Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and founder of PayPal, radically reorganized Twitter in October and November, and now, is the subject of much criticism from the media. He has laid off hundreds of employees and fired the advisory board. In addition, he reinstated the formerly suspended accounts of Jordan Peterson, parody news site The Babylon Bee, and most outrageously, former president Donald Trump.
A few days ago, somehow it was assumed across the Twitter sphere that the entire platform was about to implode. I started seeing people post things like, “If this is my last tweet, I’m okay with that…” Not sure what was happening, I experienced a sudden flood of similar tweets prophesying the Twitter era’s impending demise. Apparently, because of the layoffs, Twitter simply wouldn’t be able to sustain itself for much longer.
But the platform still exists as of today and is experiencing a record number of daily users. Musk himself seems optimistic about the future of the platform, and despite CBS News and a number of celebrities disavowing Twitter, thinks the place is better and more interesting than ever. “Whatever Twitter is, it’s not boring,” Musk joked.
The hyper-focus on Twitter’s layoffs and apparent woes has taken center stage in recent weeks, but what about Zuckerberg’s Meta empire? Musk let some 2,000 employees go. Zuckerberg fired 11,000. Granted, that’s out of some 87,000 total employees, but still, it’s no small thing to fire 13 percent of your company’s workforce. Zuckerberg was apologetic in his memo to the employees, while Musk has been characterized as being much curter and more unfeeling in his choice to fire half the company. Their differing public images might have something to do with the media responding with such antagonism to Musk in recent weeks.
However, with similar layoffs affecting multiple tech companies besides just these two, it’s worth asking if this is the natural, albeit unfortunate, cycle of things. It might take a lot of startup manpower to generate a company like Meta or Twitter, but how many jobs remain relevant to the company in the long run? Maybe some jobs are simply no longer needed. Twitter has struggled to make money, as well; Elon Musk said the company was losing 4 million dollars a day before he came in as acting CEO. That’s a lot to be losing.
But what about Meta? The metaverse project, as I wrote about here, has failed to make the profits Zuckerberg hoped for, but it is also probable that, like Musk, he has realized that he doesn’t need so many people to run his company. That’s unfortunate for those who have lost their jobs, but the media should also practice a similar posture toward Twitter. Musk and Zuckerberg both made the tough decisions to try and keep their social media empires afloat. Something had to be done about it. In Musk’s case, he inherited the issues from his predecessors while Zuckerberg is responsible for the current shape of his company. It seems that, in order for Twitter to survive, Musk had to get down to business.
Despite criticism of Musk and the doomsday predictions of Twitter’s demise, the social media platform looks stronger than ever. Zuckerberg, meanwhile, will continue to treasure his metaverse project as the path into the virtual future of humanity. For right now, Musk is just having fun, and people are signing up for it.
It will be interesting to see how the two companies move forward with these two leaders at the helm.