You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

What’s wrong with Twitter in 2023? Check out the latest catastrophes

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 06/02/2023 Andrew Williams

There have been so many Twitter headlines recently, we’ve started reading them through our fingers, cautious of what horrors are up next.

It’s been a downhill slide ever since Elon Musk took over the social network in October 2022, for £35.8 billion. Twitter is likely not worth anything like that much any more, with revenues having dropped by a reported 40 per cent.

If you’ve started to gloss over the Twitter news, here’s a quick round-up of what we think are some of the most eyebrow-raising stories of 2023 so far, in bite-size form.

Musk locks his own account for better reach

If you want a stark lesson about what happens if you lay off most of the people who know how your platform works, read on. Musk made his account private, after complaints from some of his favourite far-right tweeters that their posts were no longer getting the reach they should.

Posts were going more-or-less nowhere in early February, unless you set it so only your followers could see them, by locking your account. It’s a comical situation considering Musk has labelled himself a free-speech absolutist. He has since made his account public again, saying, “This helped identify some issues with the system. Should be addressed by next week.”

 (Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

Bird charity blocked for talking about birds

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) found its account was blocked, for eight days, after posting about a “woodcock”, a “large, bulky wading bird with short legs”, according to the RSPB.

The BTO tried to talk to Twitter’s PR and customer-service teams but found everyone they looked up had left the company. Musk had reportedly fired the Twitter communications team in November 2022.

Musk replied with a “humorous” tweet when the BBC wrote the story up. Of course he did.

Twitter HQ given a warning about using offices as bedrooms

Twitter’s San Francisco office is in a right old state. According to a New York Times story, “People [are] packed into more confined spaces, the smell of leftover takeout food and body odour has lingered on the floors.”

This is because office space has been doubling as living space at Twitter’s HQ. San Francisco’s building inspectors have given the company two weeks to get the correct permit for these bedrooms. Not only are some Twitter employees being made to sleep at work, but they are also technically doing so illegally.

Elsewhere, Twitter finds itself in more office-based bother. London’s Crown Estate is suing the company for rent arrears on its London office at 20 Air Street, near Piccadilly Circus Tube station.

One of the ‘bedrooms’ at Twitter San Francisco (BBC) © Provided by Evening Standard One of the ‘bedrooms’ at Twitter San Francisco (BBC)

The Taliban is loving Twitter Blue

The infamous terror group – which is now the totalitarian theocratic ruling party of Afghanistan — has made good use of Twitter Blue membership this year.

Taliban members who bought the verification mark last month include Abdul Haq Hammad, head of the media watchdog at the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, with more than 170,000 followers and counting, as well as the head of the Taliban’s department for “access to information” Hedayatullah Hedayat (nearly 190,000 followers).

Meanwhile, former Taliban official Muhammad Jalal proclaimed Musk was “making Twitter great again”, according to the BBC. This is one of the problems of making a system where having a “verified” check rests solely on whether you pay a fee each month.

Twitter bans third-party apps, will charge devs

Third-party apps have been a “must” for just about anyone looking to undertake serious social-media work on Twitter since the platform was established. This is because, let’s be honest, Twitter’s own interface implementations in apps and on desktop are pretty rubbish.

This has eased the burden on Twitter’s own dev team over the years, letting other developers create the specialist-power user features Twitter never has the resources to generate.

However, all that has been thrown out of the window. Twitter has announced its intention to charge developers for the use of Twitter APIs, after weeks of them being effectively broken. APIs are the building blocks app developers use to communicate with platforms like Twitter. No APIs, no third-party Twitter apps.

Register now for one of the Evening Standard’s newsletters. From a daily news briefing to Homes & Property insights, plus lifestyle, going out, offers and more. For the best stories in your inbox, click here.


More from Evening Standard

Evening Standard
Evening Standard
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon