Lineker contacts Musk after Twitter user sends abusive message to son
Lineker tweets a screenshot of a private message sent by a Twitter user describing his eldest son, George, as a “mug” who needed to be “burned at the stake” for defending his father.
Is this acceptable @Twitter @elonmusk? And I don’t mean the grammar.
Musk does not respond.
Is this acceptable @Twitter @elonmusk? And I don’t mean the grammar. pic.twitter.com/fCVIIq3we2
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) March 14, 2023
Musk supports Adams, says ‘The media is racist’
The media is racist. For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians. Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America. Maybe they can try not being racist.
For a *very* long time, US media was racist against non-white people, now they’re racist against whites & Asians.
Same thing happened with elite colleges & high schools in America.
Maybe they can try not being racist.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 26, 2023
Massive Twitter outage
Many users find they cannot tweet, retweet, quote tweet and direct message on Twitter, with users recieving messages such as:
You are over the daily limit for sending tweets
Some users could not access their direct message, with the tab only showing the message “something went wrong.”
Musk sends a brief email to Twitter staff, instructing them to “pause new feature development” in order to ensure “system stability and robustness”.
Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We're aware and working to get this fixed.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) February 8, 2023
Musk announces Master Plan 3, says ‘the future is bright’
Musk announces the the third version of Tesla’s “master plan” on March 1. At the upcoming investor day to be held at its gigafactory in Texas, Tesla said it will share details about its next-generation vehicle platforms, which Musk has said would produce a vehicle about half the cost of Tesla’s current vehicle underpinings. Tesla also said it will discuss long-term expansion plans, capital allocation and other subjects. Master Plan, Part Deux was released in 2016 and Part 1 in 2006.
Master Plan 3, the path to a fully sustainable energy future for Earth will be presented on March 1. The future is bright!
Master Plan 3, the path to a fully sustainable energy future for Earth will be presented on March 1.
The future is bright! pic.twitter.com/11ug0LRlbD
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2023
Report: Twitter has 180,000 US subscribers
According to The Information, only 180,000 people in the US have paid for a Twitter Blue subscription, 0.2% of the website’s monthly active users. The publication said it saw the information on a document that also revealed that 62% company’s paying users reside in the US, meaning Twitter has approximately 290,000 subscribers worldwide. Musk told Twitter employees last year that he wants half of the website’s revenue to come from subscriptions. One avenue the company is considering to earn more from its subscription services is to offer a higher-priced membership tier that allows users to browse the website with zero ads.
Musk found not guilty of Tesla tweet fraud
In less than two hours, nine jurors unanimously clear Musk of wrongdoing in a Tesla shareholder class action suit, taken over a tweet in which he said he had “funding secured” to take the electric carmaker private in August 2018. The proposed $72bn (£60bn) buyout never materialised. Sharholders claimed Musk had lied when he tweeted later in the day that “investor support is confirmed”. According to an economist hired by the shareholders, investor losses were calculated as high as $12bn. During the three-week trial, Musk, who took the stand for nearly nine hours, argued he thought he had a verbal commitment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for the deal.
Musk tweets his thansk to the jurors:
Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed!
I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 take-private case.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 3, 2023
Tesla lost $140m on Bitcoin in 2022
According to SEC filings, Tesla lost $140m on its Bitcoin investments in 2022, losing $204m overall, although it gained back $64m through trading. The company holds $184m in Bitcoin, having offloaded most of its initial £1.5 billion purchase a few weeks after it was purchased in early 2021.
Musk locks his Twitter account
Musk makes his Twitter account private – only visible to his followers – after hearing reports from users that posts on private accounts were getting more reach than public accounts. Normally, an account would see less engagement when going private as doing this blocks users from being able to retweet posts. When a Twitter user showed that, of two similar tweets posted in the same five-minute period, the one posted when the account was locked received five times as many likes, Musk replies:
Wow, this is extremely concerning
Made my account private until tomorrow morning to test whether you see my private tweets more than my public ones
This helped identify some issues with the system. Should be addressed by next week.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 2, 2023
Some users questioned why Musk was doing this test, when he owns the platform.
