Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Solauren
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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EnterpriseSovereign wrote: 2022-11-21 09:16pm ‘It’s over’: Twitter France’s head quits amid layoffs.
Twitter has had a bumpy ride since the world’s richest person took charge. It has cut staff globally by about half, while Musk has raised the possibility of the social media platform going bankrupt.
Is this is what Musk was aiming for after he was forced to sell?

If Twitter declares bankruptcy, can he write off the purchase of it as a personal loss? 44 Billion (or more) in loses has to have an effect on his taxes.
I've been asked why I still follow a few of the people I know on Facebook with 'interesting political habits and view points'.

It's so when they comment on or approve of something, I know what pages to block/what not to vote for.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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No way in hell does Musk pay enough in taxes for that to be worth it
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Remember to look at the date on this article.

Elon Musk says Twitter is done with layoffs and ready to hire again
Twitter had nearly 7,500 employees before Musk took over. Now it has about 2,700.
By ALEX HEATH / @alexeheath

Nov 22, 2022, 11:50 AM GMT+13


After purging nearly two-thirds of Twitter’s 7,500-person workforce in three weeks, Elon Musk is hiring again.

During an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees today, Musk said that the company is done with layoffs and actively recruiting for roles in engineering and sales and that employees are encouraged to make referrals, according to two people who attended and a partial recording obtained by The Verge. His comments were made the same day that an unspecified wave of cuts hit Twitter’s sales department, which has lost almost all of its senior leadership since Musk took over.

Musk didn’t specify the kinds of engineering or sales roles Twitter was hiring for, and the company doesn’t currently have any open roles listed on its website. “In terms of critical hires, I would say people who are great at writing software are the highest priority,” he said during the meeting. The Verge reported last week that Twitter recruiters were already reaching out to engineers asking them to join “Twitter 2.0 — an Elon company.”

Monday’s all-hands meeting was the first time that Twitter’s employees heard from Musk since he required them all to opt into staying for his “extremely hardcore” cultural reset, which led to roughly 1,000 resignations last week. While fielding employee questions for about a half-hour from Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, Musk said there are “no plans” to move Twitter’s headquarters to Texas like he did with Tesla, but that it could make sense to be “dual-headquartered” in California and Texas.

“If we want to move the headquarters to Texas I think it would play into the idea that Twitter has gone from being left-wing to right-wing, which is not the case,” he told employees. “This is not a right-wing takeover of Twitter. It is a moderate-wing takeover of Twitter.”

Musk went on to say that, “to be the digital town square, we must represent people with a wide array of views even if we disagree with those views.” (He didn’t address his firings of dozens of employees for posting tweets and Slack messages criticizing him over the last couple of weeks.)

He acknowledged that his ongoing reorganization of the company will “have a lot of mistakes” but “stabilize over time.” In response to one employee question, he said that “significant portions of the technology stack need to be rebuilt from scratch,” and at another point in the meeting he suggested it would be a good idea to “somewhat decentralize[] things” by setting up engineering teams in Japan, India, Indonesia, and Brazil.

Twitter’s historically strong usage in Japan was specifically called out by Musk as what the company should aspire to “ideally in every country without exception.”

“It may seem as though Twitter is US-centric but if anything it’s Japan-centric,” he said. “There are roughly the same number of daily active users in Japan as there are in the US, despite the fact that Japan has one third of the population of the US.”

In response to a question about employee compensation, Musk reiterated that employees will be given stock options in Twitter and be able to cash them out regularly like at SpaceX, his other company that is also privately held. “The way things work at SpaceX to get liquidity is that every six months there’s a liquidity event where the company buys back shares and we also invite new investors to buy shares,” he said. “And we’ll be able to operate Twitter in the same way.”

Anyone entering Twitter now will work in a much smaller company than it was before Musk took over. While the exact number of departures under his watch is unclear, there were nearly 7,400 people with access to Twitter’s internal systems before he laid off about half the company. That number, which excludes the thousands of outside contractors Musk also cut, has since fallen to just over 2,700 people as of press time, according to two people who have seen the numbers.

The departures have included long-tenured engineers, some with more than a decade of experience at the company, as well as a growing list of corporate leaders. Twitter’s CEO, CFO, and chief legal officer were all removed on Musk’s first day. Twitter’s top advertising and content partnership leaders have either resigned or been fired. And multiple “critical” teams were completely gutted by the layoffs and resignations, according to current and former employees.

Twitter doesn’t have a press department to contact for comment.
I wonder how bad the serious applications will be.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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And how much over the odds Elon is having to pay to attract any interest.
It's no use debating a moron; they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience. Intelligent argument is wasted on the stupid.

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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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As someone pointed out, you can pretty freely lie on your resume about experience working at Twitter now because no one is going to be available for them to verify or deny it.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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CHEAPSKATE ELON MUSK REFUSING TO PAY BILLS AT TWITTER
"ELON HAS SHOWN THAT HE CARES ONLY ABOUT RECOUPING THE LOSSES HE'S INCURRING AS A RESULT OF FAILING TO GET OUT OF HIS BINDING OBLIGATION TO BUY TWITTER."

Bills to the Bin

After demanding verified Twitter users pay a monthly fee to keep their checkmarks, the social media platform's new CEO Elon Musk is reportedly refusing to pay up on some of his company's own bills, according to The New York Times.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses and even office space have gone unpaid, according to the newspaper. Musk's loyal staff have been shrinking away from the phone calls of travel vendors looking for their money, leaving them unanswered.

It's one of many dubious methods Musk has adopted to balance the budget at a company he's paid far too much for, at a sum of around $44 billion. Culling half of Twitter's 7,500 workforce just weeks into his reign and continuing to fire employees that have voiced criticism, the richest man in the world has had no qualms with adopting either the most ruthless or most frivolous methods of saving an extra buck.

"Elon has shown that he cares only about recouping the losses he's incurring as a result of failing to get out of his binding obligation to buy Twitter," an employee wrote on the company's Slack, as quoted by NYT.

Scrooge CEO

If the confidential sources are to be believed, Musk is also withholding money from other outside vendors, including not paying leases on the company's office spaces.

Twitter's philanthropic projects, now gutted of employees, have gotten the short end of the stick, too. Donations to several non-profits which relied on the company's supposed goodwill are now nowhere to be seen since Musk's takeover.

Some other cost-saving targets include Twitter's computing infrastructure, its cafeteria, free lunches, and certain pieces of real estate.

Perhaps Musk's most petty move is the cancellation of corporate credit cards given to employees. As a result, some have turned to their personal cards to cover travel expenses, but they worry that Musk won't reimburse them afterwards.

Shocking as this may be to outside observers, and especially to many Twitter employees, this is pretty much the norm for how Musk takes over companies. He's worried Twitter might go bankrupt under his leadership, but even if it doesn't, he's certainly not winning many hearts and minds, or the trust of advertisers.
I wonder how long it will be before those vendors start cutting off service due to Twitter's unpaid bills. Then things will get more expensive.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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I'm betting he didn't know those bills weren't paid. After all, didn't the Financial Office quit en masse?
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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That's possible.

