Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 12, 2022
Exodus continues at Twitter as Elon Musk hints at possible bankruptcy
As Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter entered its third week, and following mass layoffs, the billionaire laid bare a delicate financial future for the social media platform, amid an exodus of top privacy and security executives.
Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity who had been deputized to publicly address concerns advertisers and users had about the platform, is reportedly the latest to leave the company.
The departures began on the same day Elon Musk addressed employees for the first time, saying that “bankruptcy isn’t out of the question”, according to multiple reports.
The day began with the resignation of three top security officials – chief information security officer Lea Kissner, chief privacy officer Damien Kieran and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty – prompting warnings from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). (Twitter reached a settlement over privacy issues with the FTC in May.) Following those departures, Roth and Twitter’s head of client solutions, Robin Wheeler, also left the company.
In an email to employees and a subsequent staff meeting, Musk did little to inspire confidence in the company’s future. In one email, Musk described the dire economic circumstances the company was in and how important he believed its subscription service, Twitter Blue, was to its future.
“Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn,” Musk said in the email. “We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription.”
One employee also said at the staff meeting that Musk appeared to downplay employee concerns about how a pared-back Twitter workforce was handling its obligations to maintain privacy and data security standards.
Musk’s memo and staff meeting echoed a livestreamed conversation on Wednesday in which he tried to assuage the concerns of major advertisers and made his most expansive public comments about Twitter’s direction since he closed the $44bn deal to buy the platform late last month and dismissed its top executives.
The departures compound the issues plaguing the social media platform since Musk bought it. Musk’s takeover and the resultant confusing back-and-forth on product launches and content moderation policies have led many brands including General Mills to pause ad buys on Twitter – a development the billionaire attempted to rectify in the live stream for advertisers. The duo leading the live stream, Roth and Wheeler, have now both left the company.
“So the two people Elon brought forward to talk with advertisers in an attempt to convince them to keep partnering with the company just quit,” tweeted Rashad Robinson, the president of Color of Change. “Companies that stay with Twitter at this point will be tied to these dangerous and unhinged policy changes.” (The Guardian)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro … These sped up clips are posted to encourage others to be creative, to take advantage of the technology many of us already have and to use it to produce satire. Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comforted.