tv Inside Story Al Jazeera July 11, 2022 10:30am-11:01am AST
oh, this is tom till the bankers com boys you know, i know made you how you and i have a very tough relationship with songs, but i will call them. thank you for putting up with it and then the crowd. it's been amazing couple weeks and maple. some of it is, this is this when has moved, yoko beach above roger federer on the old time grand slam windows list only, raphael and the dull is still ahead of him, son. hum moose and dizzy it on. ah, hello again. the headlines on al jazeera, all sri lankan cabinet ministers have resigned to make way for a new all party government. the move comes off to protest or is occupied the residences of the president on prime minister and refused to leave michelle fernandez as more from colombo. i'm right opposite the entrance to the presidential residence. that is the gate that you see just behind me,
with cloud crowds milling just outside. now there's thousands of people who keep coming in streaming in to have a look. it's probably, and they will occupy these premises until such time that they actually see president gotten, be roger boxer, resign and leave office. japan's prime minister from la casita has promised to carry on the legacy of sions, obey who was assassinated on friday. it comes after his party and its coalition partner won a 2 thirds majority and sundays parliamentary elections. people in syria's last rebel held enclave in italy, province have lost access to vital aids. after the un security council failed to authorize deliveries for another year. last week, russia veto, to resolution extending the shipments. south africa, presidents has condemned 3 separate shootings that killed at least 21 people. the worst incident was in a bar and johannesburg biggest township. so what, so where 15 people were shot dead,
cyril ramco says the killing describe the killings is unacceptable. and worrying. nigerian media reporting the release of a further 7 hostages by gunman, who attacked a train in the northwest. in march. the train was blown up as it traveled from the capital of boucher to could do. now. at least 8 people were killed and dozens captured in the attack. 44 passengers are still being held. a wildfire is threatening a grove of ancient trees and one of america's most famous national parks. yosemite is home to more than 500 giants, a co your trees park. officials say the fire has more than doubled in size. in one day in bosnia herzegovina, 50 bodies of newly discovered victims of the starboard, each massacre will be buried on monday. a 1000 muslim men and boys were murdered by bosnian serb forces in and around separate each in 1900. 95. inside story is coming up next on al jazeera by by we understand the different states,
similarity of culture across the world. so no matter what, i'll just walk around, we'll bring you the news and current affairs. the matter to you, in our dizzying era, twitter says that it will take legal action against the law must for pulling out of a takeover deal mosque accused the platform of what he called a material breach of their agreement, but will not be enough to win the case of what's likely to happen next. this is inside story. ah, ah. hello, welcome to the program. i'm adrian finnegan. one of the richest people on the planet says that he's changed his mind about buying twitter,
tesla seo. ellen musk says that fake accounts could amount to a 5th of twit as users. that's 4 times more. but he was initially told the company denies this and says that it will so mosque to push through the deal. we'll begin our discussion in just a moment, but 1st a report from out cirrus phantom on a $44000000000.00 deal to buy. twitter is the richest man the world. ellen musk says he's terminating the contract 3 months after locking in the agreement with iq used the company of failing to provide information about fake accounts on the platform and whether they make up fewer than 5 percent of users. twitters board chair says it kept its end of the contract as planning to sue. i think twitter probably would prevail in this. i would think simply because there are there of a deal, know he must, can get out by paying a $1000000000.00 fine or $1000000000.00. it's, but it's our a fine, a $1000000000.00 penalty. and my guess is that that's what he's trying to prevent
is not having to make that $1000000000.00 payment for money. the focus now turns to stocks and whether twitter and tesla, which must owns will take a hit by the investors wanna see must just get back to focus has the space x. because twitter from the beginning, you just really been a distraction, has been overhanging stock. musk speed to take over twitter stirred controversy back in april. critics. we're concerned the tesla ceo would promote misinformation on the popular social media site, especially on matters related to politics and health. most said the acquisition was about stopping censorship and defending freedom of speech. analysts say the billionaire may have experienced buyer's remorse is trying to walk away, and the wait is contracts are structured. it's very difficult for buyers to walk away. either their, these contracts are drafted with a hot air to, to provide a high degree of certainty for the sellers. now, terminating the $44000000000.00 contract will have to play out on the legal front.
