October 27th marked the one-year anniversary since Elon Musk closed the deal to acquire Twitter, and oh, what a year it has been.
The New York Times carefully dismantled Musk’s tenure laying out the year as a complete disaster for the company.
The platform remains very popular in terms of visits with an estimated 6 billion visits in September 2023 alone, but this represents a 15% drop from September 2022.
But it is the ad revenue drop where the rotting foundation of the company is most noticeable.
Musk himself admitted in a July reply to another user’s Tweet, “We’re still negative cash flow, due to ~50% drop in advertising revenue plus heavy debt load.”
The Times makes the case that advertisers are fleeing because of the many decisions Musk made that he couched in pro-free speech but in fact just created controversy.
As one of his first decisions as owner, Musk immediately decided to reinstate hundreds of Twitter accounts that had been banned for life.
He decided to charge for the blue checkmark validating a user’s account, and when most users pushed back against this, he doubled down by prioritizing accounts that paid him, leading many controversial accounts to be pushed to the top of results.
He dismantled the Advisory Board that helped the company with safety issues and addressed formerly important topics like the company’s response to disinformation.
This has culminated in the lambasting the platform has received from around the world in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict which has led multiple governments to fine X for its unwillingness to control pro-Hamas accounts that are actively spreading disinformation.
The Times takedown implies that Musk wants to blame everyone else for the company’s issues, instead of looking in the mirror.
Musk clearly seems to think that chaos drives views and is a sustainable business model.
But his former advertisers likely do not agree.