Elon Musk has been making headline after headline — for all the wrong reasons — after taking over Twitter for a cool $44 billion.
The eccentric billionaire sparked global outrage after aggressively firing thousands of employees, has hinted that controversial banned Twitter users like Donald Trump may be able to return to the platform under his watch, and has already hoarded a slew of celebrities and advertisers from the platform see escape.
Balenciaga Quits Twitter As Exodus Grows
Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has joined the throng of big brands fleeing the social media platform amid the ongoing chaos since Musk’s takeover.
Although the brand hasn’t shared any specific details, it has confirmed that it has deleted its Twitter account.
It comes after a number of major advertisers turned their backs on the site, including General Motors, Volkswagen, Pfizer and General Mills.
Many other companies have deactivated their accounts, including theater leader Playbill, who tweeted late last week, “Because of its tolerance of hate, negativity and misinformation, our time with the social media platform has come to an end.”
Twitter’s blue tick disaster
For years, certain Twitter accounts — such as those of celebrities, public figures, and corporations — sported a famous blue tick, indicating the accounts were genuine and verified to prevent identity theft.
Shortly after acquiring the social media giant, however, Musk launched Twitter Blue, which the platform described as a “premium subscription service that increases the quality of conversations on Twitter” via an “opt-in, paid monthly subscription that offers a blue.” Adds,” described Checkmarks in your account, and provides early access to select new features like Edit Tweet.
In short, the service gave anyone willing to pay $8 a month the once coveted blue tick — which can be easily canceled at any time — and almost immediately the chaos began.
Twitter was soon inundated with fake accounts parodying companies and well-known figures such as George W. Bush, Pope Francis, and even Musk himself.
And while the majority were simple pranks, many ended up having very real and dire consequences.
Among the jokes were a number of accounts posing as big corporations, such as pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co, Nintendo, Tesla, and arms company Lockheed Martin.
And a series of fake tweets from these companies caused a major stock crash.
One of the biggest was caused by a fake Eli Lilly & Co account tweeting: “We are pleased to announce that insulin is now free”.
That “announcement” immediately sent the company’s stock price down a whopping 4.37 percent, or $16.08, as most of its revenue comes from insulin sales.
This represented a staggering loss of around $15 billion to the company’s market value and prompted a frenzied tweet from the real company account informing the public that the first tweet was false.
But Eli Lilly wasn’t the only victim.
Similarly, arms maker Lockheed Martin was targeted by a troll account that claimed the company had halted arms sales to the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel to “conduct further investigations into human rights abuses.”
In that tweet, the company’s share price plummeted 5.5 percent, taking nearly $7 billion in market value.
Twitter’s wild scramble
As the chaos unfolded, Twitter was forced to halt the Twitter Blue service as moderators struggled to keep up with the onslaught of fake tweets and accounts.
But whether that’s enough to keep global companies and celebrities on the platform remains to be seen.
Since then, reports have surfaced suggesting that in the rush to launch Twitter Blue, Twitter failed to follow its own risk assessment process, nor did it integrate proper content moderation tools.
We also know that about half of the Twitter workforce has already been laid off, suggesting these issues are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.
At the same time, advertisers have already fled Twitter in the wake of Musk’s takeover, leading many to brand the unfolding situation as the “perfect storm” of conditions that could seriously limit Twitter’s future, which was already in doubt since it didn’t was profitable since 2017, with Musk himself warning that it could soon go bankrupt.
And it all adds up to a far less appealing platform for everyday users that leads the way Those of The Verge Elizabeth Lopatto to warn of a possible ‘death spiral’.
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