Twitter’s underlying software is reportedly showing signs showing signs of cracking for some users, without enough engineers to maintain it. Cybersecurity and privacy experts worry that it is be the “wild west” when it comes to data breaches and vulnerability to hacking.
So far there hasn’t been a mass exodus – users in politics and the media are watching and waiting, and Twitter remains reliable as a real-time news platform. But Schmidt said he and his colleagues are trying to determine whether it’s safe for their clients to keep advertising, or even stay on Twitter.
Several Washington communications veterans contacted by POLITICO told a similar version: Twitter should now be treated very carefully by anyone concerned about its public image.
“Whether it’s a politician, or a candidate, or a business, they need a platform that has credibility and that’s stable and aligned with their values,” said Sean Higgins, a veteran of the DC political communications scene and associate vice president at Precision Strategies. . “So far, Twitter hasn’t shown the ability to provide any of those things under Elon Musk’s leadership — and that’s a problem.”
Central to the concern is that only two weeks since Musk took over, Twitter has dismantled its previous system for account verification, launching a short subscription service that allows the status of “verified” to anyone willing to pay $ 8 and produce fake masses. accounts for heads of government agencies, companies and politicians.
It launches, cancels and re-launches new “official” badges to designate real accounts, but it seems uneven. So is the “United States Government Organization” tag, which appears on the Twitter account for the Department of Defense, but not the White House or important agencies like FEMA.
As Twitter works to fix its content moderation problems with skeleton crews, Higgins warned that businesses and advertisers don’t have “a lot of patience.”
Kasturi has argued that all this attention has been good for Twitter, and says it is more say it is more popular among users than ever. But what some satirists see as a free-for-all is seen by others as a swift dismantling of a platform that, over the past few years, has been a reliable, if still occasionally toxic, public forum.
At the center of Twitter’s rapid operational change is Musk’s stated goal is to “disrupt” the mainstream media’s “oligopoly on information” by “elevating citizen journalism” – and, importantly, making $8 per subscriber paid along the way. But before that happens, the owner of the platform must contend with the steep real world consequences of breaking the machine that it has built to ensure reliability.
Chris Riotta, cybersecurity writer for the DC federal technology trade publication FCW had this to say: “Elon Musk’s decision to monetize verification on Twitter … marks the end of an era for social media, where Twitter users can easily confirm whether a post is trustworthy.”
Insulin manufacturer Eli Lilly’s stock value fell sharply after a fake tweet that na insulin is now free. And Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter worded with intent to demand an explanation after the Washington Post reporter pose as a politician just to show how easy it is.
Kasturi characteristically took Markey’s criticism as an opportunity to write a trolling responsetweeting: “Maybe it’s because your real account looks like a parody?”
Markey did not receive a response. “Fix your company. Or Congress will,” tweeted the senatorMusk reminded that one of his companies under a consent decree FTC.
The mounting pile of incidents points to the reversal of years of efforts to transform Twitter from a casual chat room for tech world insiders to the most important and trusted real-time online news feed.
A DC crisis communications professional with four years of experience supporting clients in the technology industry said, “Between the controversial brand Musk has created for himself on social media and the public’s tendency to use humor to deal with current events, people will start to lose it. Hopefully the problem can be solved.”
DC stalwarts like Tom Wheeler, a Brookings visiting fellow and former FCC chair, have been mentioned increased regulatory risk face both musk and Twitter. Wheeler added that the surprise that awaits the owners of the new platform is how lawmakers and agencies that rely on Twitter for their messaging will react “to the potential that such capricious actions could affect their political brand.”
Mark MacCarthy, a Brookings senior fellow, has a vague estimate of Twitter’s new plans to sell verification labels. He was called “stupid”. MacCarthy is a Georgetown adjunct professor of communication and a former staff member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Skeptical that the “market” in verification works, MacCarthy said, “Kasturi must return to the hard work of eliminating fake accounts using signals, judgment, context and intuition. That took some people who were expelled from the company.”
Despite assurances from Musk himself earlier this week, digital advertisers seem to agree with MacCarthy. Many have been withdrawn Twitter ad spend because they wait out the confusion.