I've seen some people saying that he's threatening to have Tesla and SpaceX switch suppliers if those suppliers won't give Twitter a discount. I don't have any links about that yet.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Ralin wrote: 2022-11-21 11:04pm No way in hell does Musk pay enough in taxes for that to be worth it
Can't you carry unused loses forward to later years?
I've been asked why I still follow a few of the people I know on Facebook with 'interesting political habits and view points'.

It's so when they comment on or approve of something, I know what pages to block/what not to vote for.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Solauren wrote: 2022-11-23 03:31pm Can't you carry unused loses forward to later years?
I don't think anyone pays enough in taxes for that to be worth it. Certainly not a billionaire.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Ralin wrote: 2022-11-23 05:30pm
Solauren wrote: 2022-11-23 03:31pm Can't you carry unused loses forward to later years?
I don't think anyone pays enough in taxes for that to be worth it. Certainly not a billionaire.
He'd never have to pay taxes again.

Hell, can loses be turned into a refund?
I've been asked why I still follow a few of the people I know on Facebook with 'interesting political habits and view points'.

It's so when they comment on or approve of something, I know what pages to block/what not to vote for.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Musk breaks promise to form Twitter moderation panel, blames activists
Activists say they would never make such a deal with Musk.
ASHLEY BELANGER - 11/24/2022, 5:50 AM


When “Chief Twit” Elon Musk launched a poll to decide whether to reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account, many wondered what happened to Musk’s plan to form a "widely diverse" content moderation council to help him weigh any decisions to reverse permabans. He had announced that plan after meeting with civil rights groups earlier this month but had never mentioned it since. It took four days of Trump not tweeting before Musk finally provided an update on that oversight council that he never formed.

In a tweet seemingly blaming activists for Twitter’s advertising woes, Musk claimed that he had only promised to form the council on the condition that activists promised to stop pushing advertisers to boycott his platform.

“A large coalition of political/social activist groups agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of advertising revenue if I agreed to this condition,” Musk tweeted. “They broke the deal.”

Some activists who attended the meeting tweeted to confirm that they never made such a deal with Musk, including Free Press co-CEO Jessica Gonzalez, who helped drive a #StopToxicTwitter coalition pressuring Twitter's top 20 advertisers to boycott the platform.

“Not sure who Musk is talking about here, but I met with him a few weeks ago with civil rights leaders, and I also co-lead the #StopToxicTwitter coalition that is calling on advertisers to pause ads until he rights the ship,” Gonzalez tweeted. “I never made any such deal.”

NAACP President Derrick Johnson backed Gonzalez in his own tweet denying activists made a deal with Musk.

“We would never make such a deal,” Johnson tweeted. “Democracy always comes first. The decisions being made at Twitter are dangerous, and it is our duty, as it has been since our founding, to speak out against threats to our democracy. Hate speech and violent conspiracies can have no safe harbor.”

When Ars previously reported on the meeting between Musk and activists, it was immediately clear that Gonzalez planned to continue promoting the #StopToxicTwitter campaign. Gonzalez said at that time that Musk’s promises, including forming a council to review content decisions, were "just the beginning of a long process” to hold Twitter accountable for upholding community standards.

Johnson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but Gonzalez told Ars that Musk is using activists as a scapegoat for his own poor decision-making regarding brand safety.

"Musk is losing advertisers because he’s acted irresponsibly, slashing content moderation teams that help keep brands safe and gutting the very sales teams responsible for maintaining relationships with advertisers,” Gonzalez told Ars. “The main person responsible for the Twitter advertiser exodus is Elon Musk.”

Twitter shut down its communications department and could not be reached for comment.

Twitter now losing too many advertisers

Meanwhile, Musk’s struggles to retain advertisers as a critical Twitter revenue stream has apparently reached a breaking point.

The Washington Post conducted a brand data analysis on Twitter and reported that Musk “can’t afford to lose any more” advertisers. Fourteen of Twitter’s top 50 advertisers have pulled out, including Jeep and Mars, which The Post said were two of Twitter’s top ad investors in the six months before Musk took over Twitter. Other brands the Post reported as halting Twitter ads include Kellogg, Verizon, Merck, and Samuel Adams Boston Brewery.

Only Mars provided The Post with a statement. That statement seems to back Gonzalez’s logic that brands are leaving Twitter, not because of her pressure campaign, but because of brand safety concerns.

“Mars started suspending advertising activities on Twitter in late September when we learned of some significant brand safety and suitability incidents that impacted our brand,” Mars said in a statement.

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM), which describes itself as “an advertiser-led cross-industry effort to remove harmful content from ad-supported digital media” had previously warned Musk in a statement that “brand safety is non-negotiable for advertisers.”

GARM did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment on why brands might be exiting Twitter now.

There’s also some evidence to support Gonzalez’s claim that it’s Musk himself—and not just his abrupt changes to Twitter workforce, infrastructure, and policies—that is partly to blame for advertisers fleeing.

According to the Post, advertisers have pointed to Musk’s “personal tweeting habits” as problematic to risk-averse brands that are confused by Musk’s stance on “free speech absolutism.” When Twitter’s former head of brand safety, Yoel Roth, left Twitter, he said in a New York Times op-ed that “advertisers have played the most direct role thus far in moderating Mr. Musk’s free speech ambitions,” even prompting Musk to go back on his own free speech promise to reduce banned content by “censoring more content, not less.”

It's easy to see why Musk could be frustrated with being told what to do when the feedback might feel so personal. Roth suggested Musk was already pushing to diminish control that advertisers had over how Musk manages brand safety.

“It’s perhaps for this reason that Mr. Musk has said he wants to move away from ads as Twitter’s primary revenue source: His ability to make decisions unilaterally about the site’s future is constrained by a marketing industry he neither controls nor has managed to win over,” Roth said, explaining that “Musk has made clear that at the end of the day, he’ll be the one calling the shots.”

Another aspect of this conundrum that is out of Musk's control is the advertising market itself. The Post reported that brands were already decreasing advertising across the board due to the recession. Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to pull out of because it's a platform typically associated with brand awareness, rather than direct sales.

Gonzalez told Ars that Musk could possibly regain some control by making different choices.

“He could have maintained and enforced content policies and teams,” Gonzalez told Ars. “Instead, he’s instituted chaos. That chaos is bad for public health and safety, civil and human rights, and democracy. And it’s unpopular with advertisers. Our organizations are fighting for the safety of our communities, because we see time and again that when horrific lies spread about our people, we are then targeted with violence. We are well within our First Amendment rights to raise these concerns."
At least anyone who thought that the moderation council might help now knows it won't. Which means I'm expecting more advertisers to flee.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Happy Thanksgiving from Musk:

Elon Musk fires dozens of engineers on Thanksgiving Eve
On the evening before Thanksgiving, Elon Musk fired around 50 engineers and put dozens of others on final notice, according to Zoé Schiffer of Platformer.

The emails sent to the engineers were apparently unsigned and stated that "as a result of the recent code review exercise, it has been determined that your code is not satisfactory, and we regret to inform you that your employment with Twitter is terminated effective immediately."

