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Poop emoji: Elon Musk's relationship with media is marked by mistrust

Photo: Roman Budnikov / Prestige046 / PantherMedia / IMAGO

After all, it is one of the few technical improvements of Twitter in recent months: Journalists who make inquiries to Twitter no longer immediately get back a pile of excrement emoji in response. Instead, a standard sentence comes from the e-mail address of the Twitter press office: "We will contact you soon."

Musk announced the change himself on Friday, but also called the new answer a "continuous loop" and added that "try again tomorrow" would also be conceivable. At first, it seems questionable whether Twitter actually has or will get a functioning press office again – or whether it is just a slightly less rude form of rejection. The answer will continue to be sent automatically, as a test by SPIEGEL shows. It remains to be seen whether the serious question of the test mail will be followed by a serious answer.

Musk's CEO Linda Yaccarino responded to Musk's tweet with an applause emoji. The experienced manager, who was previously responsible for the advertising business at the media giant NBCUniversal, is tasked with mending the relationship with advertisers, among other things. Musk recently acknowledged that Twitter's ad business has halved permanently. However, advertising in the form of paid tweets that appear in users' news feeds has traditionally been Twitter's main source of money. At the same time, Musk is trying to expand the subscription business.

Musk is his own press department

The billionaire himself had announced in March that media inquiries would be automatically answered with a poop emoji. Writing to the e-mail address was already largely pointless: Musk had abolished the press department after his takeover of Twitter in the fall. It was usually him in person who answered questions directly on Twitter or announced news.

The Musk-led electric car manufacturer Tesla has also not had an official press department for years. Musk's relationship with the media is one of mistrust. He often accuses them of unfair or false reporting. Most recently, Musk's political shift to the right has led to further accusations: In February, for example, he claimed that "the media" was behaving "racist" towards whites and people of Asian descent.