After nearly a month of widespread controversy since Twitter was acquired by Elon Musk, CBS has announced that they are pausing their activity on the social media site, citing “an abundance of caution.”
Jonathan Vigliotti, a national correspondent for CBS News and the originator of the announcement, said that CBS would continue to “monitor the platform” amidst concerns regarding the reliability of information – and its susceptibility to manipulation – on the newly managed site.
Public reception to the announcement was polarizing, with some criticizing CBS News for being “triggered” by Musk while others questioned the network’s reliability and rationale for leaving.
“CBS News quitting Twitter because they think @ElonMusk will allow hackers or something into their accounts is so weak,” said Curtis Houck, managing editor for NewsBlasters. “This is so stupid my head hurts.”
Other theories about why CBS is stepping away from Twitter largely center around divisive political stances, though the news network’s implied rationale seems more directed toward issues of misinformation.
Indeed, CBS News’ caution is not without precedent. In the time since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the platform has played host to a variety of instances of mistaken identity, the majority of which resulted from Musk’s hasty push to allow users to purchase benefits that add blue check marks – symbols heretofore associated with some degree of credibility – to their usernames.
Several of these instances have prompted things like stock drops and the spread of inaccurate public health information, leading to Musk’s suspension of the service only a couple of days after its launch.
In this context, CBS’ decision to separate from Twitter until they can be sure that their integrity is secure is perhaps the only way that the news network can ensure that their platform isn’t effectively used for disseminating misinformation. Should CBS remain on Twitter, the risk that they could be impersonated – potentially to deleterious effect – is certainly present.
In the real world, Musk’s takeover of Twitter has proven somewhat rocky. The bulk of former Twitter employees were either laid off or chose to quit after Musk emailed a requirement that remaining employees work “long hours at high intensity” to create a “hardcore culture,” and many former users have categorized his choices for the platform as reckless.