Schiffer later reported that among those fired was "Ying Xiao, a senior staff ML research scientist. One colleague described him as 'the best ML modeler' around."

Casey Newton, also of Platformer, tweeted that another of those fired was "Ikuhiro Ihara, a highly respected senior software engineer who helped lead the push to expand tweets to 280 characters."

Now-former Twitter infrastructure engineer Yiwei Zhuang posted on LinkedIn that those laid off included people currently on parental leave, and that he now has 60 days to start another job because of his visa – a task further complicated by the holiday period.

Alex Heath of The Verge tweeted that the fired engineers were offered four weeks of pay, two months less than those who did not click the "Yes" option to join "extremely hardcore" Twitter 2.0 last week.

Three days ago, Musk is reported to have told Twitter staff that he was done with layoffs.
Twitter is hiring, but the layoffs continue.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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‘Opening the gates of hell’: Musk says he will revive banned accounts
The Twitter chief says he will reinstate accounts suspended for threats, harassment and misinformation beginning next week

By Taylor Lorenz
Updated November 24, 2022 at 6:14 p.m. EST|Published November 24, 2022 at 2:45 p.m. EST


Elon Musk plans to reinstate nearly all previously banned Twitter accounts — to the alarm of activists and online trust and safety experts.

After posting a Twitter poll asking, “Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” in which 72.4 percent of the respondents voted yes, Musk declared, “Amnesty begins next week.”

The Twitter CEO did not respond Thursday to a request for comment from The Washington Post. The poll garnered more than 3 million votes.

The mass return of users who had been banned for such offenses as violent threats, harassment and misinformation will have a significant impact on the platform, experts said. And many questioned how such a resurrection would be handled, given that it’s unclear what Musk means by “egregious spam” and the difficulty of separating out users who have “broken the law,” which vary widely by jurisdiction and country.

“Apple and Google need to seriously start exploring booting Twitter off the app store,” said Alejandra Caraballo, clinical instructor at Harvard Law’s cyberlaw clinic. “What Musk is doing is existentially dangerous for various marginalized communities. It’s like opening the gates of hell in terms of the havoc it will cause. People who engaged in direct targeted harassment can come back and engage in doxing, targeted harassment, vicious bullying, calls for violence, celebration of violence. I can’t even begin to state how dangerous this will be.”

This is the second time in a week that Musk has used a Twitter poll to seemingly make a major decision related to the platform. On Nov. 18, he restored former president Donald Trump’s account after 52 percent of a poll’s respondents said he should do so. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Musk tweeted, Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

On that day, he also unilaterally reinstated at least 11 high-profile far-right Twitter accounts, including Jordan Peterson, a professor who was banned from Twitter for misgendering a trans person, and the Babylon Bee, a conservative media company. He also restored Project Veritas, a site that was frequently accused of misrepresenting events it commented on and banned “for repeated violations of Twitter’s private information policy,” and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s personal account, which had been banned since January for violating the platform’s covid-19 misinformation policies and pushing violent and extreme rhetoric.

Experts say that bots and bad actors can easily skew the results of a Twitter poll, and so basing decisions on one is irresponsible. “A Twitter poll can be manipulated, there’s nothing scientific or rigorous in any way about what he’s doing,” said Sarah T. Roberts, an associate professor at UCLA and faculty director for UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, who previously worked at Twitter researching content moderation processes.

“Before Elon took over,” Roberts added, “there were entire teams of people who did market and user research, who followed rigorous protocols established to conduct this kind of research. Suddenly, he’s running Twitter off of completely unscientific polls that are polling unknown people, and certainly not any kind of demographically representative swath of people.”

Many predict the restoration of banned accounts will help bring on the “free-for-all hellscape” that Musk had promised advertisers would not come to pass shortly after he took possession of the platform.

“This would be a major disaster especially in Africa where State sponsored Ghost accounts were suspended for endangering human rights activists & journalists,” Hopewell Chin’ono, a journalist in Africa tweeted. “You would have allowed vile people to put our lives in danger as journalists! You will have blood on your hands @elonmusk.”

Whether Musk can do what the Twitter poll seeks is a matter of debate. He has laid off leaders of the trust and safety team, which would normally handle the logistics of reactivating the accounts. And separating out those who “broke the law” is entirely dependent on whether Twitter has detailed documentation for each suspension. Without such a legal filter, which would be dependent on state and local laws for each tweet, every account would require a thorough review, given how laws vary widely by country and region.

Madeleine Burkholder, a senior technical solutions engineer who has worked on consumer products managing spam, said Musk’s ask is nonsensical. “Egregious spamming is not a technical term,” she said, and most record keeping at major tech companies doesn’t include questions of local governmental legal codes. The norm is to simply note whether an account violated a company’s terms of service, which are rules set by the platform, not a government entity.

“It gets really hairy to pull these threads apart and figure out what the exact behavior was that led to their suspension,” Burkholder said. “Was it an innocent mistake? Was it malicious? How malicious was it? … Doing that on a single case is challenging, trying to do it for every account ever, you’re guaranteed to make mistakes.”

Angelo Carusone, chairman and president of Media Matters, a nonprofit advocacy group and media watchdog, said that Musk’s decision could mean bringing back networks of individuals that include the American Nazi Party and “a whole bunch of 8chan, 4chan, conspiracy theorists who engage in harassment and abuse.” 8chan and 4chan are two message boards known for their racist and antisemitic posts.

Reversing the suspensions would mean “turning Twitter into a one-stop shop for operationalizing doxing and harassment, and an engine of radicalization,” Carusone said. “It’s a red pill Pez dispenser.”

And quitting Twitter won’t keep you safe. “Even if you’re not on Twitter, you can still be the recipient of these campaigns,” he said. He predicted that public health officials, election officials, journalists and teachers will all be targeted.

“Conducting major moderation and enforcement decisions on a whim is troubling CEO behavior,” said Nora Benavidez, senior counsel and director of digital justice and civil rights at Free Press, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Musk, under the auspices of democracy, is legitimizing decisions that will have deeply dangerous consequences in the real world.”

Benavidez said that organizations including Free Press have spent years educating tech giants on complex trust and safety issues and “pressuring them to understand the really delicate and complex role they play in mitigating harm caused to real people.” If “general amnesty” is granted for the majority of suspended accounts, “It will be open season for people suspended for hate, harassment, disinformation, conspiracies and extremism,” Benavidez said. “It’s open season in the most dangerous ways.”

“You have journalists, activists in authoritarian regimes in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia who are now even at the mercy of even more vicious trolls with no ability to fight back,” said Caraballo. “It’s literally life or death for people.”

The lifting of the suspensions was especially troubling to LGBTQ activists, coming just days after a mass killing at the Club Q in Colorado Springs killed five and wounded 18. Several of the restored accounts had previously been suspended for hateful rhetoric toward the gay and trans community, and Musk has been criticized for replying to Tim Pool, a right-wing YouTube star who falsely claimed the club had hosted a “grooming event,” and other anti-LGBTQ accounts.

“It’s a slap in the face to LGBTQ people,” Caraballo said.

