Here’s a look back at Elon Musk’s chaotic first month on Twitter


Sunday officially marks one month since the world’s richest man took the helm at Twitter.

At the time, Elon Musk launched massive layoffs and issued a cryptic ultimatum to remaining employees, reinstated the accounts of controversial figures including former President Donald Trump, and launched a plan to pay for Twitter’s iconic blue icons.

Musk made his first splashy entrance into the company’s offices on October 26, after months of being embroiled in an unsuccessful legal battle to get rid of his initial bid to buy Twitter. (One video About the incident shared on Twitter, he wrote: “Enter the Twitter headquarters – let it sink!)

Since then, the billionaire has left no stone unturned in his whirlwind first month as “Chief Twit.” Here’s a look at the different ways Musk (who is still the CEO of his other companies Tesla and SpaceX) has made his mark on one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

Soon after Musk completed a dramatic $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, he fired former CEO Parag Agrawal and other executives. Later, he made himself the CEO and sole director of the platform due to the securities filing.

However, the dramatic change in leadership was only the first taste of major personnel reforms to come. Musk began sweeping layoffs within the company, cutting the total workforce by nearly 50% within days.

In the run-up to Nov. 3 and Nov. 4, scores of former Twitter employees began posting on the platform that they had been banned from company email accounts as the layoffs began to play out in a very dramatic, public way. .

Dismissals include ethical AI, marketing and communications, search, public policy, and more. affected departments including As employees bid farewell to their colleagues online (many sharing blue hearts and greeting emojis to signify their job losses on Twitter), Musk has at least remained largely silent on the job cuts.

In another dramatic move by the new boss, Musk publicly fired a software engineer who survived the initial round of layoffs but later questioned Musk on Twitter.

In a late-night internal email following the mass layoffs, Musk asked Twitter’s remaining employees to work “extremely hard” or leave the company with severance pay.

“Moving forward, we must be extremely aggressive in developing Twitter 2.0 and succeeding in an increasingly competitive world,” Musk wrote in a memo sent on Nov. 16. Only exceptional performance will warrant a pass.”

In the memo, Musk describes how Twitter will become “more engineering-based” and then issues an ultimatum to employees. It directs employees to what appears to be an online form, saying, “If you’re sure you want to be part of the new Twitter, please click ‘Yes’ on the link below.”

Musk said any employee who hadn’t done so by 5 a.m. the next day, Thursday, would be out for three months.

In the shadow of the mass departure of employees, the departure of advertisers was also observed.

Since Musk’s buyout, several brands, from General Mills to the North Face to the Volkswagen Group, have confirmed they’re halting advertising on the social network as civil society organizations raise new concerns about the company’s direction under Musk.

About a week after taking over the company, Musk said the company saw a “huge drop in revenue.”

He tweeted on Nov. 4: “Twitter has had a huge drop in revenue due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, although nothing has changed with content moderation and we’ve done our best to appease activists.” up! They are trying to destroy free speech in America.”

Another aspect of Twitter that Musk has been quick to change is one of the platform’s most familiar features to users: blue verified badges, long used to confirm the authenticity of government officials, journalists and other public figures.

“The current system of lords and peasants is hollow for those with or without a blue tick on Twitter,” Musk tweeted on Nov. 1. Blue for $8 a month.”

Of course, on November 5, Twitter launched an updated version of its iOS app that allows users to pay a monthly subscription fee to get a blue tick on their profile. The update, as noted on Apple’s App Store at the time, meant that users would have to pay $7.99 a month for the company’s Twitter Blue subscription to receive a token of approval on the platform, “just like celebrities, companies and politicians. watch now.”

Within days of the subscription service’s launch, Twitter was abuzz with a wave of celebrities and corporate impersonators quickly playing the new system as brands and prominent figures.

Chaos ensued. In one viral example, a fake account claiming to be pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly with a newly acquired blue tick tweeted that a critical diabetes drug would now be free.

After the confusion, Musk eventually announced that he would delay the launch of the subscription service until the end of the month.

Musk tweeted on Nov. 15: “Blue Verified reboot on Nov. 29 to make sure it’s solid.”

On Nov. 24, Musk gave a slightly different target date for the relaunch, Dec. 2, and provided more details about the upcoming service, including a set of icon colors to indicate the type of account that has been verified.

On November 19, Musk reinstated former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, nearly two years after it was permanently banned following the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The move comes shortly after Twitter reinstated the accounts of several other controversial previously banned or suspended users, including conservative Canadian podcaster Jordan Peterson, right-leaning satirical website Babylon Bee, comedian Kathy Griffin and MP Marjorie Taylor Green. thrown.

Before restoring Trump’s Twitter account, Musk released a poll asking the platform’s users whether Trump should be reinstated – where a slim majority (51.8%) voted in favor.

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” (Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God”).

Trump previously said he would stay on his platform, Truth Social, instead of rejoining Twitter, and has yet to tweet since his account came back online.

But since Trump has said he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, his shift in approach could have major political consequences.

After conducting another Twitter poll, Musk said on November 24 that he would begin restoring most of the previously banned accounts on Twitter starting next week. This will mark its most far-reaching move yet to end its social media platform’s policy of permanently suspending users who repeatedly violate its rules.

The Thanksgiving announcement came after most respondents voted in favor of a survey asking whether to offer “general amnesty to suspended accounts if they don’t break the law or engage in massive spamming.”

“The people have spoken,” Musk tweeted again.

Its recent decisions to reinstate previously banned accounts based on polls on the platform contradict what Musk previously said he would pursue such options.

A day after taking over Twitter, Musk said the social media company would create a “content moderation board with very diverse views.”

Musk added: “There will be no major content decisions or account resets prior to this board meeting.”

It was not immediately clear if that board was ever created, convened or involved in the decision-making behind Trump and the return of previously banned accounts.

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