and social media will surely have plenty to say about it. then merlin, al jazeera. ah, so let's bring it, i guess from new york, we joined by jim anderson, ceo of social flow attack and social content distribution company from london, charles, author, author of social warming, a book on social media, inherent unavoidable effects and from new york in miles, founder of oceans x, y, z, and a consultant on social media content strategy and branding gentlemen welcomed t will. jim will start with you before we get into the nitty gritty of this deal and ellen musk and everything that's going on right now. i think we, we need to get back to basics for just a few minutes. at least, i'm willing to bet that for every avid twitter user, there are just as many people who don't have an account aren't interested in the premise or have an account and don't use it and just don't get what it's for. why would anyone be willing to pay billions to buy twitter?
well, it's all about attention and consumer attention and the 300000000 or so people on twitter are very influential if you want to reach politicians, if you want to reach political reporters. twitter is a great place to do that, so i think elan masks attention originally was genuine to twitter. it is an important platform. just look at how former president donald trump used, or in many cases misuse twitter to reach his base and deliver his methods. so i think him masks in things where, wow, this is really powerful, really important. i just don't think he thought through very clearly what it really meant to get it. and this for your pretext that the box and spam are a real problem and that's nothing more than a pretext is complete nonsense. and he's just trying to manufacture or reason to get out of the deal because the prices are fine and watch him for someone who doesn't know what are we talking about when we're talking about bots and fake accounts and, and spam. what does that mean? well, it turns out as it's remarkably difficult to actually quantify and twitter will
allow you to sign up a fictitious satirical account, i could sign up an account that says, even mux in our brain and start tweeting, what i think you know, you must, might, might be thinking there's plenty of satire, accounts like that. some people would say that fraud, some people would say that satire and comedy. and so you get those kinds of issues . in the analogy i use trying to understand the number of spam and bought a counseling, twitter, it is a little bit like trying to count the number of fish in the ocean, right. it changes all the time. it depends on where you look at what you saw today is going to be very different than what you see tomorrow. and it's a very moving ecosystem of accounts being created, deleted twitter takes them down. so there's a whole lot of activity going on. and again, it's just a complete nonsensical pretext. chung's office is twitter good society, to what extent a most use as simply reinforcing their own world view. when they scroll through that timeline, it's an echo chamber, isn't it? sure, it can make people feel better about themselves and, and that point of view on
a whole range of issues. but is that good for people and is it a good long term business plan? sometimes is good for society sometimes and sometimes it is useful in it. so for example, in the u. k, we just had a week where we had a political crisis and ministers were resigning, left, right, and center. they were doing it on further putting out their resignation. love is that which all lead to the build up of pressuring as the prime minister who wants to stay on earth. while anchoring on, we had a new protest against the, the government there are. and a lot of that has been to long to some extent by social media. so twitter has a role. i mean, the question, why would someone wonder? and it's, if it didn't exist you, you'd want to invent it because it is so useful for spreading news drugs. but when you haven't got things that going on, and then yes, it tends to just fuel animosity because of the way that it works. because the
twitter engagement is the thing, at least show people adverts, what needs them using the service. and the way to do that is either either to show them things they agree with completely or else to show them the things they really disagree with completely him will argue about. so basically the business model is make people argue with each other, so they spend longer on twitter and which is slightly away from what are the ex, utility of the services to make it useful. they're charged. you have to be following the right sorts of people, don't you? what he does, this is one of twitters real failings over the years is that it was so useful from the start and it became so useful and really from 2009 when the news story about a plane crashing in the hudson river went worldwide. and was actually that was on twitter before on any of the main media substance where the picture shown what had actually happened that went demonstrated how to make a difference to are the information flow around. well, the trouble is,