In the days after he took over Twitter, Musk initially promised not to change the site’s moderation policies and restore accounts until after he’d appointed a moderation council. But more recently Musk has backtracked on naming such a council and has laid off hundreds of the Twitter employees whose job it was to police posts on the site.

Dozens of Twitter’s advertisers have paused spending with the platform in the wake of Musk’s takeover, concerned about how his approach to content moderation might affect the site’s tone.
I doubt Twitter has any kind of mass unban button. So I wonder how long it's going to take the staff Twitter has left to unban all the people with views Musk wants unbanned. Even if he doesn't have anyone check if a user broke any laws before unbanning them.

Then there is the question of if this mass unbanning exposes Musk and/or Twitter to any criminal/civil liability.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

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Let's hope so :twisted: Not that they'd even know or expect it.

Twitter Loss of More Than Half of Lawyers Brings Expertise Worry.
Twitter Inc. has lost more than half of its in-house lawyers, including several senior attorneys, raising concerns about the depth of legal knowledge that remains within the company, five people familiar with the matter said.

The exits, which have come during Elon Musk’s tumultuous overhaul of the company, leave just two deputy general counsel in leadership roles—head of litigation James Baker and international legal chief Regina Lima, according to those people.

Most of Twitter’s legal group—a team cheekily known as “Tweagle” to those that worked within it over the years—have been fired, laid off, or exited with a severance package after choosing not to commit to Musk’s new “hardcore” work environment at the San Francisco-based company, the people said.

The exact number of lawyers remaining at Twitter remains unclear following Musk’s $44 billion takeover. The legal unit had 150 to 200 employees before the departures.

The loss of so many seasoned attorneys has led to concerns about whether enough legal expertise remains in-house, sources said. They question, for instance, whether remaining lawyers even know which outside law firms are handling certain matters.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner Alex Spiro, a personal lawyer to Musk who is the top lawyer at the company for now, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The legal departures are among a wave of thousands at Twitter, with Musk laying off more workers from the sales side, Bloomberg News reported. An internal employee count read 2,750, Bloomberg reported Nov. 21, citing a person familiar with the matter. Twitter had more than 7,000 workers before Musk took over.

Twitter Exits
Among the departed are Tina Hwang, a deputy general counsel for product legal and intellectual property. Along with Baker, Hwang was poised to become co-legal chief under a plan put in place by former general counsel Sean Edgett, who Musk fired last month along with chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde.

Other legal employees leaving the company—either via termination or resignation—this month include chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty and chief privacy officer Damien Kieran, who also held the role of deputy general counsel.

Kevin Cope, a deputy general counsel for corporate, employment, and mergers and acquisitions, resigned from Twitter last week, said four people familiar with the matter. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Other departures include Kristin Manley, a former head of legal for marketing, music, content and creator partnerships. She was set to take over European Union law work for the company before being laid off this month.

European Union regulators have warned Twitter that the company faces scrutiny over its compliance with local laws.

Twitter’s top lawyer in India, Kapil Chaudhary, who was hired last year as the company sought to address legal issues on the subcontinent, has also left.

Quinn Emanuel’s Spiro sought to reassure Twitter staffers fearful of going to jail should the company be unable to comply with a consent decree it has with the US Federal Trade Commission, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.

The FTC, which has expressed “deep concern” about personnel cuts at Twitter, can levy hefty penalties and fines against the company for non-compliance. Twitter paid a $150 million fine for one such breach this year. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati represented the company in that matter.

Legal Challenges
Even prior to Musk’s purchase of Twitter, the company was already coping with a series of departures, including several seasoned legal veterans.

The most senior in-house attorneys left at the company are Baker, a former general counsel of the FBI hired by Twitter in 2020, and Lima, the international legal head who recently relocated to the US, the people familiar said.

Baker and Lima didn’t respond to requests for comment.

As for outside firms that have been doing work for Twitter, Perkins Coie has represented the company on data privacy and litigation-related matters. The firm handled more than 25% of Twitter’s litigation in US federal courts within the last five years, Bloomberg Law data shows.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr had a role on more than 18% of such cases. Cooley, Haynes and Boone, and Wilson Sonsini all had less than 10% of the company’s US federal caseload.

Looking for hardcore streetfighters, not white-shoe lawyers like Perkins or Cooley who thrive on corruption.

There will be blood.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2022
Musk’s well-documented issues with Cooley and Perkins Coie, who he has publicly attacked on Twitter, could eventually lead the company to part ways with both firms.

Musk himself has a track record of cycling through in-house legal chiefs and gravitating toward counsel that share his personality.

Twitter has retained at least one new firm since Musk took over.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius filed an appearance last week in a lawsuit filed against the company by employees led by Emmanuel “Manu” Cornet. A former Twitter software engineer, Cornet alleges he was fired for helping his co-workers prepare for layoffs.

Twitter and its lawyers from Morgan Lewis asked a federal judge Tuesday to send the putative class action case against Twitter to individual arbitration.
It's no use debating a moron; they drag you down to their level then beat you with experience. Intelligent argument is wasted on the stupid.

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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bilateralrope »

Sounds like the lawyers are fleeing to avoid having to deal with the impending, unwinnable, lawsuits Twitter will be facing. Or being fired for telling Musk the truth about how much trouble he's put Twitter/himself in.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bobalot »

Musk himself has a track record of cycling through in-house legal chiefs and gravitating toward counsel that share his personality
.

The strategy of only hiring sycophantic suck ups.

I'm sure this will end well.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bilateralrope »

Senior Irish Twitter executive secures temporary High Court injunction against termination of employment
Updated / Friday, 25 Nov 2022 23:17

An Irish-based senior executive with Twitter has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing the social networking giant from terminating her employment.

The order was secured by Sinead McSweeney, who is Twitter's Global Vice President for Public Policy.

She claims that by not responding to a generic and vague email sent to all Twitter employees by its owner multi–billionaire Elon Musk earlier this month, she has been treated as if she is no longer employed by the company.

She claims that while the company informed her that she had accepted an exit package, Ms McSweeney says she did not resign.

She has been locked out of Twitter's Dublin office and its internal IT systems, including her company email account.

The court heard that solicitors' letters on her behalf were sent to Twitter's lawyers acknowledged to her that she had no intention to resign, confirmed that her commitment to her work "had never been questioned," that said her access to the IT systems would be restored.

Ms McSweeney, however, says that while that communication was welcome, she is concerned about her job because of the "mixed messages" she had been getting from both Mr Musk himself and his senior US-based associates since the company takeover.

She says that despite the communication from the company she remains locked out of both the IT systems and Twitter's Dublin office.

She was also unable to attend a scheduled meeting at the Dublin office as she was unable to access the building, leaving her embarrassed, humiliated and upset.

She claims that she is currently "unable to work" and now fears that the company has "resigned me" contrary to the terms of her employment.

She claims that despite her contractual entitlements the defendant cannot be trusted.

Mr Musk, she claims, has since the takeover been running the company "in an unorthodox manner" and has been rehiring and firing "with no apparent logic" in a manner she claims is unlawful.

At the High Court this afternoon Mr Justice Brian O'Moore granted Ms McSweeney an interim injunction preventing Twitter International Unlimited Company from terminating her contract of employment.

