Billionaire Elon Musk reportedly admitted at a staff meeting Thursday that Twitter could wind up going bankrupt and “not survive” because of a lack of cash flow.
The admission came on the same day that Yoel Roth, the guy who’d reportedly orchestrated the censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story, resigned.
“At the meeting on Thursday, Mr. Musk warned employees that Twitter did not have the necessary cash to survive,” The New York Times reported Thursday, citing seven insider sources who were “familiar” with the meeting.
“The social media company was running a negative cash flow of several billion dollars, Mr. Musk added, without specifying if that was an annual figure. He mentioned bankruptcy,” the Times’ reporting continued.
Musk reportedly added that he’d been forced to sell some of his Tesla stock to “save” Twitter.
NEW: Elon Musk, in his first address to Twitter employees, said that bankruptcy was a possibility, according to a person familiar with the matter.
— Bloomberg (@business) November 10, 2022
Musk reiterated these messages in companywide memos he also sent out Thursday.
“In one email, Musk described the dire economic circumstances the company was in and how important he believed its subscription service, Twitter Blue, was to its future,” according to The Guardian.
“Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn. We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription,” he reportedly wrote.
All this comes as Twitter continued to hemorrhage both advertisers and top employees on Thursday.
“The day began with the resignation of three top security officials – chief information security officer Lea Kissner, chief privacy officer Damien Kieran and chief compliance officer Marianne Fogarty. … Following those departures, Roth and Twitter’s head of client solutions, Robin Wheeler, also left the company,” The Guardian noted.
Roth served as “the head of safety and integrity” and had been in charge of addressing “concerns advertisers and users had about the platform,” though he’s most famous for having censored the reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Wheeler meanwhile had been in charge of ad sales.
When you add in that Musk told employees this afternoon that bankruptcy is possible, it feels like Twitter is almost collapsing in real-time
— Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) November 10, 2022
There were the two execs that joined Elon on Spaces yesterday when they tried to soothe advertiser concerns. Hearing from a number of folks asking: “Who is left?”
Hard to overstate how gutted Twitter’s leadership ranks have become
— Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) November 10, 2022
With Wheeler in particular gone, Twitter seemed to be on the verge of “collapsing in real time,” as journalist Kurt Wagner put it. However, Musk reportedly managed at the last minute to convince Wheeler to stay.
“Robin Wheeler, Twitter Inc.’s top sales executive, has decided to stay at the company, at least for now, reversing an earlier decision to resign, people familiar with the matter said,” Bloomberg confirmed late Thursday.
“Wheeler had quit on Thursday, along with a handful of other senior leaders, but Twitter owner Elon Musk persuaded her to stay, the people said, requesting anonymity to protect personal and professional relationships,” according to Bloomberg.
Plot twist! I’m told while Wheeler did indeed resign earlier today, Elon convinced her to stay. https://t.co/GKPnyi0DZx
— Kurt Wagner (@KurtWagner8) November 11, 2022
But even with Wheeler staying, Twitter remains stuck on a precarious precipice because of an exodus of advertisers who’ve been dropping off left and right in part because of pressure from left-wing activists and the establishment press.
Both groups say the platform has become overwhelmed with so-called “hate speech” in the wake of Musk purchasing the social media network and vowing to modify its overly strict and unfairly applied moderation policies.
“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” Musk himself revealed in a tweet posted on Friday, Nov. 4th.
Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.
Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 4, 2022
It appears the only way Twitter will survive is if Musk can accrue enough subscribers, convince advertisers to stay, or both. During Thursday’s meeting, Musk reportedly sought to do the latter.
“Elon Musk laid out more of his plans for Twitter in a publicly broadcast meeting Wednesday, assuring advertisers he had noted their concerns about hate speech and misinformation on the site while saying the platform would continue changing rapidly and that some of its new features would fail,” The Washington Post reported.
“He repeated that the company hasn’t made any changes to its content moderation policies — which attempt to keep rule-breaking content off the site — but said he believes requiring more people to pay to use Twitter through a new $8 verification program would lower the amount of hate speech overall,” the Post added.
But the new paid $8 blue check mark system has been chaotic, to say the least, with trolls exploiting it to impersonate high-profile people and organizations.
Impersonators got Twitter blue checks today for:
Rudy W. Giuliani
George W. Bush
No way Twitter’s gatekeepers can keep up.
— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) November 10, 2022
There’s much that needs to be fixed at Twitter before it can bounce back financially, but whether or not Musk has enough time to make these changes remains to be seen.
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