it's never managed to actually unlock the way in which she can show people things that to me, her interests, even though we show twitter what it is we're interested in by who we choose to follow all the time. so with that, there's a sort of inherent contradiction. neil must kept on saying that he was gonna unlocked with his value, corporate powerful, the span on the bought stuff, own back yet to be done. and it's a sort of project that maybe will actually be worth doing if, if he actually thought it was worth doing. but her clearly change his mind about it . they say charles, that that twitter knows what we're interested in because of who we choose to follow . this is a point that i want to put to to in myers in as a, as a journalist, i have a twitter account. i've had one for many years. i hardly ever post though, because i feel personally that i don't have much to add to the shouting of the arguing that it goes on a sometimes as a journalist, it's good for breaking news is just just saying twitter usually is twitter users
are usually well ahead of the mainstream media, but twitter, the company when it tweets, news is usually well behind the curve and tells me things that i don't know. it's adds a badly targeted at me anyway. as far as i'm concerned, i'm for ever having to tell it that i'm not interested in nearly everything that it pushes at. be nice. that's my experience with 7000 followers. how many other users are getting the same? is twitter a good business? is it well run, and is it worth spending billions of dollars on it's? it's a good question. i think it depends on your perspective. i mean, for journalists, certainly part of the utility is at least in the u. s. i'm not sure the extent that you pay and around the rest of the world journalist started create their own personal followings as opposed to generating calling for the outlets that they work for. so you're starting to see print media personalities to utilize twitter to make themselves popular, and they either migrate the sub stack and start selling their reporting directly to
consumers. or they sort of use it to get more high leverage jobs or sort of become news outlets of their own. and so it has a certain use for those people it's, it's a good question whether twitter is good business. they haven't made, i think they didn't make money until 2018. you know, for a long time wasn't considered necessary as a tech company in terms of it being well run. you know, it's had a lot of employee turnover and they haven't been able to stabilise show any kind of net income. other than times when donald trump in the, in the election of 2016 and, and beyond, we're driving engagement from users. and you know, frankly they have a board that seems very interested in their own wealth and not really interested in twitter as growth as a service. and that is also reflected in upper management where twitter has had a lot of stagnant product development for many, many years. now in the last year they releases flu of new features. they're
experimenting with things like spaces. they just announce tweets and they sort of twitter, blue is their kind of monetization angle. so they've done a lot more rapid iteration last year than they did maybe in the last decade. which gives me hope the service will, will improve. but i think it has been just very stagnant riding on the coattails of this immense utility for over a decade. but then again, in the becoming, they go to become like meta, they, if they keep sibling with things, you look at what, what meadows on the facebook and with instagram, you have a product but, but everybody initially loves and, and likes to use. and then the company wants to squeeze even more revenue out of it and ends up in the case of instagram. and as far as i'm concerned, ends up ruining it. yeah, i think twitter is in a slightly unique position. these to be metas products. it is, as charles mentioned incredibly high utility product,
it's not something where you can see your friends see what they're eating. i mean, you can do that. but the core use case of it is the rapid spread and share of information which can be good. it can be bad, that's, you know, depends on what it is, who's doing it, but it is an extremely utilitarian product. and that i think is why they haven't been forced to go down the road. the metal has been forced go down, which is largely requisition, most of their own internal product development has been deemed failures. they acquired other businesses because their audience continues to age out of facebook. and now facebook is primarily either used in sure not us north america, around europe, around the world, or it's used by more elderly populations in the u. s. north america and europe. so you know, they don't have that basically till the in twitter is again, really written on that and, and then stagnated their products. because right, let's get to the issue then at hand. jim, what's gone wrong with the musk deal? you alluded to it earlier. why does it look to have fallen apart?