Musk: Expendable Starship is ‘an option’
Musk says SpaceX could eventually develop an expendable version of its next-generation Starship rocket.
Expendable upper stage may or may not fly, but it is an option
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 31, 2023
Starship is designed to launch up to 150 tons (330,000 lbs) to low Earth orbit while still recovering the orbital ship and suborbital booster for reuse (by comaprison, the Saturn V rocket could lift 118 tons). Musk says the reusable ship may be turned aoround in hours, enabling multiple flights a day, lowering the price of each launch. However, in early 2023, SpaceX updated the Starship section of its website, revealing that an expendable version of the rocket will be able to launch up to 250 metric tons (~550,000 lbs) to low Earth orbit in a single launch.
StarshipSpaceX’s Starbase factory is already building multiple intentionally-expendable Starships. Ship 26 and Ship 27 feature no thermal protection, have no heat shield tiles, and will not be fitted with flaps, making them impossible to recover or reuse. They will be used to test other crucial Starship technologies like orbital refilling and cryogenic fluid management. The first few Starship Moon landers may also be functionally expendable.
SEC probes Musk Tesla self-driving claims
US regulators are investigating Elon Musk’s role as part of an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission probe of the company’s statements about its Autopilot driver-assistance system. SEC officials are weighing whether Musk may have inappropriately made forward-looking statements, although which statements have not been revealed.
An investigation by the agency’s enforcement unit doesn’t always lead to consequences, but can result in lawsuits, fines or other civil penalties for companies and executives.
Musk meets Biden EV officials
Musk meets with Podesta, Biden’s senior advisor for clean energy innovation, and Landrieu, who oversees infrastructure spending, in the building that houses Tesla’s Washington lobbying operation and the Center for American Progress, Podesta’s think tank.
John Podesta and Mitch Landrieu met with Elon Musk to discuss shared goals around electrification and how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act can advance electric vehicle production and charging as well as the broader cause of electrification
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2023
Musk denies Twitter use hurts Tesla, expects share price recovery
On an Earnings Call with investors [transcript], Musk rejects that his political influencing on Twitter is hurting Tesla’s brand.
Since Elon started political influencing, polls from Morning Consult & YouGov show Tesla brand favorability declining in 2022 and division along partisan lines. Such brand damage can impact demand. Does Tesla track favorability and how will any brand damage be mitigated?
Musk replies by citing his own popularity on Twitter:
Well, let me check my Twitter account (pause as he appears to actually pull out his phone). So I got 127 million followers and it continues to grow rapidly. That suggests that I’m reasonably popular. Now I might not be popular with some people, but for the vast majority of people, my follower count speaks for itself. I have the most interacted social account maybe in the world – certainly on Twitter.
And then talking about his impact on the brand:
I think Twitter is actually an incredibly powerful tool for driving demand for Tesla…I would really encourage companies out there of all kinds, automotive or otherwise, to make more use of Twitter and to use their Twitter accounts in ways that are interesting and informative, entertaining, and it will help them drive sales just as it has with Tesla.
Musk says he expects Tesla’s share price to recover over the long-term, though warned that he anticipated a “pretty difficult recession” in 2023 which could lead to setbacks.
We think demand will be good despite, probably, a contraction in the automotive market as a whole…There’s going to be bumps along the way and we’ll probably have a pretty difficult recession this year, probably. I hope not, but probably.
Crown Estate sues Twitter for London HQ back rent
Britain’s Crown Estate, an independent commercial business that manages the property portfolio belonging to the UK monarchy, issues court proceedings to Musk’s Twitter for rental arrears, in relation to an office space close to London’s Piccadilly Circus. In December, Musk stopped paying rent on all of Twitter’s office space around the world, including its headquarters, in a cost-cutting effort.
