TechScape: Elon Musk’s private poll target proves he can’t get out of his own way

Call it Chekhov’s Jet: Any Twitter account placed on the mantelpiece in the act should surely explode in Chapter Five.

Seven days after buying the social network, Elon Musk chirp That his commitment to freedom of expression even extended to “not banning the account that follows my plane.” Six weeks later, his reversal of that policy has set in motion a chain of events that looks increasingly likely to end with his dramatic departure as CEO of Twitter. How’s that for listing my disease?

strange situation @tweet

Like the old woman who swallowed a fly, each day of the past week has seen Musk’s attempts to shake off trouble only serve to deepen it.

On Thursday, Musk banned the @ElonJet account, claiming he freaked out over a (now unrelated) altercation with a man who was stalking his ex-wife. Shortly after the account was banned, a new set of rules were imposed prohibiting the sharing of the “real-time location” of individuals. On the face of it, the rule would prevent people from live-tweeting football matches or concerts, but don’t think about it too much: The rule was imposed to ban the account, not the other way around.

On Friday, Musk suspended the accounts of several journalists who had reported on his move. Defending his decision as implementing a policy against those who participate”The coordinates of the assassinationHe tried to turn the dispute over freedom of expression into a fight over whether or not “sharing of information in real time” was allowed on the site. The journalists were not involved in real-time inference, with most doing nothing more than linking to other versions of an account ElonJet, which now has mirrors on Instagram and Mastodon, but again: Don’t worry too much.It’s no coincidence that the ban hit journalists critical of Musk.

And on Saturday, Musk suspended the account of Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz, who had sent him a request for comment on the site. At the time she was suspended, she had three direct tweets on her profile: a request for suspension, and a pair connected to her accounts on other sites. According to Musk, the comment was to “Advance BI procedures“: breaking a rule that didn’t exist when it was broken with tweets that are no longer on the site. Crescent Mornington!” (For American readers, the earlier pop culture reference can be replaced with “Calvinball” to help make sense of Transatlantic).

On Sunday, Musk reinstated her account, before immediately banning it permanently, for violating another newly created rule: banning any promotion of accounts on other social networks, a policy apparently put in haste over the weekend in an effort to stem the influx of Users who leave the social network for non-working sites at the whim of a billionaire avenger.

Then on Monday, that rule was reversed again. Lorenz’s “permanent” ban was reversed, the account’s promotion rule pulled, and it was deleted from the official Twitter safety account. But even if the ban is lifted, there is still a site-wide ban on linking to Mastodon. There is no longer any clear rule that these links break, and other links to social networks including Instagram and Facebook work just fine. But, and you’ll forgive me if this idea gets old, the rules don’t matter: Twitter is Elon Musk’s home now.

Did Elon Musk stop?

There is a possibility that even he is fed up. Late Sunday evening, on the heels of watching the World Cup Final in Doha with Jared Kushner, Musk posted a Twitter poll offering to hand over control of Twitter. He insisted he had no successor in mind, but said in November, under oath in Delaware, that he was planning to end his time at the company and hire a new CEO: the poll, like many, feels like an opportunity to go along with a decision he’s already made in his heart. And by reading his posts on the site, he appears to be exhausted. Mixed between responses of self-reverence to his fans and widespread astonishment at hyper-partisan news stories, there are bitter tweets about how managing Twitter is impossible, how the site is on the way to bankruptcy, and how no one will ever be able to do it. Save it.

Even if he sticks to his promise — and since polls closed, he’s been eagerly tweeting agreement with aides suggesting “bot” activity, and suggesting that only Twitter Blue subscribers should be able to vote on political polls — there’s no hint that he’s preparing to sell Whole site: He’ll be the big boss, but maybe someone who has less supervision day in and day out. The hopeful vision is for it to end up like SpaceX, with Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s chief operating officer, running a competent spaceflight business while gently managing upwards to ensure Musk’s fanciful flights don’t ruin what she’s worked to create. The chilling vision is that it ends up like Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun, where the untrained owner picks on a big team who knows that more important than any business objective is making sure the boss is satisfied.

The metaverse will continue until morale improves

When Meta laid off 11,000 employees earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg was anxious to make sure we all knew where the blame lay. He said the company expanded very quickly in light of the pandemic. He said he was betting that the hub of online socialization that occurred when we were all forced to stay indoors would continue even when we were allowed out of our homes, and that those bets did not pay off. He added that Apple shares some of the blame with the company’s privacy-focused tweaks to iOS that limit Facebook and Instagram’s ability to sell valuable ads based on data collected from tracking users across all the apps they use.

But the one thing that isn’t to blame is the metaverse. The project the company bet on — even to the point of changing its name — might be costly enough to eat up the equivalent of a $9 million severance check for each of those 11,000 employees, but Zuckerberg was adamant: It was an investment in the future. He said, “We’ve shifted more of our resources to a smaller number of high-priority growth areas, such as our AI discovery engine, our advertising and business platforms, and our long-term vision for the Metaverse.”

Now, with Twitter imploding, economic downturns continuing and worsening around the world, and generative AI finally taking over cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrencies as the hot new tech thing, the Meta bet metaverse has doubled down. From Andrew Bosworth, Head of Reality Labs at the company:

About 80% of all Meta investments support the core business, with the other 20% going towards Reality Labs. It’s a level of investment that we believe makes sense for a company committed to staying at the forefront of one of the most competitive and innovative industries on earth.

Virtual reality is now at a very special moment – new essential pieces of hardware and technology are hitting the market for the first time, and a community of developers and users is unleashing its potential in new ways, from precarious startups to top-tier game studios, creators and artists…we think it’s It will get better in 2023.

Next year will see some milestones in virtual reality, with both Sony’s PSVR2 coming out for home consoles, and the Meta’s Quest 3 expected for casual use. And about $10 billion a year, you’d hope.

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