Twitter’s new chief twit Elon Musk said last week that he was buying Twitter to provide a place where people can debate a variety of beliefs in a healthy way.

It seems that he is getting what he wants.

Brand safety risk

Musk’s new outlook is not for all brands and agencies.

Some agencies advise their clients to suspend their Twitter ads due to safety and trust concerns under Musk’s leadership.

IPG’s Mediabrands is one of these advertising companies.

The ads were temporarily halted by the automaker and Tesla competitor GM. However, the automaker stated that it was following its “normal course” to “temporarily pause paid advertising.” It also said that it will continue its “customer service interactions on Twitter”

Musk claims he is committed to safety. He posted recently that “Twitter’s commitment brand safety remains unchanged”. However, his actions contradict this statement.

However, some advertisers aren’t worried as 58% of marketers polled believed that the change could be a positive thing for brands, marketers and users.

Free speech is not easy.

Musk promoted a conspiracy theory last week about the recent attack on Paul Pelosi. Musk responded to a tweet by Hillary Clinton, “There might be more behind this story than meets your eye.” The tweet was deleted a few hours later.

Musk also stated that he disagrees Twitter’s practice to ban people who repeatedly violate its rules. This raises the possibility of controversial users being allowed to reappear on the platform. Many of us will be watching to find out if Musk allows former President Trump to return on the platform in the time needed for the U.S. midterm election.

Musk has a history filled with outrageous behavior, as we saw in 2018, when he called a British caver “Pedo man” during a rescue of the Thai boys’ soccer team. Musk was sued by the diver for his remarks, and he later admitted to a jury that he didn’t mean it literally.

Bloomberg points out that Musk has been the target of other worrying tweets. These include ones from Chinese commentators lobbying for their “Chinese state affiliated media” label to be removed.

It is also alarming that Musk’s takeover has seen a significant increase in Nazi and racial slurs on the platform.

“Musk’s Twitter acquisition has had some unfavorable outcomes so far. One of the most obvious indicators is the increase in hate speech on the platform. According to a Montclair State University study, Twitter became more “vulgar and hostile” within hours of Musk’s acquisition. It experienced an “immediately visible, and measurable rise” in hate speech. Social media is a place for billions to gather, and its hostile nature will have real-world consequences. Studies have shown that hate speech directly correlates to an increase in hate crimes. Numerous studies have been conducted.

Eric Yaverbaum, CEO at Ericho Communications

Musk has already reversed some of his “anything goes” proclamations. Musk tweeted that Twitter “obviously can’t become a free for all hellscape, where anyone can say anything with no consequences.”

Yet, despite his mixed messages, the “free-the-bird” bell may not be unrung. It’s clear that Musk’s ownership is seen by users as permission to “unleash racial insults,” as Yaverbaum stated.

Yaverbaum continued:

“Twitter’s actions and resulting consequences won’t stop at public impact. It’s setting itself up to a serious internal crisis. The company is planning layoffs. Employees will now be expected to work 12-hour shifts, seven-days a week. Employees are already resigning. To ensure a healthy workplace environment, leaders must set the tone. Musk is doing the exact opposite. Musk’s actions don’t paint him as a leader. Not only does he encourage poor time management and disrupt the lives of Twitter employees, but he also makes it clear that he doesn’t want to hire future employees. These actions can send a clear message and have lasting effects on a company for years to come.

The whole board was fired up

Musk fired Parag Agrawal, CEO, immediately after his acquisition. Musk also fired Ned Segal, CFO, and Vijaya Gadde, policy head, on Thursday. Musk also fired Sean Edgett (Twitter’s general counsel).

More executives quit

Sarah Personette, Twitter’s chief commercial officer and advertising liaison, resigned on Tuesday. She tweeted, “Hi folks! I wanted to share with you that I resigned Friday from Twitter and that my work access was officially cut off last evening.”

She said, “It has been a great privilege to serve you all as a leader or a partner.” Many people have heard me say that the most important role I believed I played in the company’s success was to advocate for brand safety.

Dalana Brand, Chief People and Diversity Officer, announced Tuesday via LinkedIn that she had resigned as well. Nick Caldwell, general manager for core technology, confirmed his departure via Twitter. He changed his profile bio to “former Twitter executivec” by Monday night.

According to Reuters, Leslie Berland, chief marketing officer, Jay Sullivan, Twitter’s head for product, and Jean-Philippe Maheu its vice president of global, have also resigned. It was unclear if they quit or were asked to.

The new Twitter Blue

Musk responded to the blue checkmark on Twitter by tweeting “The current system for lords & peasants with those who have blue tick and those that don’t is bullshit.”

Musk suggested that users would be charged $20 per month to maintain their blue check mark verification and access to other features. Stephen King, a writer, responded.

Musk responded, “We have to pay the bills somehow!” Twitter cannot rely solely on advertisers. What about $8?

Musk soon followed with the announcement “Power to all people!” Blue for $8 per month

Joel M. Petlin, Newsweek Opinion contributor and superintendent, responded

No kidding, Joel.

Saudi Arabia’s investment

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire, said that he and his Kingdom Holding Company had rolled over $1.89 billion worth of existing Twitter shares. This made them the second largest shareholders in the company after Musk. Some lawmakers were concerned, including Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut.

Murphy tweeted that he was asking the Committee on Foreign Investment, which reviews acquisitions by foreign buyers of U.S. companies, to investigate the national security implications for the kingdom’s investment on Twitter

Murphy tweeted, “We should be concerned about the Saudis, which have a clear interest to repress political speech and impact U.S. politics,” “There is a clear national security concern at stake, and CFIUS should conduct a review.”

Why we care

Musk’s radical views and changes could scare off brands and agencies. None want to be associated a platform that encourages hate speech, conspiracies and an environment that encourages employees to leave in troves.

We are also playing the wait and see game. Yaverbaum said, “Social media in general is already struggling.” Twitter could easily fall if it continues on this path.

Search Engine Land’s first article, How brands and agencies react to Elon Musk’s radical changes at Twitter, appeared first on Search Engine Land.