In the news: Twitter and Elon Musk, TikTok vs. Instagram, & the latest on crypto

December 13, 2022

It has been a wild ride this past month as Elon Musk and Twitter have dominated tech headlines. 

We’ve had our popcorn ready as Musk forges ahead on his mission to create less restricted speech on the tech platform with his controversial scorched earth approach. Dare we say, we’re on the edge of our seats as we watch what Twitter will do next, and if it will succeed. 

Tech giants TikTok and Instagram also make waves this month. Instagram ceases and desists (for now) from competing directly with TikTok’s wildly successful model featuring full screen video feeds following outrage from its loyal and nostalgic user base. 

Following the FTX collapse, It’s no surprise crypto continues to stay at the top of the news cycle. The crypto industry continues to take big hits as BlockFi is yet another crypto firm in bankruptcy hot water.

November’s top tech stories have been anything but boring, so follow along below for quick hits to stay informed on this month’s can’t-miss headlines! 

“Instagram Cancels Plans for TikTok-Like Full-Screen Video Feed: What Brands Can Learn” - Hubspot

  • To go after their goal of competing directly with TikTok and capture the attention of the younger Gen X and Gen Z audience, Instagram announced a full screen video feed proposal and then canceled it soon after following an outcry from its users
  • A viral petition to “Make Instagram Instagram again” revealed a nostalgia from its users for its original intended use: to share photos with friends. Instagram’s current offerings provide a differentiator from Facebook, Twitter & TikTok that its users appreciate and look to Instagram to provide specifically
  • Although Instagram will remain faithful to photo sharing, it has said that over time more and more of Instagram will become video content
  • What can brands learn? Users want to know about major UX changes, understand what your audience wants from you, know when to innovate rather than compete and to pivot with grace.

“Elon Musk bought Twitter, and here’s everything that happened next” - TheVerge

  • Elon was Twitter’s largest individual shareholder, made an offer to buy Twitter for $44b, threatened to cancel the deal - and now we’re here.
  • He immediately began his private ownership and reign of Twitter by firing basically the entire c-suite and then initiating mass layoffs a week later 
  • He also made the entire office return to in person work immediately, fired & re-hired some of his open critics within the company as well as showed anyone the door by offering three months severance to those who weren’t onboard with new “hardcore” Twitter 
  • Since then, he has vacillated on policies such as the blue verification check mark as well as reinstating famous voices who were previously banned such as Kanye West and Donald Trump

“Musk threatens war with Apple” -

  • In the latest from Elon & Twitter, Elon fired off a series of tweets claiming that Apple was threatening to withhold Twitter from the App Store and he would proceed with making his own smartphone if Apple pulls Twitter.
  • Why does it matter? Musk is revealed a narrative that Apple is a monopoly that uses its voice to censor and charges an large tax “secret fee” on transactions in its App Store
  • Musk isn’t the only tech giant to call out App Store policies, he joins the ranks of Spotify and Meta as well 
  • He has used similar tactics to put pressure on advertisers who have threatened to pull ad dollars from Twitter
  • With content moderation rules enforced by Google & Apple, Musk has to play in his journey to reduce the platform’s limits on speech. Not only because half of the country uses Apple phones and most of Twitter’s revenue comes from ads, but to ensure abusive, violent and threatening content is properly moderated on Twitter.
  • If Musk can meet moderation standards - all eyes are on Apple.

“Elon Musk claims Apple has threatened to remove the Twitter app” -

“Why some tech CEOs are rooting for Elon Musk” - TheVerge

  • The radical remaking of Twitter is having a positive reception from other Tech Ceos. And it might not be for what you think.
  • Musk is garnering support for his scorched earth policies from other CEOs who might inherently distrust their workforce to work remotely and do their jobs as well as those who might not be as committed to supporting DEI policies. 
  • After reinstating many suspended twitter accounts (including former President Trump) in what employees call” the big bang”, calling out Apple, weeding out engineering talent through rigorous internal code reviews -  will Musk succeed & will other CEOs take up his tactics?

“Crypto finance firm BlockFi files for bankruptcy following the fall of FTX” - TheVerge

  • BlockFi is the latest firm to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a “contagion” of failed crypto firms.
  • In order to stabilize its business amid the collapse of FTX, BlockFi cites restructuring its business, laying off employees and recovering all obligations owed to them - including from FTX, which all but folded underneath a financial scandal this November.
  • Stating they have the necessary liquidity to explore all options - what’s next for BlockFi in the wake of firms like FTX folding?

It’s safe to say 2023 has been anything but predictable as the world has held its breath on the edge of a looming global recession.

The tech market has been feeling its effects as tech giants no longer seem so insulated from economic downturns or immune from the current wave of mass layoffs.  So we ask the question, what will 2023 bring? 

Who will be the ones to make waves (besides Elon Musk), what companies will stay profitable- or not, and what trends will remain relevant or fall by the wayside as the market twists and turns? 



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