Elon Musk’s Twitter now responds to all journalist requests with a single emoji

·3 min read

Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk has always had an unusual relationship with the media—and now he's taken it one step further.

Reporters contacting Twitter for legal reasons are now receiving a single emoji back in their inbox. A 💩.

Fortune, like many other global news outlets, has contacted the embattled company droves of times since Musk took over in October of last year. Journalists have sought comment or background information on topics of huge importance not only to the public but to Musk's staff themselves.

Issues have included mass layoffs, lawsuits, privacy for users, and, recently, a spat between Musk and a former member of staff who questioned whether he still worked at the company as he hadn't heard from Twitter's HR team.

The SpaceX cofounder has reportedly sacked at least half of Twitter's staffers since he took over. This has apparently included the communications team, alongside teams that cover human rights, machine learning ethics, and accessibility.

Pravda

Musk, who this year broke the Guinness World Record for the largest loss of personal wealth in history, pledged in the past to support accurate reporting through a content-verification platform Pravda. The service, he said, would allow readers to "rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication."

It is unclear how independent the service will be of Musk's influence. Responding to the former PayPal boss's 2018 tweet about the launch of Pravda, one user wrote: "He's not kidding folks. I noticed that one of Musk's agents had incorporated Pravda Corp in California back in October last year [2017]. I was wondering what it was all about."

A great deal of news pertaining to the future of Twitter is now being released on the platform itself by the CEO. Last year Musk promised to abide by the results of a poll posted on the site, giving users the option of Musk stepping down or staying on.

After users overwhelmingly voted for Musk to go, he tweeted: "I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software and servers teams."

It is unclear how long Twitter's new press policy will be in place. When contacted by Fortune to question if Twitter may change its emoji-response policy for the benefit of its users and staff in the future, it received a 💩 back.

What about Tesla and SpaceX?

Musk's other headline companies have yet to confirm whether they'll be implementing a similar response system.

Tesla's press team—the people responsible for responding to journalists' questions and managing the public's perception of the company—was apparently dissolved in 2020. The move was first reported by electric transportation news outlet Electrek, saying a source "at the highest level at Tesla" had confirmed the company had no PR team.

When contacted by Fortune for comment, Tesla did not respond.

Inquiries have also previously been directed to SpaceX about its Global Roaming Starlink service but received no response. When contacted by Fortune to see if it too would be rolling out an emoji reaction, SpaceX did not reply.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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