Elon Musk’s Twitter Meltdown is a sight we can’t look away from

Two weeks after Twitter found itself under new ownership, Elon Musk’s new gray checkmark and “official” sign It finally appeared under screen names on some notable accounts. And so began a bright and shiny new era of verified accounts, equality for everyone on social media, and an end, at long last, to copycats everywhere.

Yes correct.

This is Musk, after all, and nothing is simple with the reckless billionaire. The gray check marks were supposed to be part of Musk’s grand plan to make verification — a formal sign that you really are who you say you are — accessible to everyone. But the gray checks barely lasted a few hours, and disappeared as suddenly as they appeared.

In an hour-long live audio chat on Twitter that same day, Musk called the labels an “aesthetic nightmare”. Two days later, the stickers reappeared own Twitter pages And on the names of a few major brands and publishers.

At the same time that the gray checks came out, another part of Musk’s plan came into play: an offer to let people who’d paid $8 a month for Subscribe to Twitter Blue Get a blue check showing that they are verified. It is not surprising that scammers immediately take advantage of the opportunity to create fake, but “verified” accounts. Twitter later on Friday suspended the accounts after a number of such accounts, posing as Eli Lilly, among others, caused real mayhem through fake posts.

The following week, Musk answered questions from Jimmy Fallon about the viral hashtag #RIPJimmyFallon, He’s been scrutinized by lawmakers who want to review his practices, and he’s forced employees to sign a pledge to his more “tough” culture and The office doors closed with the #RIPTwitter trend.

It’s been a crazy two weeks.

However, the confusing, infecting mayhem is a huge spectacle that is either very amusing or very frustrating, depending on your association with Twitter.

We are likely to witness the rapid collapse of one of the most influential social media platforms in the world, which helped Revolutions begin (for the better) and turned The fate of the presidential elections (for the worse). Although older platforms such as Friendster or google plus Fading softly, Twitter, in typical Musk fashion, can let out the roar of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launch.

“It’s hard to see Twitter surviving this unless Musk steps back and puts an adult in charge,” said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at research firm Creative Strategies. “While I can understand the need for change on Musk’s part, going in and throwing everything out is something that rarely leads to success.”

Twitter’s constant unpredictability, from half-staff layoffs to a false start on gray checkmarks, creates a level of unpredictability that’s daunting for business but irresistible to anyone fascinated by watching the meltdown in real time. The “what happens next” factor would make any reality producer jealous.

Musk — who has been tweeting his conflicting thoughts on Twitter — telegraphed at a tweet That there are more false starts and unpredictability ahead. “Twitter will do a lot of stupid things in the coming months,” he wrote, hinting at faster transformations. “We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t.”

It can’t be reassuring for those advertisers he desperately needs to stick around. Twitter has been losing money for two years in a row and relies on ad sales, which account for nearly all of its revenue.

I wish I could just relax, eat popcorn, and watch the chaos unfold. I’ve weaned myself off Twitter pretty much over the past few years, pretty much Tweet on CNET stories from my crew And send a few tweets. But the political turmoil, the pandemic, and the ease with which I return to the ill-fated scroll dampens my enthusiasm to even open the app. I’m as detached as I’ve ever been from Twitter, a place I’ve practically lived in with near-constant tweets for the past 13 years.

I guess I’m not alone, and I can be joined by the more than 237 million people on Twitter who might be looking to split Rival services like Mastodon (Even if my colleague Stephen Shankland It is believed that Mastodon is very complex). Musk still hasn’t clearly stated his position on moderating toxic content, aside from laying off most of the team responsible for policing it. It doesn’t help that Twitter CEO Yael Roth, who has been reassuring advertisers and users since Musk’s purchase, announced his resignation on Twitter Thursday. The rise in hate speech can leave users tired, frustrated, or just plain annoyed.

Likewise, if Musk continues to prioritize tweets for Twitter Blue subscribers and aggressively pushes the $8 monthly fee, more people can wash their hands of Twitter.

“After adjustments to Twitter’s verification features, the constant iteration of product launches and policies gives the impression that Twitter is descending into chaos,” said Rachel Foster Jones, an analyst with research firm GlobalData. “Concerns about impersonation and misinformation may irreparably tarnish the platform’s integrity.”

Twitter’s public relations team, which has been cut back significantly due to layoffs, did not respond to a request for comment.

As a journalist who has covered technology and digital media for over two decades, I cannot ignore Twitter as a company and a story. But keeping up with every new tweet or report is a full time job. (Luckily for you, CNET has this on hand Timeline between Musk and Twitter which indicates the latest developments.)

I also know what’s at stake in the potential loss of Twitter, given its value as a public forum. Losing the platform that helped give birth to the Arab Spring and the #MeToo movement would be devastating for society.

But right now, Twitter is quickly becoming an ever-growing hole — none of us can take our eyes off it.