Overnight Cybersecurity

Hillicon Valley — Musk nudges Trump to return to Twitter

Getty Images/Madeline Monroe

Twitter CEO Elon Musk reinstated several high-profile banned accounts on the platform, including Donald Trump’s. But the former president and 2024 White House hopeful has yet to return to the platform since he regained access on Saturday.

Meanwhile, we’ll dive into how Ticketmaster’s botched sale of tickets for Taylor Swift’s tour put a spotlight on antitrust concerns.

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? 

Musk reopens the door for Trump

Twitter CEO reversed the permanent ban on former President Trump’s account Saturday, but the president has yet to return to his once favored platform.  

  • Instead, Trumps doubled down on his commitment to remain on his own platform, Truth Social. At a virtual appearance before the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership meeting, he said he doesn’t see “any reason” to return to Twitter, and on Truth Social he told his followers “don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere.”  
  • Even if Trump makes a Twitter return, though, he is contractually obligated to post on Truth Social six hours before making the same post on another platform, according to terms revealed in a regulatory filing in May.  
  • In the meantime, Musk has seemingly nudged the former president, who is running for the Oval Office again in 2024, to return to by tweeting memes about the pull of Twitter.  

Building backlash: As Musk awaits Trump’s potential return, he’s facing renewed backlash from civil rights and other advocacy groups over the decision to reinstate Trump’s account.  

Trump’s account was banned by Twitter after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol after the platform determined his posts posted the risk of further inciting violence. 

Groups including the NAACP, Anti-Defamation League and FreePress slammed Musk over decision, especially considering Musk told them earlier this month that he would form a council to make decisions on whether to reinstate accounts.  

  • “As far as I can tell this new council doesn’t exist. It’s just one of the many bad-faith promises Musk has made civil-rights leaders and then tossed aside,” Free Press co-CEO Jessica González said in a statement.  
  • Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that Musk’s decision to reinstate Trump is “dangerous and a treat to American democracy.” 

Others make a Twitter comeback

Trump was among a group of high-profile accounts reinstated by Elon Musk. 

Among them, was the personal account for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Greene had been banned in January over violating the platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policy.

Using her official congressional account, which was not banned by the platform, Greene urged her followers to head to her newly reinstated “unfiltered” personal account. 

Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, also had his account reinstated reversing the suspension made after he posted antisemitic comments.  

“Don’t kill what ye hate Save what ye love,” Musk tweeted in response to the rapper’s first return tweet.  

🏰 SURPRISE! BOB IGER RETURNS TO DISNEY

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger is returning to head the entertainment giant, replacing his successor Bob Chapek.

  • The surprise news comes days after Disney’s stock hit a 52-week low, falling 41 percent so far this year.
  • In a press release Sunday, Disney announced Chapek was stepping down and Iger will serve two additional years as the company’s top executive.

“We thank Bob Chapek for his service to Disney over his long career, including navigating the company through the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” Susan Arnold, the company’s board chair, said in a statement.

Read more here.

🎥 CNN PROGRAMMING EXEC EXITS

Michael Bass, a top programming executive at CNN, is leaving the outlet, CEO Chris Licht confirmed on Monday.

  • “Throughout his nearly decade-long run at this organization, Michael has demonstrated incredible leadership and perseverance,” Licht said in a memo sent to employees of the network. “He has been a steady hand during some of the most turbulent times this network has faced.”
  • Licht said Bass, who served as CNN’s executive vice president of programming, made the decision to leave and that a search for his replacement is underway.

The executive’s announced departure follows a slew of major personnel and programming changes Licht has overseen at CNN since taking over as president earlier this year under the newly formed media conglomerate Warner Bros. Discovery.

Read more here.

🎟 THE ANTITRUST ANTI-HERO

Taylor Swift fans have bad blood with Ticketmaster after the platform canceled the general sale for the pop star’s upcoming tour following a chaotic presale this week, bringing new light to an issue that supporters of antitrust reform already knew all too well.  

Critics have been warning against the company’s dominance since merging with Live Nation in 2010, and the latest fiasco with Swift’s upcoming tour, which sparked outrage among her massive fan base, gave ammunition to lawmakers trying to revamp antitrust laws to pile on the pressure.  

The building momentum from Swift’s fans comes as the Biden administration has pledged to take a tough stance on competition. The New York Times reported Friday that Ticketmaster is facing a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation over whether it has abused its market power. 

  • The probe reportedly predates the sale of Swift’s “The Eras” tour, but the high-profile nature of the tour thrust the issue into the spotlight.  
  • “The enormous interest in this performer and in this episode, concerning the availability of tickets to see her perform, is a big example of what we see so often in American public life — that policy change, action, often is catalyzed by a single event,” said William Kovacic, a former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairman and a George Washington University law professor. 

Read more here.  

🇫🇷 TWITTER’S HEAD OF FRANCE QUITS 

Twitter’s head of France, Damien Viel, announced his resignation from the social media platform in a tweet saying it was “over.” 

“It’s over. Pride, honor, and mission accomplished. Goodbye #twitterfrance. What an adventure! What a team! What encounters! Thank you to all for these 7 amazing and intense years,” Viel, the head of the company’s operations in the country, tweeted on Sunday. 

According to Reuters, Viel confirmed that he was indeed leaving Twitter but did not explain why. 

Viel is the latest senior executive to resign from Twitter following Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media platform in late October. 

Read more here

BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Crypto needs less regulation, not more 

Notable links from around the web: 

Inside a Crypto Nemesis’ Campaign to Rein In the Industry (The New York Times / David Yaffe-Bellany) 

Biden Lays Path to Cyber Regulations for Critical Infrastructure (Bloomberg Law / Skye Witley) 

Bob Iger’s Disney challenge: Solve the problem he helped create (Vox / Peter Kafka) 

🐘 Lighter click: Pardon the adorable interruption 

One more thing: CBS returns to Twitter

CBS News announced on Sunday it will resume its Twitter activity after halting it for part of the weekend to assess “uncertainty” under new CEO Elon Musk. 

“After pausing for much of the weekend to assess the security concerns, CBS News and Stations is resuming its activity on Twitter as we continue to monitor the situation,” the network wrote on the platform. 

The network’s various accounts stopped posting tweets late on Friday, hours after Musk’s deadline for employees to either commit to a “hardcore” work environment or accept severance and leave the company. 

The ultimatum led an estimated 1,200 employees to depart on Thursday, according to The New York Times, which came after Musk laid off about half of Twitter’s workforce, which included roughly 7,500 employees when he formally took over the company. 

Read more here.  

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

Tags Elon Musk Jonathan Greenblatt Marjorie Taylor Greene Ye
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