Musk: I had enough funds to take Tesla private
On his second day of testimony in a court case where he is accused of artificially boosting Tesla’s stock price with a tweet, Musk says that he had sufficient financial backing to take Tesla private. Musk says he believed it was “a done deal” that the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund would support a possible attempt to take Tesla private at $420 a share, a 20 per cent premium at the time, though he acknowledged there was no contract and that many details had not been worked out.
Musk said the PIF had “many multiples” of what was required to take Tesla private, especially because it was not expected to purchase the entire company, and added that his own shares in SpaceX, his rocket company, would make up for any shortfall.
It’s important for the jury to know that
Musk, said it was “difficult to say” if Tesla shares would rise or fall based on his tweet, because markets can act in “counter-intuitive” ways, but admitted it was more likely it would rise.
I expected that there (would) probably be some increase in the stock price — seems likely. If you say that you’re considering taking a company private or acquiring a company . . . there is going to be some premium . . . In this case, I’m clear about what the premium would be.
Mussk disagreed with the shareholders’ lawyers, who suggested the $420 price was based on a reference to cannabis that his girlfriend at the time found funny, saying he was applying a 20 per cent premium to the stock, then rounding up slightly.
There is some karma around 420, although I’d question (whether it) is good or bad karma, at this point
Musk: Twitter to launch ad-free subscription tier
Musk says Twitter is planning an advertising-free version of its subscription product. Increasing subscription revenue is a key part of the social media platform’s business plan under his ownership.
There will be a higher priced subscription that allows zero ads.
Also, there will be a higher priced subscription that allows zero ads
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2023
Twitter votes for Musk to keep talking about politics
Musk runs a Twitter poll, asking users if he should either ‘Stay out of politics’ or ‘Keep shooting his feet’, with the result that 57.2% voted for the latter option. 595,182 votes were cast.
Elon Musk should
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2023
Musk responds to the poll, saying:
Ouch my feet!
Ouch my feet!! https://t.co/4pqBY6rZDu
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 5, 2023
The Twitter Files 11: How Twitter Let the Intelligence Community In
Musk, through Taibbi, releases The Twitter Files: How Twitter Let the Intelligence Community In, which further details Twitter’s relationship with Intellignce angencies, such as the FBI.
1.THREAD: The Twitter Files
How Twitter Let the Intelligence Community In
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 3, 2023
Taibbi says that in August 2017, when Facebook decided to suspend 300 accounts with “suspected Russian origin”, that Twitter’s leaders were sure they didn’t have a Russia problem, noting that while Facebook had issues with “hundreds of accounts”, Twitter only had issues with around 25. The company’s PR strategy was to deflect to Facebook’s problems. Public Policy VP Colin Crowell:
Twitter is not the focus of inquiry into Russian election meddling right now – the spotlight is on FB
In September 2017, after a manual examination, Twitter informed the senate it suspended 22 possibel Russian accoutns and 179 others with “possible links” to those. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia – ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee – held an immediate press conference to denounce Twitter’s report as “frankly inadequate on every level.”
After meeting with congressional leaders, Crowell wrote:
Warner has political incentive to keep this issue at top of the news, maintain pressure on us and rest of industry to keep producing material for them.
Cromwell also said that Democracts were taking cues from Hillary Clinton, who that week said:
It’s time for Twitter to stop dragging its heels and live up to the fact that its platform is being used as a tool for cyber-warfare.
Twitter formed a “Russia Task Force” to proactively self-investigate. Bu despite forming a “Russia Taks fForce”, which worked with data shared form Facebook, investigatinge accounts supposedly tied to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), the research came to nothing.
Oct 13, 2017: No evidence of a coordinated approach, all of the accounts found seem to be lone-wolf type activity (different timing, spend, targeting, <$10k in ad spend).
Oct 14, 2017: First round of RU investigation… 15 high risk accounts, 3 of which have connections with Russia, although 2 are RT.
