TrafficGuard’s Matt Sutton on Meta Layoffs, TikTok Data Fears, and Ads on Twitter

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Matt Sutton, COO at TrafficGuard, joins ExchangeWire's Lindsay Rowntree and Ciarán O'Kane to discuss substantial layoffs at Meta, concerns over TikTok's users' data, how Twitter is faring under Elon Musk's ownership, and more.

Meta announce more than 11,000 employees will be let go

Will this decision prove healthy for Meta in the long run? Do you agree with Mark Zuckerberg that Meta are “deeply underestimated”?

Meta last week revealed plans to sack over 11,000 employees, roughly equivalent to 13% of their total workforce. In a blog post published last Wednesday (9th November), Mark Zuckerberg said that the layoffs are the outcome of failed ecommerce investments, and that he “want[ed] to take accountability for these decisions.”

Describing the redundancies as “a last resort”, Zuckerberg highlighted that Meta have curbed discretionary spending and implemented a hiring freeze until Q1 2023. The Facebook founder reasserted that, despite the bleak announcement, he believes that Meta are “deeply underestimated as a company today”. The Facebook parent-company saw their stock rise by around 4% in premarket trading following the announcement of the planned layoffs.

Distrust of TikTok grows, although opinion over threat level differs

What do these concerns about TikTok tell us about the current focus on consumer data and privacy?

Short-form video app TikTok may have experienced a meteoric rise, but concern over the security of their users' data is becoming louder. Some experts have expressed fear that the vast amount of data being generated by the app’s more than one billion global users could be being accessed by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, where TikTok’s parent-company ByteDance operates.

Regulators and politicians in the US, UK, Ireland, and India have all expressed fears over the treatment and destination of TikTok’s user data, with politicians in the UK claiming that the information of the app’s 18 million domestic users was “routinely transferred to China”. These fears have been exacerbated by reports which have claimed that some of ByteDance’s China-based employees can access users’ non-public data. However, expert opinions differ over whether TikTok collects more data than the average app, as well as whether their collection methods are more aggressive. TikTok denies both that it collects more data than usual and that the Chinese government can access user data. 

Twitter claim mDAUs grew during week one of Elon

Will Twitter survive this current period of turmoil? Can you see advertisers returning to the platform?

Twitter’s monetisable daily active users (mDAU) grew 20% in the first week of Elon Musk’s ownership. That’s according to an internal document obtained and reported on by The Verge, which said that social media firm gained a further 15 million mDAUs, giving them a total of more than a quarter of a billion. The numbers contrast with numerous reports that Twitter users are bailing on the platform in favour of alternatives, such as Mastodon.

Whilst the figures may have given Musk reason to feel positive, the withdrawal of marketers from that platform is cause for concern, something the billionaire acknowledged but attributed to “activist groups pressuring advertisers”. The loss of ad revenue is not the only headache for the Twitter CEO, however – a string of key senior executives have resigned over the past week, leaving the company with structural gaps and potentially at risk of an FTC investigation. The financial viability of Twitter hangs in the balance, with Musk reportedly giving employees the stark warning that “bankruptcy isn’t out of the question”.