threads on how spectacularly dumb it is to fire all the free help that made the joint ITFP. (Was too aghast previously to comment).

A good thread from @Luca (writer of Fedifinder and general Twitter API guru):
Next week, there won't be a free Twitter API anymore. As a result, I will stop any work on non-commercial projects that use the API and will have to re-evaluate which commercial projects are still feasible.

This change will destroy research, activism and commercial projects.
--
Important todo for you: Make sure that you don't use Twitter to log into any services that are important to you.

Go to https://twitter.com/settings/connected_apps to see all apps that you logged into and make sure that the important ones have at least one other login option (eg mail/password).
--
If you want to find your Twitter contacts in the fediverse, use https://fedifinder.glitch.me before 2023-02-09 because I don't think I will be able to keep it running after that.
--
I am not against paying for API access. I spent thousands of Euros with Twitter since they released the Premium API. But I won't anymore for personal (don't support assholes) and business (only work with reliable partners) reasons.
@pookleblinky:
Without api access, mass blocking stops working. Every terf dogpile becomes you trying to stem a flood of sewage using a teaspoon.
---
Every third party *safety tool* stops working, not just beloved bots.
The quote tweets on the announcement are becoming a who's who of all the most popular bot and research accounts saying goodbye.

Still not convinced by the conspiracy theory that he bought Twitter to destroy it, but it's increasingly hard to think of reasons why everything he's done since purchasing seems to be exactly what someone would do if trying to achieve exactly that. While not doing that.posted by Buntix at 9:28 AM on February 2 [10 favorites]


Along with bots, here are some other things that may stop working in a week because they depend on the free Twitter API:
  • Safety tools that let you auto-block large groups of people (e.g. “this person and all their followers” or “everyone on this community-maintained blocklist”).
  • Tools that auto-delete your old Tweets.
  • Services that let you cross-post to Twitter and other social networks (Instagram, Mastodon).
  • Blog software that automatically notifies your Twitter followers when you make a new post.
  • Web sites like ThreadReader that let you read Twitter content in a different format. (Note: Nitter will keep working because they scrape content from the web site rather than using the API.)
  • Devices (like game consoles) that can share content (like video clips) to Twitter. (Manufacturers can pay for API access, but will they bother doing this for older devices?)
  • Services that help you migrate to fediverse/mastodon/etc. by finding accounts for people you follow on Twitter.
Or, some of these things will keep working but their developers and/or users will be paying Musk for the privilege.

Twitter says details will be available “next week,” meaning probably only three days before they shut down the free API.
posted by mbrubeck at 9:56 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


Pretty sure the basic paid tier is going to $8
posted by Buntix at 11:48 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Still not convinced by the conspiracy theory that he bought Twitter to destroy it, but it's increasingly hard to think of reasons why everything he's done since purchasing seems to be exactly what someone would do if trying to achieve exactly that. While not doing that.

He doesn't know what money is, on a very fundamental level. He thinks of money like I think of krill -- I have a vague knowledge of its composition, and I know that it's very important to some kinds of whale, but not which whales in particular, and it's not like I encounter whales on a day-to-day basis, so I don't really get what happens to Any Particular Whale if the krill goes away. I find myself asking Well, why don't they eat something else then? or not really thinking about krill at all except clucking at newspaper headlines about krill supplies in some far-off place. But! I've been told -- for decades now -- that I am very, very good at farming krill (despite other people doing all the work, but let's not ever let that enter my mindspace either), so clearly I am in fact good at farming krill. I may well have been, for some amount of time, the person with the very most krill in the entire world. So now that I've acquired an entire pod of blue whales (or whatever the fuck it's called -- remember, I don't know anything about whales either), I merely have to apply my krill-making abilities to this new process and everyone will be happy, right? Even if I don't really know what those krill-making abilities even are.