The injunction, which was granted on an ex-parte basis, also restrains Twitter from applying the terms of an email sent to her on 16 November last by Mr Musk, to her contract or condition of employment.

She further secured an order restraining Twitter from communicating to any third party or publishing any information to convey that her employment with the company has been in any way altered since the 15 November last.

The orders are to remain in place until further order of the court.

'No man's land'

Mr Justice O'Moore said that based on the information put before the court, he was satisfied to make the temporary injunction sought.

The judge noted that it is Ms McSweeney's case that despite the correspondence from Twitter's lawyers she now finds herself in "no man's land" in relation to her employment.

The judge said that he was not satisfied at this stage of the proceedings to make an order directing Twitter to reinstate her to her role so she could get access to Twitter's officers and IT systems, as such an order was mandatory in nature.

Represented by Frank Beatty SC, instructed by solicitor Adrian Twomey.

Ms McSweeney said while she had no difficulty "putting my shoulder to the wheel" during a hectic period for Twitter she said work has become difficult since the takeover.

In a sworn statement to the court Ms McSweeney said that she had often worked over the 40 hours per week as required under her contract.

Since Twitter's takeover she said her workload has significantly increased to over 75 hours a week because many Twitter employed have been summarily dismissed.

Ms McSweeney said she is a widow and the mother of a teenage son.

She said in her statement that she has held discussions with Mr Musk himself and some of his senior associates about the company's future and, in particular about cost reduction, reducing members of staff in her section as well as elsewhere in the company.

She said while cuts were sought in her area of responsibility, she had a telephone conversation with Elon Musk on 13 November last where she claims he said that any excellent staff who had been let go should be reinstated.

She said he added that that the criteria for re-instatement was "that the individual was excellent, performing a critical role" and was "not negative."

She said "he accepted that people could be talented but might impact the team negatively and he stated that he did not want a**holes".

She said in her statement that she was "temporarily reassured" by what Mr Musk said but said two days later she was informed by an email on behalf of an associate of Mr Musk that a decision had been taken to reduce the size of Twitter's Public Policy team by 20%.

In the email sent by Mr Musk on 16 November last, the billionaire said that "Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasing competitive world we will need to be extremely hardcore".

"This will mean working long hours at high intensity," he said.

"Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.

"Twitter will also be much more engineering driven, design and product management will still be very important and report to me, but those writing great code will constitute the majority of our and have the greatest sway.

"At its heart Twitter is a software and server's company, so I think this makes sense."

The email asked employees if "you are sure that you want to be part of the new Twitter please click yes on the link provided."

"Anyone who had not done so" by 17 November "will receive three months of severance".

"Whatever decision you make thank you for your efforts to make Twitter successful," the message concluded.

She claims that arising out of the email she and other employees were offered "exit packages" based on which location they were based.

Due to the lack of clarity over several issues concerning her contract of employment, which were of concern to her and other workers, Ms McSweeney said that she did not click "Yes".

She said that the exit package did not meet her contractual entitlements, and for those who wished to remain with Twitter the terms and conditions in relation to what Mr Musk expected of them was not set out in the document.

She said that Mr Musk said that he expected staff to work from the office so employees can "do their jobs at the highest level" and during normal office working hours.

She had no problem with working hard hours but was not prepared to commit to an indeterminable expectation where she said information about changes to her benefits had not been given.

She said that she discovered on 18 November that she had been locked out of Twitter's IT system and got an email to her personal account acknowledging her "voluntary resignation" and had agreed to her severance.

She claims that she is being treated as if she has left the company, and remains locked out.

This, it is claimed has left her no choice other than to seek an injunction.

The matter will return before the court's next week.
I'm expecting Musk to try ignoring this injunction. It won't go well for him.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bilateralrope »

More trouble for Twitter in Europe:

Twitter layoffs trigger oversight risk warning from Brussels
Natasha Lomas@riptari / 10:24 AM GMT+13•November 25, 2022

In another move that’s being frowned upon by European Union regulators, Elon Musk-owned Twitter has closed its Brussels office per a report in the Financial Times — citing sources with knowledge of the departures.

Staffers in the office were focused on European Union digital policy, working in close proximity to the seat of power of EU’s executive, the European Commission — an entity with an ongoing role in EU lawmaking. The Commission will also soon take on a major new oversight role for the bloc’s updated digital rulebook, the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Given the obviously strategic function of the Brussels office, its termination could be interpreted as either a major strategic blunder by Musk, if he’s failed to understand the importance of having an policy presence at the heart of the EU to influence lawmakers and law enforcers — or a very obvious (and intentional) snub to the bloc and its regulations that signals bad news ahead for Twitter’s compliance with regional laws.

Either way, the Commission does not appear to be taking the development lying down.

In fresh remarks today, following the latest Twitter layoff revelations — and following a visit by an EU commissioner to Twitter’s Dublin office (which does, for now, still exist) — the EU’s executive has given the clearest indication yet that it could appoint itself as overseer of the bird site’s compliance with the incoming DSA.

If that happens, Musk’s regulatory risk in Europe will really take flight. So the stand-off is real.

Bye bye Brussels?

According to the FT, the last two remaining Twitter public policy staffers, Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa — who its reporting says were in charge of the company’s digital policy in Europe — departed Twitter last week, resulting in the Brussels office being entirely disbanded.

Since Musk took over the social media firm, Twitter’s comms team has not responded to press requests seeking comment so it was not possible to obtain an official confirmation of the closure of the office.

We were also unable to reach either Mozer or La Nasa at the time of writing to confirm the FT’s reporting. Neither appear to have tweeted about leaving the company — nor updated their LinkedIn profiles to announce a change of job as yet.

The newspaper reports that other Twitter policy staffers left the small Brussels office at the start of the month — as part of an earlier global headcount cull by Musk, who reportedly moved to slash 50% of jobs earlier this month. Further smaller layoffs have followed.

Last week, Politico reported that another Brussels-based Twitter staffer, Stephen Turner — who, per his LinkedIn profile, had worked at the company for over six years, most recently as Twitter’s EU public policy director — was among the employees laid off by Musk.

Turner tweeted Monday week that he had “officially retired from Twitter”. “From starting the office in Brussels to building an awesome team it has been an amazing ride,” he added, describing himself as “privileged and honoured” to have worked with “the best colleagues” and “great partners”.

Turner could not confirm any more recent departures from his former office but he was able to tell us there had been a total of six staff working in Brussels prior to Musk’s Twitter takeover — only two of whom were left when he departed last week (which aligns with the FT’s reporting of no Brussels office left following the departures of the last remaining employees).

So, er, the big question now is WTF happens next for Twitter’s ability to engage with EU rules?

The Brussels-based European Commission will shortly begin overseeing regulation of large Internet platforms under the incoming DSA — a major update to the bloc’s digital rulebook that will definitely apply to Twitter. Although the company could — and perhaps, on paper, should — avoid centralized enforcement by the Commission itself which is supposed to take on that role only for so-called very large online platforms (aka VLOPs), with more than 45M users in the region. (Otherwise the job falls to authorities within EU member states — or to a lead authority in the case of a business having a main establishment in the EU.)

