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Elon Musk reinstates Twitter accounts for Kanye West and Donald Trump

Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley discusses developments on Twitter since Elon Musk has taken over, including the return of Ye and the extent to which employees and advertisers are leaving the platform.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Well, let's turn now to another part of Elon Musk's empire, as Pras mentioned. It's Twitter. Musk welcomed back Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye, and, yes, former president Donald Trump. Situation for Twitter certainly hasn't improved over the last few weeks.

Let's bring in Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley. Dan, we should mention the former president saying, thanks, but no thanks, essentially. I'm not going back. But there are other concerns that have now popped up for Twitter, partly, some would argue, because of the mass exodus we've seen.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, as far as Trump goes, yeah, he does say that he's going to be sticking to his Truth Social. So we'll see how long that lasts, considering the widespread kind of ability to reach people that you can have on Twitter. Kanye West, or Ye, coming back and immediately tweeting "Shalom," which, I mean, come on, guy.

But as far as the overall capabilities of Twitter, we're starting to see some issues creep up. Over the weekend, we saw a number of people continue to leave the company. At one point, Elon Musk had tweeted kind of a whiteboard of how he wants Twitter 2.0 to function. But as we saw that, there were copyright issues that were just getting through the system.

And so I was able to see someone post the entire movie "Avatar" in two minute chunks via threads on the platform. You're not supposed to be able to do that. I did not go through all of the threads because it's probably a million long, considering how long that movie is, but I digress. This is something that usually shouldn't happen on Twitter. And so, you know, it was up for, I think, around two days, and then finally, I saw it come down.

But other movies, "Fast and Furious" were up there. Hackers were up there. And people were just posting them without issue. They finally have been taken down as part of the copyright problem, but this is something that we might continue to see, where Twitter is continuing to run into these walls just because of how few people they have.

Remember, as soon as Elon Musk took over, he got rid of half the workforce. And then he had that ultimatum saying that people needed to be hardcore, and, you know, that if they didn't sign up onto that idea, that they were effectively resigning. And so reports are that hundreds of people ended up leaving because of that.

So this is kind of a company that's shed thousands of workers in such short order that they may not have been able to prepare for that kind of just loss. And so now the company is effectively trying to continue to operate, but essentially with a skeleton crew.

AKIKO FUJITA: Dan, we've already seen a number of big advertisers leave the platform, saying they're just not comfortable with the direction of where Twitter is going. When you talk about the latest developments, the problems that have popped up over the weekend, what is that likely to mean for the advertising side moving forward?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, I don't think advertisers are coming back anytime soon after this. Obviously, we had a number of stepping back. We had GM. We had Eli Lilly. That was a big deal because that was when the ability to verify your account by paying $7.99 or $8 per month was still available. And so someone had impersonated the Eli Lilly account with that verified badge and said that insulin would be free. That could have affected its stock price, as we saw it drop, as well as some other drug makers. GM, as I said, United, Audi, Volkswagen.

So it's really something where these advertisers want to be able to trust a company, and Elon Musk isn't really doing that. He isn't getting the trust back. And he doesn't seem to really care about ads that much. He said in the past, he did have kind of a Q&A where he was saying that he was going to try to improve the atmosphere there. And he wants Twitter to be warm and welcoming.

But, you know, then he continues to kind of just tweet his stream of conscious kind of personality that he has there. And you can't imagine that advertisers look at that and say, this is a good idea. I want my brand attached to this,

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, caution the word of the game-- the word associated with Twitter right now, at least. Dan Howley, thanks so much for that.