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Twitter turmoil worsens

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Elon Musk warned employees that the “economic picture” at Twitter is looking “dire,” adding that the social media platform may suffer bankruptcy as it is running on a negative cash flow of several billion dollars.  

The social media platform is also enduring an internal shake-up as several high-profile executives resigned on Thursday. 

This is Hillicon Valley, we’re The Hill’s Rebecca Klar and Ines Kagubare. Let’s jump in.

Turbulence at Twitter escalates

The internal turmoil rocking Twitter escalated on Thursday with the exit of several more key leaders and a warning from CEO Elon Musk about the company’s finances.

Musk paints grim economic picture

Musk told Twitter employees that the economic outlook appears “dire” while sharing an update on the social media company Wednesday, according to The New York Times

Musk wrote in an email that “there is no way to sugarcoat the message,” adding, “The economic picture ahead is dire,” the newspaper reported.

  • The new Twitter CEO also mentioned the prospect of bankruptcy at a staff meeting on Thursday, saying the company was running a negative cash flow of several billion dollars, the Times reported.
  • Musk claimed that his recent decision to sell nearly $4 billion worth of Tesla stock was intended to help “save” Twitter. 

Read more here


More Twitter executives resign 

Two top executives in Twitter’s security and privacy division resigned on Thursday amid a growing number of departures under Musk’s leadership. 

Twitter’s head of moderation and safety, Yoel Roth, quit after Musk held the social media company’s first all-hands meeting on Thursday, according to The Washington Post

Another executive, Robin Wheeler, also resigned, according to Bloomberg. Wheeler was VP of U.S. client solutions.

  • The New York Times reported Thursday that human resources employee Kathleen Pacini also quit.
  • The departures follow the announced resignation earlier Thursday of Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer Lea Kissner.

Read more here

Federal regulator keeping tabs on Twitter

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday said it is deeply concerned with the way billionaire Elon Musk has been handling Twitter since his recent purchase. 

“We are tracking recent developments at Twitter with deep concern,” an FTC spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. “No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them.” 

Twitter was fined a $150 million civil penalty over the spring for violating a 2011 FTC consent order by using the personal information of users for advertisements from May 2013 to September 2019. 

The FTC has required Twitter to follow a number of new provisions, including an enhanced privacy and security program to protect users. 

Read more here

MUSK BANS REMOTE WORK WITHOUT APPROVAL

Twitter CEO Elon Musk is requiring all employees to work in the office 40 hours per week unless he personally approves remote work, multiple outlets reported.  

Musk made the announcement in his first email to Twitter staff on Wednesday, saying that the policy will take effect immediately. 

Read the rest here

More from The Hill: Biden says Musk’s Twitter deal ‘worth being looked at’

👾 BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: America may not be ready for the looming tsunami of ‘deep fakes’ 

Notable links from around the web: 

What the hell is going on at Twitter (Vox / Shirin Ghaffary) 

Tech’s Talent Wars Have Come Back to Bite It (The New York Times / Erin Griffith) 

We spent a day with Anthony Padilla, YouTube’s interview king (The Washington Post / Nathan Grayson) 

One more thing: Youth screen time spikes

Screen time rose more than 50 percent among children and adolescents around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with rates measured before the crisis.

That’s according to a review and meta-analysis published in JAMA Pediatrics that included data on more than 29,000 youths aged 18 and under.

  • Data were collected from 46 studies that investigated changes in daily screen time among youths around the world. Of those studies, 26 percent were carried out in North America.
  • The results are similar to rises in screen time documented among American youth throughout the pandemic. In May 2020, 12- to 13-year-old children doubled their non-school related screen time, while a survey carried out in the fall of 2020 found more than one-third of U.S. children reported excessive screen time. 

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.

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