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Monday, December 4, 2023

Twitter’s Standoff with Google Cloud Puts Safety Teams at Risk


Elon Musk’s Twitter is reportedly facing a standoff with Google Cloud as the platform’s contract renewal approaches. Twitter’s refusal to pay Google Cloud bills may lead to a cutoff of access when the contract expires on June 30th.

Before Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in October last year, the company had a multi-year contract with Google for spam fighting, CSAM removal, and account protection. However, Twitter has been attempting to renegotiate its contract with Google since at least March.

Failure to settle its dues with Google Cloud could have severe consequences for Twitter’s trust and safety teams, leaving them significantly impaired in their ability to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

It is worth noting that Twitter had also encountered payment issues with another major cloud service provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company had delayed payments to AWS, leading to the threat of withholding advertising payments by Amazon. This payment dispute further adds to the challenges faced by Twitter in maintaining its cloud computing services.

One notable service running on Google Cloud Platform is Smyte, a company acquired by Twitter in 2018. Smyte specializes in providing tools to combat abuse and harassment. However, sources suggest that Smyte is scheduled to be shut down on June 30th. This potential shutdown could have a detrimental impact on Twitter’s ability to address two of Musk’s stated priorities: combating CSAM and eliminating bots.

These ongoing payment disputes highlight the financial strains and operational challenges that Twitter is currently facing. The company’s attempts to renegotiate contracts with major cloud service providers reflect its efforts to optimize costs and find a sustainable solution.

In summary, Twitter’s contract renewal with Google Cloud is in jeopardy as the platform has refused to pay its bills. The potential consequences of this standoff include a cutoff of access to Google Cloud services, which would severely impact Twitter’s trust and safety teams. Additionally, Twitter has also faced payment issues with AWS, leading to further complications. The impending shutdown of Smyte, a service critical to addressing abuse and harassment, further exacerbates the challenges faced by Twitter. These payment disputes underscore the financial and operational difficulties experienced by the platform as it seeks to find a viable resolution.


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