Skip to main content

Twitter's reputation for abuse is turning off potential suitors

Twitter's reputation for abuse is turning off potential suitors

Share this story

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Last month, it seemed that Twitter would be the next big acquisition in the tech world. Bids were reportedly being prepared for the service by some of the biggest companies on the planet, from Google, to Disney, to cloud computing giant Salesforce. But weeks later and Twitter remains on its own. No bids have been tabled, no acquisitions announced — in part, apparently, due to the service's reputation for abusive behavior.

Disney worried Twitter wouldn't chime with its image

Twitter's reputation as a haven for trolls was one of the key reasons both Disney and Salesforce declined to make bids for Twitter, according to reports from Bloomberg and CNBC host Jim Cramer. Citing people familiar with Disney's management, Bloomberg says the family-friendly animation giant had even hired two investment banks to work out a bid for the service, but eventually decided not to put a deal on the table, fearing that Twitter's sexist, racist, and otherwise unpleasant abusers would sully Disney's image.

While not necessarily as family-oriented as Disney, Salesforce reportedly reached a similar decision on a Twitter bid for much the same reasons. Speaking on CNBC's Squawk on the Street, Mad Money host Jim Cramer said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff had expressed concerns about Twitter's problems with user abuse directly to him. "What's happened is, a lot of the bidders are looking at people with lots of followers and seeing the hatred," Cramer said, claiming that Salesforce was "very concerned about this notion."

Salesforce was "very concerned" about Twitter's "haters"

Trolls weren't the only reason Disney decided against a bid for the service, Bloomberg says. Major Disney investors reportedly expressed doubts to the company about a potential purchase, with Twitter's $12 billion price tag looking a little too steep, even for an entity as huge as Disney. The two companies' CEOs share a connection — Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has said he sees Disney head Bob Iger as a mentor after he recruited him to Disney's board — but that still wasn't enough for Disney to look past Twitter's problems.

Twitter has historically avoided implementing any major changes that would stem the tide of abuse that many of its users face on a daily basis. The company has seemed paralyzed, clinging to concepts of completely free speech hardcoded into its founding ethos, unable to actually find a solutions when it did make attempts to change, and always wary of making any major changes for fear that it may inhibit growth. Ironically, that fear of inhibiting growth may actually be the thing that stops Twitter growing at all, as companies looking from the outside in continue to see an increasingly unattractive prospect.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 9 minutes ago Better on the inside

R
Richard Lawler9 minutes ago
The sincerest form of flattery.

I had little interest in Apple’s Dynamic Island, but once a developer built their spin on the idea for Android, I had to give it a try.

Surprisingly, I’ve found I actually like it, and while dynamicSpot isn’t as well-integrated as Apple’s version, it makes up for it with customization. Nilay’s iPhone 14 Pro review asked Apple to reverse the long-press to expand vs. tap to enter an app setup. In dynamicSpot, you can do that with a toggle (if you pay $5).


DynamicSpot app on Android shown expanding music player, in the style of Apple’s Dynamic Island in iOS 16.
DynamicSpot in action on a Google Pixel 6
Image: Richard Lawler
R
TikTok
Richard Lawler42 minutes ago
TikTok politics.

Ahead of the midterm elections, TikTok made big changes to its rules for politicians and political fundraising on the platform, as Makena Kelly explains... on TikTok.


R
External Link
Richard LawlerAn hour ago
The Twitter employee who testified about Trump and the January 6th attack has come forward.

This summer, a former Twitter employee who worked on platform and content moderation policies testified anonymously before the congressional committee investigating the violence at the US Capitol on January 6th.

While she remains under NDA and much of her testimony is still sealed,  Anika Collier Navaroli has identified herself, explaining a little about why she’s telling Congress her story of what happened inside Twitter — both before the attack, and after, when it banned Donald Trump.


R
Instagram
Richard LawlerTwo hours ago
But how does it sound?

Our review of Apple’s new AirPods Pro can tell you everything about the second-generation buds. To find out how you’ll sound talking to other people through them, just listen to Verge senior video producer Becca Farsace.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago
Our list of the best entertainment of 2022 keeps getting bigger.

