Twitter’s vaunted, re-revised $8 blue-check system is supposedly coming out within the next 24 hours, and because of Apple’s App store fees, Musk will reportedly charge iOS users $11 for a blue check instead of the normal $8 price.
We begin today’s roundup of Elon Musk’s executive dysfunction with the news that Musk is no longer world’s richest man, according to CNN. They get that from the constantly updated Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, which now lists LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton CEO Bernard Arnault as the richest person alive. Arnault’s leapfrogging of Musk is attributed to how luxury goods sales remain strong and LVMH stock has been solid all year, whereas Tesla’s stock price has dipped significantly, and of course he’s blowing billions on buying Twitter and Tesla's stock may be getting hit by all the bad PR.
Elon Musk is no longer the richest guy in the world. Apparently he fell out of first place after he bought 4 Taylor Swift tickets.— Larry The Cable Guy (@GitRDoneLarry) December 8, 2022
But in actual Twitter-related news, TechCrunch reports that “Twitter is rumored to re-roll-out its flopped Twitter Blue subscription tomorrow,” meaning Friday. You’ll recall the blue checks were originally going to be $20 a month, then “alpha male” Musk allowed himself to be badgered down to $8 a month, and then in early November the $8 blue checks were launched and then paused as fake accounts were having a field day with them.
Yet TechCrunch separately reports that iPhone and iPad users might be charged $11 a month rather than $8 a month. Musk had previously declared he would “go to war” with Apple over the 30% of revenue cut the App Store charges on in-app sales for apps that make more than $1 million. Musk has clearly surrendered in that war, instead sticking the cost to the consumer, or maybe just trying to persuade the consumer to buy the Twitter Blue subscription via desktop or mobile browser. (Musk also was recently given a personal tour of Apple HQ by CEO Tim Cook, and the two had a reportedly nice chat and resolved everything.)
Everyone’s blue checks bouta disappear on Friday— Max ⁶𓅓 (@maxallenw) December 6, 2022
Of course, this being Twitter and Elon Musk, there’s no guarantee that the Twitter Blue checks will roll out Friday, or that he’ll follow through on charging Apple users more, which is still unconfirmed. Musk does not do well on goals that actually require effort (remember his mini-submarine that was supposed to dave the Thai soccer schoolkids?), but he excels at hitting goals that don’t really require effort and just involve him making grand proclamations.
Musk/Twitter has unbanned Roger Stone. Stone was banned in October 2017 for a series of abusive messages aimed at reporters. His account has been restored with the abusive messages still live. pic.twitter.com/Z5CFe9I8Aw— Arieh Kovler (@ariehkovler) December 7, 2022
Example: Musk is bringing back banned users en masse, in fact, shortly before press time he reinstated Roger Stone. CNN reports that thousands of banned users have been reinstated, many of them naturally far-right extremists. “The accounts that have been restored includes ‘a really strange mix of accounts’ that includes apparent far-right extremists and QAnon adherents, but also, for example, a Miley Cyrus fan account that has been repeatedly suspended and appears aimed mostly at growing a large following,” according to CNN. They describe other restored accounts as “users promoting NFTs and cryptocurrencies, users tweeting about sports, many users tweeting in languages other than English, as well as both users that appear to be left-leaning and pro-Trump.”
We in the media are likely to focus on the violent political extremists, and that’s fair — those people legitimately engage in violent behavior. But the totality of restored accounts is quite a range, and these restorings and unbannings may be more a cynical grab for more engagement on the Twitter platform (or more potential $8/$11-paying blue-checkers!) than it is about free speech.
Twitter is being hit with another lawsuit stemming from the recent purging of half its workforce, this one accusing the social media company of disproportionately targeting female employees for layoffs. https://t.co/qlfnjUVsi5— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 8, 2022
Also on Thursday we learned that an SF building inspector did visit Twitter HQ this week, in response to an anonymous complaint, and the inspector did indeed find at least two makeshift "bedrooms" in the buildings. The city now has to decide how it will address the situation.
And we can’t help but throw in that Musk’s Twitter faces yet another lawsuit over the layoffs, this time a because allegedly far more women than men were laid off according to KRON4. The lawsuit claims that “57% of female employees were laid off on November 4, while 47 percent of male employees were laid off.” KRON4 adds to that, “According to Dr. Mark Killingsworth, a professor in the Department of Economics at Rutgers University, the odds that the disparity is due only to chance is 0.00000000000001, or 9.977 out of 100 trillion.”
"Now, Weiss has been given access to Twitter's employee systems, added to its Slack, and given a company laptop, two people familiar with her presence said.— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) December 8, 2022
The level of access to Twitter systems given to Weiss is typically given only to employees..."https://t.co/3zBi3eDGJP
But it looks like Musk just hired right-wing shit-stirrer Bari Weiss — and wife of former SF resident turned SF critic Nellie Bowles — so at least there’s now one more woman on staff.
Image: BERLIN, GERMANY DECEMBER 01: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer Award 2020 on December 01, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Hannibal Hanschke-Pool/Getty Images)