Oct 20. 2017: Built new version of the model that is lower precision but higher recall which allows to catch more items. We aren’t seeing substantially more suspicious accounts. We expect to find ~20 with a small amount of spend.
Oct 23, 2017: Finished with investigation… 2500 full manual account reviews, we think this is exhaustive… 32 suspicious accounts and only 17 of those are connected with Russia, only 2 of those have significant spend one of which is Russia Today…remaining <$10k in spend.
According to Taibbi, the Taks Force’s failure deepened the company’s PR crisis: Following Warner’s press conference, stories sourced to the Intel Committee “poured” into the news, inlcuding a story Politico that said “Twitter deleted data potentially crucial to Russia probes.” Johns Hopkins Professor (and Intel Committee “expert”) Thomas Rid:
Were Twitter a contractor for the FSB… they could not have built a more effective disinformation platform.
In Washington weeks after the first briefing, Twitter leaders were told by Senate staff that “Sen Warner feels like tech industry was in denial for months.” Added an Intel staffer said there was “Big interest in Politico article about deleted accounts.”
As this pressure rose, Taibbi says the company changed its tune and Twitter “pledged to work with them on their desire to legislate”. However, even as Twitter prepared to change its ads policy and remove RT and Sputnik to placate Washington, congress turned the heat up more, apparently leaking the larger, base list of 2700 accounts.
Reporters started to call Twitter about Russia links. Buzzfeed, working with the University of Sheffield, claimed to find a “new network” on Twitter that had “close connections to… Russian-linked bot accounts.” but the company internally did not want to endorse the Buzzfeed/Sheffield findings, saying “it will only embolden them”. Twitter apologised to the for the same accounts they’d initially told the Senate were not a problem.
Taibbi says this This cycle – threatened legislation, wedded to scare headlines pushed by congressional/intel sources, followed by Twitter caving to moderation asks – would later be formalized in partnerships with federal law enforcement. The company settled on it’s prosture: In public, it removed content “at our sole discretion.” Privately, they would “off-board” anything “identified by the U.S. intelligence community as a state-sponsored entity conducting cyber-operations.” Crowell, in an email to the company’s leaders:
We will not be reverting to the status quo.
Musk: Twitter to break even in 2023
Musk explains Twitter’s financial situtaion during a Twitter Spaces chat, saying that after cutting staff and costs, Twitter is now on track to bring in around $3 billion in revenue in 2023 – roughly $2 billion less than the $5.1 billion reported at the end of 2021, while the company has $1 billion in cash on its balance sheet. He in part blamed the $12.5 billion in debt tied to his April agreement to buy the company, as well as the Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate hikes.
[It was like being] in a plane that is headed towards the ground at high speed with the engine on fire and the controls don’t work…With the changes that we’re making here on massively reducing the burn rate and building subscriber revenue, I now think that Twitter will, in fact, be OK next year, I think we will be…roughly cash-flow break-even — that’s what I expect for next year.
He says advertisers have been asking “sane” but “tough” questions about their return on investment,
[Decisions] may seem sometimes spurious or odd or whatever. It’s because we have an emergency fire drill on our hands. That’s the reason. Not because I’m naturally capricious. Or at least, aspirationally, I’m not naturally capricious.
Musk to step down as Twitter CEO once replacement found
Following the poll where Twitter users said they wanted him to step down as CEO, Musk says he will leave the position once a replacement has been found.
I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.
I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2022
The Twitter Files: Part 7 – The FBI & the Hunter Biden Laptop
Musk, through Schellenberger, releases The Twitter Files 7: The FBI & the Hunter Biden Laptop. The documents aim to show that the FBI and the intelligence community (IC) discredited factual information about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings both before and after The New York Post revealed the contents of his laptop on October 14, 2020.
