CBS News is halting its activity on Twitter over Elon Musk’s turbulent and potentially devastating moves following his takeover of the company.
“In light of the uncertainty around Twitter and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform,” Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News national correspondent, said in a report about the latest chaos at the company on the “CBS Evening News” Friday.
A statement with nearly identical wording was shared Friday by the Twitter account of KPIX, the CBS-owned station in San Francisco.
Currently, the most recent post on @CBSNews is a retweet of a segment shared at 3:38 p.m. ET about Attorney General Merrick Garland’s appointment of a special counsel to oversee investigations into Donald Trump. On @CBSEveningNews, the most recent tweet is story about a dog that “turned herself in to police after getting lost during a walk,” which was posted at 5 p.m. ET; @CBSMornings last posted at 3:30 p.m. ET, linking to an article about users speculating about “whether Twitter will live or die.”
CBS News’ decision to step back from Twitter comes a little more than three weeks into Musk’s ownership of the company — over which time Twitter’s employee base has shrunk to about 33% its former size. At least 1,200 Twitter employees reportedly quit Thursday, refusing to agree to Musk’s demand they work “long hours at high intensity.” That has raised concerns about Twitter’s ability to keep the service operating reliably and safely with headcount estimated to now be around 2,500 (down from 7,500 prior to Musk’s $44 billion acquisition).
Another looming question: whether Musk will allow Trump back on Twitter. The ex-president in early 2021 was kicked off Twitter over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol aiming to subvert the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
On Friday, Musk launched a poll asking his 116 million-plus followers whether Twitter should reinstate Trump. After almost 6 million votes, 55.4% were in favor of unbanning Trump.
Musk also said Twitter was reinstating comedian Kathy Griffin’s account (after she was suspended for impersonating Musk) as well as those of right-wing figure Jordan Peterson and satire site Babylon Bee (both of which had been banned by Twitter for violations of its “hateful conduct” policy over anti-transgender posts).
After the mass resignations at Twitter, Musk — the richest individual in the world — called an emergency meeting of engineers Friday, requesting that “anyone who actually writes software” report to the company’s San Francisco headquarters. The mega-billionaire also asked engineers to send him “what your code commands have achieved in the past ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.”