We just added some notable entries to our running list highlighting the best games, movies, and TV shows of the year, including Return to Monkey Island, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Sorry in advance for your free time.


The best entertainment of 2022

Everything to play and watch this year

Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago

The best instant cameras you can buy right now

We found the best cameras for your budget and needs

Sheena VasaniSep 22

Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
R
The Verge
Richard LawlerSep 22
The Bootleg Ratio.

Policy Editor Russell Brandom digs into a phenomenon we’ve all seen on social media before:

I call it the Bootleg Ratio: the delicate balance between A) content created by users specifically for the platform and B) semi-anonymous clout-chasing accounts drafting off the audience. Any platform will have both, but as B starts to overtake A, users will have less and less reason to visit and creators will have less and less reason to post.

And now it’s coming for TikTok.


R
Twitter
Russell BrandomSep 22
The latest Alex Jones defamation hearing is not going well for Alex Jones.

The Infowars host has already been hit with millions of dollars in damages for spreading lies about Sandy Hook — but today’s hearing suggests he could be on the hook for even more.


D
Youtube
Dan SeifertSep 22
Here’s a look at a few Pixel Watch watchfaces.

Google is ramping up the marketing machine ahead of next month’s Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch event and has released a short video (via 9to5Google) highlighting the design and showcasing some of the watchfaces it will have. Most of them are quite simple, with just the time being displayed.

These videos always look great from a marketing perspective, but I think they poorly reflect how I actually use a smartwatch. I want the computer on my wrist to show me useful information like weather, calendar appointments, timers, etc, which means it’s never as sparse or simple looking as it is in these ads.


A
External Link
Please stop trying to order the Hummer EV.

GMC is closing the order books for the Hummer EV truck and SUV after receiving 90,000 reservations for the controversial electric vehicle, according to the Detroit Free Press. It just can’t seem to keep up with demand, so the GM-owned company has decided to stop taking orders until production picks up. Maybe if the Hummer’s battery wasn’t the same weight as a whole-ass Honda Civic, it would be easier to manufacture, but I digress.

GMC is the latest automaker to run into the problem of EV demand far outstripping supply. Ford also is having difficulty making enough F-150 Lightnings and Mustang Mach-Es to fill all its orders. Waitlists for most available EVs are longer than my arm. Things are going to be tight until the auto industry is able to bring more battery factories and assembly plants online, and unfortunately that could take a while.


A
Tesla recalls 1.1 million vehicles to prevent drivers from getting pinched by the windows.

The issue is that the windows would not recognize certain objects while closing, which could result in “a pinching injury to the occupant.” It’s a pretty enormous recall, covering some 2017-2022 Model 3, 2020-2021 Model Y, and 2021-2022 Model S and Model X vehicles.

Tesla said it would issue a fix via an over-the-air software update. Notably, nobody has been been injured or killed by Tesla’s ravenous windows, but I wouldn’t recommend sticking your fingers in there just to see what happens.


A
External Link
Adi RobertsonSep 22
Congress is trying to make Google pay news outlets for links again.

The controversial Journalism Competition and Preservation Act — which would let news publishers negotiate payments for being linked by sites like Google — suffered a setback earlier this month thanks to a surprise Ted Cruz amendment trying to limit the platforms’ moderation options. After some negotiations between Cruz and sponsor Amy Klobuchar, it’s back for markup today, and it’s got critics even more worried than before.


A
External Link
Adi RobertsonSep 22
Twitter asks a court to make its whistleblower reveal if he contacted Elon Musk.

The Delaware Court of Chancery has issued another couple decisions in the fast-upcoming Twitter v. Musk trial. It’s letting Musk add allegations that Twitter whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko received a $7.75 million payout from the company. Meanwhile, it punted on a Twitter request for details about whether Musk or his associates knew about Zatko’s whistleblower claims before he took them public — Twitter and Musk’s lawyers will fight that out in a September 27th hearing.