1. TWITTER FILES: PART 7
The FBI & the Hunter Biden Laptop
How the FBI & intelligence community discredited factual information about Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings both after and *before* The New York Post revealed the contents of his laptop on October 14, 2020
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
Schellenberger recaps that Biden’s laptop was confiscated by the FBI on Dec 20, 2019, after the agency was alerted by JP Isaac, the owner of Delaware computer store, where Biden had left the laptop for repairs. Even though Isaac had discovered evidence of criminal activity, the FBI had still not contacted him by Aug 2020, so he contacted Rudy Giuliani, who is under FBI surveillance. In early October, Giuliani gives the information to the Post.
At 7pm. October 13, after learning that the Post will publish the story, Biden’s lawyer contacts Isaac. At 9.22pm, FBI Special Agent Elvis Chan sends ten documents to Yoel Roth, Head of Trust & Security at Twitter, through Teleporter, a secure, one-way communications channel from the FBI to Twitter.
The Post’s story is published on October 14. Despite it being factually correct, within hours, Twitter and other social media companies censor the Post’s article, preventing it from spreading and, more importantly, undermining its credibility in the minds of many Americans.
Schellenberger says that during 2020 the FBI and other law enforcement agencies repeatedly primed Roth to dismiss reports of Biden’s laptop as a Russian “hack and leak” operation. They also approached Facebook. Shellenberger shows documents where Chan says there was no new intelligence to support this conclusion. Twitter staff also noted that there was little Russian activity on the site.
[W]e haven’t yet identified activity that we’d typically refer to you (or even flag as interesting in the foreign influence context).
On several ocassions Roth pushed back on the FBI’s claims, and resisted FBI efforts to get Twitter to share data outside the normal search warant process. In July 2020, Chan arranges for temporary Top Secret security clearances for Twitter executives so that the FBI can share information about threats to the upcoming elections. On August 11, 2020, Chan shares information with Roth relating to the Russian hacking organization, APT28, through Teleporter.
Schellenberger notes that there were so many ex-FBI staff at Twitter that they had their own Slack channel. High-profile hires included Jim Baker (Head Counsel), who played a central role in making the case internally for an investigation of Donald Trump, and Dawn Burton (Director of Strategy), the former dep. chief of staff to FBI head James Comey, who initiated the investigation of Trump.
In Sept 2020, Roth participated in an Aspen Institute “tabletop exercise” on a potential “Hack-and-Dump” operation relating to Hunter Biden. Schellenberger says the goal was to shape how the media covered it — and how social media carried it
By mid-Sept, 2020, Chan & Roth had set up an encrypted messaging network so employees from FBI & Twitter could communicate. They also agree to create a “virtual war room” for “all the [Internet] industry plus FBI and ODNI” [Office of the Director of National Intelligence].
On Sept 15, 2020 the FBI’s Laura Dehmlow, who heads up the Foreign Influence Task Force, and Chan, request to give a classified briefing for Baker, without any other Twitter staff, such as Roth, present.
On Oct 14, shortly after The Post publishes the laptop story, Roth says:
It isn’t clearly violative of our Hacked Materials Policy, nor is it clearly in violation of anything else…My personal view on this, unsubstantiated by hard evidence as yet, is that this feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation.
The same day and the next, in response to Roth, Baker repeatedly insists that the Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both, and a violation of Twitter policy. Schellenberger:
It’s inconceivable Baker believed the Hunter Biden emails were either fake or hacked. The Post had included a picture of the receipt signed by Hunter Biden, and an FBI subpoena showed that the agency had taken possession of the laptop in December 2019.
By 10am, Oct 15, Roth accepts the hacking story:
The suggestion from experts – which rings true – is there was a hack that happened separately, and they loaded the hacked materials on the laptop that magically appeared at a repair shop in Delaware (and was coincidentally reviewed in a very invasive way by someone who coincidentally then handed the materials to Rudy Giuliani). Given the severe risks we saw in this space in 2016, we’re recommending a warning + deamplification pending further information.
In Dec. 2020, Baker and his colleagues sent a note of thanks to the FBI for its work.
Schellenberger notes that the FBI’s influence campaign may have been helped by the fact that it paid Twitter over $3 million for its staff time from Oct 2019.