is mosque simply trying to drive down the price at which he buys here or ah, his grievances genuine. well, i'm not even sure you must knows what he wants out of twitter. he is absolutely trying to drive down the price, come and cents would say, why would you want to pay $50.20 a share for something that's now worth you know, in the low $30.00 per share. so we're talking 10 or $15000000000.00 worth of value 1000000000 with a b there, and you don't get to be one of the world's richest men buy being dom about finances . so he's, he's smart in a tactical sense, but he's causing an enormous amount of damage to twitter right now. he's is criticizing their management. he's criticizing their employees, he's criticizing their, their entire ecosystem. and twitter have 7500 employees who have families and mortgages and jobs and, and those kinds of things. i think, you know, it's interesting to look at the spectacle, if you will, of what you on mosque is doing. and it's kind of amusing in one sense, you know,
rich person sort of gets to play by whatever really wants to. it's not at all amusing if you're a twitter employee or maybe if you're a tesla shareholder and you feel like this is just a big giant distraction from where, where you must should be focusing as charles says that it's going to take legal action to ensure that this deal goes through as originally agreed. how can it do that? can it do that? i would absolutely can do that because her, because must sound a deal to require the company for volleyball $1000000000.00 and $54.00 for the show . and he sign out without really haven't done any proper due diligence her. and then after it started asking for the date of the bible, how do you define spam had, if i'm bots, have you know where all these numbers? and then since i saw the period back in april has been near making more, more demands for rather weird numbers. one thing to sort of get some sort of back up initially said jesse was so that he could just verify the numbers and was
recently saying, wow, of these numbers were being made up, which is sort of a he can't the or how do you define a body, it's really hot, but yes, the year that the deal actually contains a penalty clause of a $1000000000.00. if he, if he breaks off a b o. but equally treated could, i mean there are sort of legal ways in which they could save arms or you're on the hook for the whole 44000000000. and so, you know, with that, so get a cold war 40 to pay it. no one suspects that the final numbers going to pay is going to be somewhere between those $2.00 numbers, probably more towards the lower and higher. but everyone who's looked at what the deal actually say's in any detail with gravely tim works with these lee. and it's pretty confident that what twitter has is going to stand up in court much better than masks, claims are in a mosque, is that perceived of tesla? is that that the man behind space x one earth? would he want twitter? what's in it for him? personally? and what would twitter looked like under masks ownership? would it be?
would it be good for twitter users, but really outlined too much, i mean, you on as, as talked a lot about what he's going to do with twitter. it's been mostly big. there's a lot of confidence in him as a leader because of the success of the test. let's see, and the basics and seeing that a lot of the other projects even want things like foreign company, the tunneling business that he's been involved and has given investors a lot of confidence, even shareholders, a lot of competence. i think that the news we're seeing coming from weeks around from twitter, employees says that nobody there. it's really super thrilled about it. so i think for, for them it's not going to be great. i also don't think there's a lot of evidence that he's good at taking over companies at this size and scaling them better. he's, you know, he's grown incredible. companies pay pal space x tesla from almost nothing, but it's an entirely different business to take over
a company with nearly $10000.00 employees. that's a fully mature platform and turn it into something much better. and i think frankly the evidence, you know, that he can do that, which is a very different task is limited. so i'm not entirely in agreement with the people who are super confident and his abilities. i would also say there's, there's been a lot of speculation that this was purely away for him to sell tesla stock without having to give a a reason he'll, he'll, you know, have liquidated as 7000000007 and a half $1000000.00. if he pays the $1000000000.00 break up fee and spends $100000000.00 fighting litigation, he's somebody's famously, most of his wealth is kept in stocks, which means, you know, he probably doesn't have a lot of cash on hand to do the things he wants to do, and so there is a lot of speculation that this could also have been entirely away for him to liquidate a substantial amount of money without too much scrutiny from the fcc, which is an organization that he's not too friendly with. and i honestly wouldn't
put it past him. he takes a lot of learning from the donald trump school, twitter usage and sort of the look at my right hand while my left us something else is something that we've seen a lot of people do before. and you must, wouldn't be the 1st or last person to take advantage of. jim said nodding vigorously the d and was wanting through that incredible. ellen musk, c v given, given that wire a twitter stuff. so opposed to him becoming its owner. well, because he's, he has not articulated a compelling vision other than twitter is terrible and i want it to be better. oh, by the way, twitter is over staff, by the way, twitter employees don't go to the office. by the way, twitters management is terrible. you know, if you're a twitter employee, you're like, well, goodness gracious, that doesn't make me feel very good about what i'm doing and the hard work i've put in. and maybe you could get over that if, if he had a real clear, incredible vision about i'm going to do this with twitter, but when you start hearing him talk about free speech,
