Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter is off to a rocky start. Musk’s control over Twitter entered its third week. And with it came hints of bankruptcy.
The billionaire laid bare a delicate financial future for the social media platform.
It comes amid a mass exodus of top privacy and security executives. The day that Musk addressed employees for the first time is the day that departures began. Musk told his employees “bankruptcy isn’t out of the question.”
Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity who had been deputized to publicly address concerns advertisers and users had about the platform, is the latest to leave the company.
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.”
The downer of an email and the depressing staff meeting echoed a live stream conversation that took place earlier this week during which Musk tried to assuage the concerns of big advertisers. He made his most expansive public comments about the direction of the company since he bought it and fired 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.