Every bone-headed idea he has that he thinks will be The Thing that makes money for Twitter does make money for Twitter. It just doesn't make nearly enough money (and likely ends up netting (ha) less money because of the cost of implementing and the userbase losses that it engenders). That part doesn't matter to him, because he sees money coming in and that means he's making money. But he doesn't know what money is.
posted by Etrigan at 12:10 PM on February 2 [9 favorites]


Along with bots, here are some other things that may stop working in a week because they depend on the free Twitter API:
Safety tools that let you auto-block large groups of people (e.g. “this person and all their followers” or “everyone on this community-maintained blocklist”).
Tools that auto-delete your old Tweets.
Services that let you cross-post to Twitter and other social networks (Instagram, Mastodon).
Blog software that automatically notifies your Twitter followers when you make a new post.
Web sites like ThreadReader that let you read Twitter content in a different format. (Note: Nitter will keep working because they scrape content from the web site rather than using the API.)
Devices (like game consoles) that can share content (like video clips) to Twitter. (Manufacturers can pay for API access, but will they bother doing this for older devices?)
Services that help you migrate to fediverse/mastodon/etc. by finding accounts for people you follow on Twitter.
Or, some of these things will keep working but their developers and/or users will be paying Musk for the privilege.


Tbh it's an interesting experiment. I mean yeah Twitter has paid advertising (its main revenue stream), but it also serves as an enormous free promotion channel through "earned" engagement, like users posting gameplay videos from their Playstations etc. I suspect this is much more valuable than the paid advertising -- which means, as Twitter, you're helping to generate literally billions of dollars of value per year that you don't capture any portion of. As the platform owner, in principle you hold all of that value hostage. You can turn off the taps. But, in practice, can you find a way to tax it without destroying it altogether, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs?

This looks like a very clumsy attempt, if it even rates as an attempt. But it addresses what (from a bloody-minded capitalist point of view) looks like a huge waste generated by the company's practices under public ownership. All of that potential revenue just going into the pockets of Sony and Microsoft and so on like Twitter is some kind of charity.

To be honest, I doubt that what I have outlined is possible, and I hope it's not. As a user, what has made Twitter so useful and delightful is rooted in the relative openness and freedom (as in beer and speech) of participating. Realizing its potential as a moneymaker would stop it from being fun. This is also why I suspect it's not possible. The audience is there because of the freedom. Even if you can get Sony to pay for the API key to post from Playstation, the value of that key will be negligible if people stop finding Twitter a fun place to hang out.

On the other hand, if Twitter can't be turned into a much bigger moneymaker, it will be decapitalized (already happening), because investors have only put their money in because they think it has growth prospects. That might by itself stop it from being fun (moderation is expensive after all). So maybe there's no way for me to get what I want. Which is also fine. As I said in an earlier comment, I haven't been on Twitter in a month or two anyway.
posted by grobstein at 1:02 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


All of that potential revenue just going into the pockets of Sony and Microsoft and so on like Twitter is some kind of charity

This kind of thinking might make sense now that Twitter has deepsixed its relationship with advertisers, but the other way to think about it is that a whole flotilla of Sony and Microsoft gamers are just handing Twitter a huge amount of free content for them to monetize.

Between this, his approach to verification and power users, Musk has been semi-consistent in the stance that he thinks that the monetizeable value of using Twitter is posting Tweets, not reading or viewing other people's Tweets. Which makes sense for a narcissist to think - he just wants a big soapbox to spout his ideas and spin and dumb stoner jokes and so on. He mostly only cares about what other people say if it is about him or his businesses. The business model he's moving Twitter towards just assumes everyone thinks about social interaction the way he does.
posted by aubilenon at 1:46 PM on February 2 [8 favorites]


On a thread by @ericnakagawa.
Musk: Yeah, free API is being abused badly right now by bot scammers & opinion manipulators. There’s no verification process or cost, so easy to spin up 100k bots to do bad things.

Just ~$100/month for API access with ID verification will clean things up greatly.

@PepitoTheCat: This will kill @PepitoTheCat account. Pépito is part of Twitter history, he post quality content with great engagement.

Musk: I guess we could give all Verified users access to the API for posts like this
Just making it up as he goes....
posted by Buntix at 4:27 AM on February 3 [1 favorite]


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