his ideas around pretty speech are mostly nonsensical, quite honestly. just last night he band somebody, he block somebody on twitter which, you know, got paragon a free speech on twitter who blocks somebody else on twitter or some minor twitter dispute. it's just kind of comical and so it doesn't lead to a lot of confidence as an employee that you're going to feel like, wow, you must go to the rescue and he's going to make this a better place. he'll mess around. no criticises. he'll lay some people off, they'll cut costs and issues them, eat it, and then maybe i'll get distracted by some other sign. the object that i'm left trying to clean up the damage. chelsea. picking up on that free speech angle, ask you the same question that we put a little earlier about what twitter would look like under on a masks ownership. and what does this whole saga tell us about the importance to society of a platform like twitter should social media platforms be regulated in such a way that they can't be owned by someone who will soon move on to that? to a new shiny object as, as jim just said,
and should they be more strictly regulated in terms of their content and what people can and can't say on them. oh, yeah. okay. so that's, that's a question for the alan, especially if you don't want someone flighty, then you get someone who just focuses on part time. that's better goggle mugs over . he totally does have control of facebook and i am the mother the left format instagram her and has control of the the voting shares, missouri the bowden chair. so her so to pick your poison. really a loss can charge a twitter how to look at it. i think it would look very messy. i think it would sort of zig zag between different things that he would come in one day and say, okay, what we need to do is much more of each victim than he can the next day as a oh, this free speaks of terror unites really just a big problem, we should really be a moderate more the problem that the platforms have is that they, as i said earlier, they're, they're totally predicated on the idea of holding your attention so they can show you adverts. and the way to hold your attention is to show you things that you get
outraged by and what you then for field you have to walk you back against. and that's the model the, the sort of underpinning model that the algorithms use. so if you shift to some other sort of model then, then it sort of stops looking like any, the social network we have now. now something where you're rewarded, perhaps for the value of your input. and the way that it works is entirely different. maybe a subscription model, which again is something must, did actually talk about vaguely as all the ideas he had when he was talking about having more subscriptions for to, to. but then the problem becomes all when you get out to developing countries in a list of other countries, people aren't going to be able to afford or want to spend money on a subscription yet. do they not have some utility in providing us with information sharing information, getting information? so the, the question of what it would look like is, is an, in a complete imponderable, i think, as well as sort of multiverse things where it's sort of little shaving everywhere. all the time. okay, in and what about the competition?
what it must take over of twitter be good for the platforms, competitors, does it really have any serious competitors? i did not really have any serious competitors. there was a lot of noise made of actually social. donald trump recently left the board just before an fcc investigation. again, they struggled from technical problems. they struggled with the user acquisition. twitter is one of the stickiest platforms, especially session media platforms on the planet. and doesn't really have any direct competition at certainly not in, in the west, though. it's a different story in china and i to, to charles point, you know, i don't think taking a twitter private would be entirely a terrible idea. i mean, which is a sell off sensibly. what mosque is offering to do? there is just going about an terrible way the pressure on twitter to, to post, you know, growth to post profits, drives them towards in the same way it has driven meta and all other social media platforms towards this kind of engagement metric which is generated through sort of
extreme agreement or extreme averages. i think twitter as the, as an one of the most useful social platforms could benefit from having the pressure of bad growth taken off them. which could be done by taking the company private, allowing them to sort of really focus on product development. it could be done by, you know, some kind of regulation that wouldn't, would mean that they wouldn't have to focus on pleasing investors in return and could, instead developed a platform to a new, more honed and accurate tool for its users and, and for the people that they needed every day to access information. all right, jim, i've got about 40 seconds here. how's this going to play out? will must be forced by twitter of the agreed price. who's going to blank 1st? well, i think the court case will say that he is required to buy twitter, which is very different than i mean actually buying twitter. he's got a long history of sort of disagreeing with regulatory agencies rulings. and so what
happens if a quarter delaware says you must complete your acquisition and he just refuses, right? they can try to compel him to do that, but it's, it's really difficult to force somebody to buy something they don't want. so then you get into the case case of what are the damages there? does he pay the $1000000000.00? i think twitter would say that's not nearly enough for all the damages you've done to us. so we're going to be in that gray area and it's all going to be a negotiation as to how much he does pay. and does he end up owning twitter in the gentleman that was fascinating, but we're out of time. many thanks indeed for being with us today. really appreciate it. she madison in new york charles author in london and in my is also in new york as always, thank you for watching. don't forget, you can see the program again at any time. by going to the website al jazeera dot com for further discussion. you can join us at our facebook page at facebook dot com forward slash ha inside story, and you can join the conversation on twitter handle at ha. and so i story for me,
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