But large-scale layoffs at Twitter have led to rising concern at the Commission and among other EU regulators that it will be unable to comply with major EU laws — covering areas like illegal content removals (as the DSA does) or data protection (under the General Data Protection Regulation; GDPR). Which is driving Brussels to adopt a more aggressive tone toward Twitter.

Earlier this month, Twitter’s lead data protection regulator in the EU — Ireland’s Data Protection Commission — also sought a meeting with the company after a trio of senior compliance staff resigned. But, for now, EU data protection authorities appear to be keeping their powder dry and opting to monitor developments.

There’s more, though. Twitter is signed up to two voluntary EU codes, established by the Commission — starting back in 2016 — one to combat the spread of online hate speech; and a separate code focused on fighting online disinformation.

Under Musk, Twitter’s compliance with commitments its prior leadership made under the latter disinformation code already look like a joke, as we’ve discussed before.

While, today, the Commission released details of the seventh evaluation of the Code of Conduct on countering illegal hate speech online — which it said shows a general slow-down of progress across almost all signatories compared to the last two annual reviews. Including at Twitter.

Twitter’s performance was among those that declined vs reviews in 2021 and 2020, with the evaluation finding the company removed 45.4% and 49.8% of illegal content reported to it (so a drop of 4.4 percentage points in takedowns) — although it’s worth noting that this assessment took place between 28 March and 13 May 2022, which was prior to Musk’s takeover (which closed at the end of October). So it remains to be seen whether Musk’s approach will boost Twitter’s performance on hate speech takedowns or accelerate this slide.

Coincidentally (or not), he tweeted yesterday to claim a big reduction in hate speech impressions — which he suggested are “down by a third” vs the levels seen during a recent surge immediately after he took over the platform. So it’s a rather qualified brag tbh.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether independent evaluations stand up or knock down Musk’s hype about his own impact on purging hate speech.

The next Commission review of the EU’s hate speech Code isn’t officially scheduled to take place for another year — although the EU said today that it plans to talk with signatories (or at least those who will meet with it) to encourage “implementations” that support compliance with the incoming DSA which it also noted might lead to a revision of the Code of Conduct in the course of 2023. So Musk’s actions (or inaction) will very likely be shaping outcomes here.

Regulators buckle up

It’s clear that disruptions at a number of major tech platforms are causing growing concern in Brussels that its regulators are in for a bumpy ride.

“I am concerned about the news of firing such a vast amount of staff of Twitter in Europe,” Věra Jourová, the EU’s vice-president in charge of compliance with the code on disinformation, told the FT. “If you want to effectively detect and take action against disinformation and propaganda, this requires resources. Especially in the context of Russian disinformation warfare, I expect Twitter to fully respect the EU law and honour its commitments. Twitter has been a very useful partner in the fight against disinformation and illegal hate speech and this must not change.”

Earlier this week, the Irish Times also reported that the EU’s justice commissioner, Didier Reynders, would be meeting with Twitter and Meta officials in Dublin following major layoff announcement at both companies. And he briefed the newspaper that tech firms risk big fines if they fail to comply with the bloc’s rules.

Tweeting today, following his meeting with Twitter, Reynders reiterated that its recent layoffs are “a source of concern” for the EU. He also said he had used the meeting to “underline” the Commission’s expectation that Twitter will comply with both its voluntary commitments (under the aforementioned codes) and with legal requirements attached to EU laws like the GDPR and the DSA.

“We have always been clear that we expect online platforms to comply with their obligations and commitments under EU law and rules,” a Commission spokesperson also told us when we sought comment on Twitter layoffs earlier this week.

Following Reynders meeting with Twitter today, the Commission issued further remarks — and dialled up its rhetoric.

In what looks like a direct shot across Twitter’s bows, vis-a-vis its DSA risk — and the clearest signal yet that the Commission will designate Twitter a very large online platform (aka VLOP) and oversee its compliance in Brussels — it said: “For those platforms that the Commission will designate as very large online platforms, the risk management obligations also include a strong component on the appropriateness of the resources allocated to managing societal risks in the Union. Among other matters, the Commission will scrutinise the appropriateness of the expertise and resources allocated, as well as the way they organise their compliance function.”

For “appropriateness of the expertise and resources allocated” read: ‘Shuttering local offices and canning EU staff will be frowned upon — hard.’

“All companies who offer their services in the Union will have to comply with the rules in the DSA,” the Commission also reiterated.

“We believe that ensuring sufficient staff is necessary for a platform to respond effectively to the challenges of content moderation, which are particularly complex in the field of hate speech. We expect platforms to ensure the appropriate resources to deliver on their commitments,” it added, pointing to the latest assessment of platforms’ actions under the hate speech code and the “slowdown in progress for most of the participating companies, including Twitter” as a “worrying trend”.

One remaining regional Twitter policy staffer tweeted a thank you to Reynders after his visit. Dublin-based Karen White, whose Twitter biog lists her as “head of public policy for EMEA”, also wrote: “We appreciate the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the DSA and tackling hate speech, as well as continuing our engagement with long-time EU partners.”

Collision course

On any standard business logic playbook, Twitter choosing this moment to shutter its Brussels policy office looks baffling — as it means the firm won’t have a local presence to lobby for its interests as lawmakers-cum-regulators take major decisions that will affect its business and could result in expensive outcomes like big fines coming down the pipe.

What Twitter does next with its Dublin office will be one to watch — so whether staff there will face further layoffs. Or — on the flip side — whether Dublin will become Musk’s chosen hub for responding to all EU regulatory matters in an attempt (likely futile) to sideline the Commission.

Musk cannot necessarily pick his preferred EU regulatory hub, either.

Earlier this month, a well-placed source suggested Twitter is already in breach of “main establishment” requirements under the GDPR’s one-stop-shop mechanism — which (currently) enables it to streamline oversight by dealing with a single privacy regulator in Ireland — rather than facing a regulatory free-for-all with any data protection authority across the EU competent to raise concerns affecting local users and pursue enforcement in its own market. (Which could lead to multiple fines being fired at it from privacy regulators around the EU.)

At the meeting with its lead privacy regulator last week, Twitter told the Irish DPC it had appointment a replacement data protection officer — a role that’s a requirement under the GDPR — naming an existing privacy staffer who’s attached to its Dublin office — as its new “acting” DPO.

Other Ireland-based employees remain critical to the company’s claim to have main establishment in Ireland — and thereby to its ability to simplify its GDPR compliance burden. So were Musk to shut down its Dublin operation entirely it would be impossible for Twitter to present even a veneer of ‘compliance as usual’ as regards data protection — again leading to an immediate amping up its regulatory risk.

So there’s now a looming prospect for Musk of double regulatory trouble in Europe — under both the GDPR and DSA. And no clear path to him avoiding a painful regulatory reckoning as he charts a collision course with EU law.

If the Commission elects to designate Twitter a VLOP under the DSA the business will face an accelerated compliance timetable with oversight kicking in in February next year — rather than in February 2024 — and with a tougher set of requirements to assess and mitigate risks on its platform.

