With nearly 1 million followers, Balenciaga has called it quits – becoming the first luxury fashion house to delete its Twitter account. Following Elon Musk’s controversial takeover, numerous celebrities have also said goodbye to the social media platform for several reasons. And it’s not difficult to understand why.
Nearly three weeks ago, Elon Musk acquired the popular social media platform, Twitter, for US$44 billion after stating his interest in buying the company back in April. The CEO of the automotive company Tesla, Inc. mentioned that his aim in taking over the reigns of the company is “to help humanity” in terms of improving free speech.
However, since his takeover, it has been nothing but chaos, with 50% of staff being laid off and contractual workers facing the same fate as of now. Musk has also implemented a US$8 per month charge to celebrities and influential brands who wish to be verified while firing content moderation staff which leads to a lack of censorship. It’s these reasons that make high-end luxury brands rethink their presence on Twitter, considering the problems that are already happening.
Paid verifications lead to imposters
Just last week, a tweet from pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. went viral: “We are excited to announce insulin is free now,”. It came from an account that carried a blue verified checkmark, a signal used by Twitter for years to signify authenticity.
But the account was a fake, and it wasn’t until six hours later that Twitter decided to remove the tweet – after millions have already seen it. According to The Washington Post, staff at Eli Lilly were scrambling in a panic, attempting to contact Twitter representatives as quickly as possible. But because the company’s staff were cut in half, Twitter did not respond till hours later.
The careless US$8 verified checkmark implementation left a costly effect, as Eli Lilly suspended all advertising campaigns on the platform. The sudden halt from the US$330 billion company is a definite blow to Musk, as he needs the budget to ensure Twitter stays afloat.
But the ease for imposter accounts to obtain the verified tick definitely raises concerns for genuine brands on the platform. Because if it was this easy for a fake account to impersonate Eli Lilly, who’s to say brands like Balenciaga aren’t next?
Possible deterrence from previous controversies
Balenciaga’s Paris Fashion Week show, featuring Kanye West was a downright mess. The celebrity opened the luxury fashion house’s runway, walking along the muddy pathway in a military jacket while covering part of his face with a cap.
However, it wasn’t just the opening of the fashion show that drew criticism from the crowd but what happened before and after the show. Apparently, guests had to wait for half an hour for the arrival of several celebrities before the show began and Kanye was spotted wearing a ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt during the show.
Balenciaga has always been one for the spotlight with viral outrageous bags and outfits but it is possible that the recent controversy has tainted the brand too much. And they’re just looking for a way to leave it all behind. Or maybe being the first luxury fashion house to quit the controversial Twitter is putting the brand in a better light, as opposed to what happened before.
Balenciaga isn’t alone, celebrities like Gigi Hadid also made an exit
Multiple big brands like Pfizer, Audi, Volkswagen, Chipotle and more have since suspended advertising on Twitter for the time being. And while Balenciaga is the first luxury fashion brand to quit Twitter completely, they weren’t the only one.
Celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Whoopi Goldberg, Shonda Rhimes and David Simon have also decided to leave the social media platform. Hadid mentions that with the new leadership, Twitter has become a “cesspool of hate & bigotry” and it’s something she wants no part of.
Only time will tell if other major brands will follow suit and decide to quit Twitter too.
Featured image by Unsplash.