If you’re a reporter reaching out to Twitter’s press department, you’ll now be greeted with an automated response in the form of nothing but a poop emoji. Twitter CEO Elon Musk proudly announced the change in a tweet on the social media site Sunday morning and I confirmed it was true by seeking comment over email.
“firstname.lastname@example.org now auto responds with [poop emoji],” Musk tweeted.
Before Musk took over, reporters could generally count on receiving a response to their questions over email. But when Musk took over the platform in late October, following a $44 billion deal, Twitter’s press team stopped replying to emails.
Musk is notoriously hostile to journalists over what he believes is a bias against his companies and completely got rid of Tesla’s press department back in 2020. Some Tesla investors have begged Musk to bring back Tesla’s press team, but Musk doesn’t think such a department is necessary.
“Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product. I trust the people,” Musk tweeted back in April 2021.
But when a company lacks a press team, it can allow bad information to flourish in an environment where social media rumors and innuendo are commonplace. The lack of a press team at any big company can also leave the public less informed about the future goals of any business leader.
For example, when Musk decided to announce via tweet in early February that Twitter would start sharing ad revenue with creators, people naturally had a lot of questions about details. If Twitter had a press team, they could’ve fielded basic questions about the timing of the rollout and how much money creators would’ve received. Instead, people tried to get answers directly from Musk, who was light on details. To this day, it’s still unclear how the revenue sharing program works because Twitter hasn’t issued a press release with basic information.
Musk is the boss and can obviously run Twitter however he likes. But he held a Twitter poll back in December asking whether he should step down as the head of the company, a poll that he lost by a landslide. And speaking for myself, I was interested in who he might get to replace himself as CEO, even sending an email at the time to ask. At the time, I didn’t receive a response. But now, all I’ll get it a poop emoji.
It seems rather silly that Musk would hold such a poll and then not abide by the results. But that’s probably just my terrible bias as a member of the press.