All that compliance requirement — with far fewer staff… is… just obviously going to be a total car crash 😬

Fines under the DSA scale up to 6% of global annual turnover. While, under the GDPR the regime already allows for fines up to 4% for major breaches. So if Twitter isn’t bankrupt yet is may just be a matter of time before its owner’s recklessness toward legal risk finishes the job.

What happens next is anyone’s guess but one former Twitter employee with knowledge of how the company managed compliance issues prior to the Musk takeover suggests the philosophy he’s applying amounts to an attitude of “we’re above the law” — or “we think the laws are stupid so we’re not going to comply”.

If that analysis is correct, the EU’s shiny new digital rulebook really is facing the ultimate ‘move fast and break things’ test — and it’s coming very, very fast.
I'm just waiting for Musk's angry tweets when regulators come for Twitter.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by Solauren »

bilateralrope wrote: 2022-11-25 04:17am I doubt Twitter has any kind of mass unban button. So I wonder how long it's going to take the staff Twitter has left to unban all the people with views Musk wants unbanned. Even if he doesn't have anyone check if a user broke any laws before unbanning them.

Then there is the question of if this mass unbanning exposes Musk and/or Twitter to any criminal/civil liability.
Depending on how Twitters User Database is set up, he doesn't need one.

A quick sql query could unban them all in a matter of moments.
(Note - Really bad SQL, but you get the idea)
Select from Tbl_User, where Tbl_User.status = "Banned" Update Tbl_User.status = "Active"

Every single banned account would be active again.

I'm going to assume that the flags and reasons for banning are standardized, so the query could be a little more precise

i.e
Select from Tbl_User, where Tbl_User.status = "Banned" and Tbl_user.Flag = "Politics" Update Tbl_User.status = "Active"
Select from Tbl_User, where Tbl_User.status = "Banned" and Tbl_user.Flag = "Misinformation" Update Tbl_User.status = "Active"
Select from Tbl_User, where Tbl_User.status = "Banned" and Tbl_user.Flag = "LGBTQ_Phobia" Update Tbl_User.status = "Active"
I've been asked why I still follow a few of the people I know on Facebook with 'interesting political habits and view points'.

It's so when they comment on or approve of something, I know what pages to block/what not to vote for.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bilateralrope »

Two major failures from Twitter:

Twitter is now having trouble paying some employees on time
Employees hit with overdraft fees after paychecks fail to show up on schedule.
CHRIS STOKEL-WALKER - 11/29/2022, 7:17 AM


Twitter is investigating why some staff in Europe have not received their November salaries in a timely manner amid sweeping cuts and layoffs across the company since Elon Musk’s takeover.

Twitter staff in the UK received an email just before 1 pm London time on November 25 telling them their pay date would be November 28. Alongside the email, sent from the EMEA Payroll Team, staff received their usual monthly payslips. However, staff in the UK and Germany appear not to have been paid on time.

“It has come to our attention that some of you may not have received your November 2022 salary yet in your bank account,” an email sent to current and former staff reads. “The payments have gone through our Twitter bank account, and as usual, with no change to the process.”

The email says this “might be a delay in Interbank settlement” but adds the company is “actively investing [sic] with our bank and will keep you posted.”

Four independent sources in the UK and Germany told Ars Technica that they had not received payment on the morning their salaries were due.

The sources included current and former staff—the latter of whom should still be paid per the terms of their release from the company.

Usually, Twitter staff are paid on the 28th of every month. If the day falls on a Monday, staff typically see their salary as a pending payment on Friday, with the cash hitting their accounts by midnight on Saturday.

Twitter has already been criticized by former staff for not paying their expenses on time. Former Twitter employees who incurred expenses while still working for the company are owed thousands in expenses that are gathering debt on their personal bank accounts. Much of Twitter's payroll staff resigned in mid-November after Musk's work-long-hours-or-quit ultimatum.
While staff in the UK and Germany have not been paid, those in the Netherlands and Ireland have been—suggesting that the problem is one of staffing and operations, rather than a systematic refusal to pay workers. “The company is just not run well,” said one former UK staff member affected.

One former Twitter employee shared screenshots of their bank accounts showing their salary not being paid had pushed them into an overdraft. The former staff member is also owed expenses from the company incurred while they worked there. “First you are told you are out, but we are going to try to save your job,” the former employee said. “Then you get told you will be paid so you can’t start work or get paid for jobs, otherwise you’re fired. Now it’s payday, and direct debits are starting to be taken from a virtually empty account.

“I feel ashamed I trusted the words of the senior staff who now all got their money and are happily enjoying it, while the rest of us suffer like this. That is one very harsh way to push people to quit rather than wait for their severance packages.”

By midday UK time, some staff members reported they were being paid with a payment reference atypical of how Twitter would usually pay their salaries—though one former employee estimated around 80 percent of workers had not been paid by around 1 pm UK time, based on conversations held in a Slack group containing former and current employees.

One former staff member shared a screenshot with Ars showing a payment had been made, then reversed, this morning. Another ex-Twitter employee said that “at least 20 people” had to make calls to their mortgage providers because of a lack of funds because their salary did not arrive in time.

As of 6 pm UK time, some staff in the UK still had not been paid, according to those with access to the group. Some received an email suggesting that receiving banks were undergoing anti-fraud checks.

Others reported that payments were coming from different banks that Twitter would not usually use to pay salaries—in contradiction of Twitter’s earlier claims to staff that “as usual, with no change to the process.”

Twitter did not respond to a request to comment on this story. It is unclear whether it has any communications staffers still employed after layoffs.
Twitter staff cuts enabled spam porn deluge that drowned out China protest news
Twitter faces scrutiny for relying too much on automated content removal.
ASHLEY BELANGER - 11/29/2022, 7:51 AM


This weekend, widespread protests erupted in China in what amounted to “the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades,” AP News reported. Many protesters attempted to document events live to spread awareness and inspire solidarity across Twitter. Demonstrations were so powerful that Chinese authorities actually seemed to cave, appeasing some of the protesters’ demands by easing the severe lockdown restrictions that sparked the protests.

This could have been a moment that showed how Twitter under Elon Musk is still a relevant breaking-news source, still a place where free speech demonstrations reach the masses, and thus, still the only place to track escalating protests like these. Instead, The Washington Post reported that a flood of “useless tweets” effectively buried live footage from protests. This blocked users from easily following protest news, while Twitter seemingly did nothing to stop what researchers described as an apparent Chinese influence operation.

For hours, these tweets dropped Chinese city names where protests occurred into posts that were mostly advertising pornography and adult escort services. And it worked, preventing users attempting to search city names in Chinese from easily seeing updates on the protests. Researchers told The Post that the tweets were posted from a range of Chinese-language accounts that hadn’t been used for months or even years. The tweets began appearing early Sunday, shortly after protesters started calling for Communist Party leaders to resign.

Examples of tweets can be seen here.

Researchers swiftly took note of the suspected Chinese influence operation very early on Sunday. Some reached out to Twitter directly. Eventually, an outside researcher managed to reach a current Twitter employee, who confirmed that Twitter was working to resolve the issue. However, experts told The Post that Twitter’s solution only seemed to reduce the problem, not completely resolve it. Stanford Internet Observatory Director Alex Stamos told The Post that his team has continued investigating the operation’s reach and impact.

