The only thing worse than being spoken about, as Elon Musk is discovering over at
Many commentators believe this caused server instability and why Musk instituted the 600-tweet limit last month. Although he later increased this “temporary emergency measure” and blamed it on “extreme levels of data scraping and system manipulation” purportedly by artificial intelligence (AI) services trying to build up databases of content.
Dangling by a, uh, Thread
But that latest brouhaha seemed enough to tip the scales for frustrated
But 100 million people signed up for it in the first five days and posted 95 million, er, threads, says a triumphant Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Nobody is talking about managing disinformation or that tricky little thing called content moderation.
Part of that large sign-up figure was due to the ease of downloading a companion app to Instagram. If you already have the picture-sharing app on your phone, it takes just one push of a button to sign in.
I haven’t had either Facebook or Instagram on my phone for about six years now, so I downloaded the latter to have a look at it again. It’s as awful as the last time I looked, in late February. For every one or two posts by people I actually follow, I was shown one advert and one “suggested” post (often really just another advert). So, half of what I saw was advertising. That’s a pretty shocking user experience.
Give Threads enough time and Zuckerberg will do the same. But by then many of those adventurous 100 million users will be long gone.
Over at Twitter…
Meanwhile, over at Twitter, it has found a CEO “foolish enough” to take over from owner Musk, but it is by no means out of trouble. Last month it emerged US advertising revenue had plunged 59% for the five weeks from 1 April to the first week in May, bringing in just $88 million, according to an internal presentation that the New York Times reported on.
New CEO Linda Yaccarino is a “long-time Madison Avenue power player,” as the paper described her. Musk poached her from a $13 billion business as chairman of global advertising and partnerships at US media giant NBCUniversal. As an advertising insider, she has a lot of damage control to do at Twitter, where Musk has let 75% of its staff go, stopped paying office rentals and Google server hosting and scared off the main source of revenue – advertisers.
In her first staff email, Yaccarino proclaimed that “Twitter is on a mission to become the world’s most accurate real-time information source and a global town square for communication”.
She has unfortunately continued with her boss’s penchant for hyperbole, adding: “We’re on the precipice of making history.”
Twitter is certainly on the precipice of something.
- This column was first published on Daily Maverick