- by theguardian
- 09 May 2023
Elon Musk "doesn't know what he's doing" with Twitter and is "making everyone alarmed", a former executive has said, after major brands paused their advertising spend on the platform and the company laid off thousands of staff.Bruce Daisley, Twitter's vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa from 2015 to 2020, said he was devastated by the undemocratic changes at Twitter and would leave the platform with "no hesitation" if there was a good alternative.
"I think Elon thought he was going to come in and solve everything and very quickly he's going to work out that it's far more complicated," he told podcast The News Agents this weekend. "It's pretty evident from every public action that he's taken with this whole acquisition: he doesn't know what he's doing."
Daisley, who was Twitter's most senior executive in London, also criticised Musk's plan to charge users $8 a month for a "blue tick" verification symbol. He told the Observer Musk was trading the "legitimacy of verified sources" for "pocket money". "The fact that we have no recourse over that is undemocratic," he said.
And he tweeted in support of an Twitter employee who was sacked on Friday amid mass layoffs, whom he described as having "helped battle against abusive tweets against high-profile Twitter users". Daisley wrote: "In four weeks, when there's a racist tweet from the World Cup on the front pages, remember Musk chose to let that happen."
The fierce criticism comes after Musk implemented a raft of changes at Twitter that have sparked concern about his approach to misinformation and hate speech.
On Friday, the Tesla billionaire - who bought Twitter on 27 October for $44bn - laid off about 50% of Twitter employees, saying he had "no choice" as the firm is bleeding more than $4m a day. The layoffs reportedly gutted teams that cover human rights, ethics and curation. It also included people in moderation, although Twitter's head of safety, Yoel Roth, said "core moderation capabilities" remained.
On Saturday, Jack Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder and former chief executive, suggested the mass sackings were necessary because he had expanded too fast. "I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company too quickly. I apologise for that," said Dorsey, who stepped down from Twitter's board in May and has supported Musk's takeover.
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