Stamos did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. Twitter reportedly has no communications team.

A former Twitter employee told The Post that what Stamos’ team observed is a common tactic used by authoritarian regimes to reduce access to news. Normally, Twitter’s anti-propaganda team would have manually taken down the accounts, that former employee said. But like many other teams hit by Twitter layoffs, firings, and resignations, that team has been heavily reduced.

“All the China influence operations and analysts at Twitter all resigned,” the former Twitter employee told The Post.

Scrutiny increases on automated content removal

In reducing the content-moderation teams, Musk seems to rely mostly on automated content removal to catch violations that previous staff members had manually monitored. It has become an issue that stretches beyond China. Also this weekend, French regulators said they’ve become dubious about Twitter capably stopping misinformation spread, and the New Zealand government had to intervene and contact Twitter directly when Twitter failed to detect banned footage of the Christchurch, New Zealand, terror attack.

A spokesperson for New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told The Guardian that “Twitter’s automated reporting function didn’t pick up the content as harmful.” Apparently, the entire Twitter team that New Zealand had expected to partner with in blocking such extremism-related content was laid off.

Now Ardern’s office says “only time will tell” if Twitter is truly committed to removing harmful content, and other governments globally seem to agree. Just today, French communications regulatory agency Arcom told Reuters that “Twitter has shown a lack of transparency in the fight against misinformation,” releasing a report that specifically calls out how “imprecise” the company was about how its automated tools combat misinformation.

According to European Union data reviewed by AP, Twitter had already become more sluggish with removing hate speech and misinformation throughout the past year, even before Musk took over. But it’s Musk who will have to answer to governments scrambling to ensure that Twitter’s content moderation will actually work to prevent extremism and disinformation campaigns from spreading online and causing real harm.

By mid-2023, Musk will feel greater pressure to respond to countries’ concerns in the EU, where stricter rules protecting online safety will soon be enacted. If he doesn’t, he risks fines as high as 6 percent of Twitter’s global revenue, AP reported.

For now, though, Musk is basically doing the opposite of what online safety experts want, according to AP. As Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended Twitter accounts, experts told AP that they predict misinformation and hate speech will only rise on the platform.

These experts included members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, who confirmed that the group has not met since Musk took over and seems unsure whether a scheduled meeting for mid-December will occur. So far when making decisions on bringing back suspended accounts, Musk seems to prefer Twitter polls to trusting expert opinions. One council member, University of Virginia cyber civil rights expert Danielle Citron, told AP that “the whole point of the permanent suspension is because these people were so bad they were bad for the business.”

Ars couldn’t immediately reach Citron for comment, but she told AP that—like rumors that Twitter could break at any moment—Musk granting amnesty to suspended accounts is yet another “disaster waiting to happen.”
The first major test of Twitter's moderation since Musk took over and it appears to have let China block people from seeing news China doesn't want them to see. Not a good look.

Though the incompetence and lies around the payroll issues are a more immediate problem.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by Broomstick »

When your entire payroll department quits you're going to have trouble paying people on time. This is not rocket science. (Ironically, given that SpaceX actually does do rocket science, but this is just proof that Musk is not part of the rocket scientist staff at SpaceX)
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bilateralrope »

Musk vs. Apple: Twitter is allegedly threatened with removal from the App Store
A behind-the-scenes dispute between Apple and Twitter could escalate. Musk said he was threatened with suspension from the App Store.

Apple has threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store without giving a reason, according to Elon Musk. This is what the new Twitter boss claims and accuses Apple of disregarding freedom of expression. However, Apple had already made it clear in the past few days that they were closely monitoring how user-generated content was moderated on Twitter and that consequences would be drawn if necessary.

Apple has also largely stopped advertising on Twitter, according to Musk. Should Twitter be removed from the App Store, the app could no longer be installed on iPhones and the social network would lose what is probably the most important distribution channel. Even Elon Musk himself tweeted his sprawling criticism Monday from an Apple smartphone.

Musk vs Apple

Musk’s tweets suggest the dispute between Apple and Twitter could escalate. The fact that Apple banned apps from the App Store due to a lack of moderation is nothing new. A few days after the attack on the US Parliament, the social media app Parler, which is used primarily by right-wing and right-wing extremists, was removed from the App Store. Two weeks ago, Apple boss Tim Cook said in an interview that he expects Twitter to continue to moderate content: “Because I think nobody wants hate speech on their own platform.”

However, Twitter has since laid off thousands of employees and contract workers, which has already affected content moderation. Just over the weekend, Twitter removed a video of the racist assassination attempt in Christchurch after a tip from the New Zealand government, the Guardian reports. Also, there are reports that hate speech has surged on the platform following Musk’s acquisition. Also, according to Wired, Twitter’s teams to ensure that child abuse images are removed are all but gone.

In his tweets, Musk now claims that Apple is not concerned with removing inflammatory content, but that the company hates “free speech in America”. Finally, he even speaks of a “battle for the future of our civilization” because if freedom of expression is lost even in America, only tyranny will remain.

During the preparations for the Twitter takeover, Musk repeatedly claimed that he was concerned with ensuring freedom of expression. But he also understands this to include the spread of fake news and hate speech. Last but not least, Donald Trump, he allowed the former US President to return to the platform; this tried to prevent his deselection with the help of a mob.

Indications of escalation

According to CNBC, there are already signs that Apple is also preparing for a dispute. Twitter was repeatedly asked about unwanted content on the platform by those responsible for several app stores, including those from Google and Apple. Phil Schiller, who heads Apple’s app controls department, apparently deleted his Twitter account after Musk’s takeover. One of his predecessors at the post called it “preparing for war” to the US financial news site. The procedure is similar to the withdrawal of one’s own troops from a country that one wants to attack. Apparently, Apple assumes that the app will have to be removed. It would also be possible that Apple only suspended Twitter and no longer released updates.

Meanwhile, Musk himself has again criticized the fees that Apple claims for in-app purchases on iOS. 30% of most purchases made there go to Apple. Musk wants to turn Twitter into an app with significantly more functions and, among other things, integrate a payment function there. Fees demanded by app store operators are likely to be a thorn in his side. An escalating dispute with Apple will definitely be expensive for Musk and Twitter. The income from the service, which depends on advertising, is already falling noticeably because more and more companies are currently not placing any ads there.
I wonder how unhinged Musk will get if Apple delists Twitter.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by bilateralrope »

Broomstick wrote: 2022-11-29 05:58am When your entire payroll department quits you're going to have trouble paying people on time. This is not rocket science. (Ironically, given that SpaceX actually does do rocket science, but this is just proof that Musk is not part of the rocket scientist staff at SpaceX)
I doubt the authorities will care why payroll was missed.
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Re: Twitter board agrees to $44 billion sale to billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk

Post by Broomstick »

They won't care why, but they will very much care that it was missed.

Don't know how they handle this in Europe, but in the US failure to pay wages is a form of theft. I'm assuming the Europeans are not any more charitable in their view of the situation.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice
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