February 5, 2023

This has been the first month of Elon Musk on Twitter

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(CNN) — This Sunday officially marked the first month since the world’s richest man took over Twitter.

In that period, Elon Musk launched mass layoffs and issued cryptic ultimatums to the rest of the staff, reinstated the accounts of controversial figures including former President Donald Trump, and launched — and then scrapped — a scheme to get paid for iconic clothing brands. Twitter blue check.

After spending months embroiled in an unsuccessful legal battle to get out of his initial proposal to buy Twitter, Musk made his first grand entrance at the company’s offices on October 26, carrying a lavatory. (In a video of the incident shared on Twitter, he wrote: “Walking into Twitter HQ, so you get the idea!)

Since then, the billionaire has seemingly left no stone unturned during his fast-paced first month as “Chief Tuit.” Here’s a look at the variety of ways Musk (who remains, simultaneously, the CEO of his other companies Tesla and SpaceX) has already made his mark on one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

Musk kills C-suite, then cuts roughly half of Twitter staff

Almost immediately after Musk completed his drama-plagued $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, he fired former CEO Parag Agrawal and other executives. He later became the platform’s CEO and sole director, according to a securities filing.

However, the drastic leadership shakeup was only the first taste of the great turnover to come. Musk began with wide-ranging layoffs across the company, cutting his overall headcount by roughly 50% in the span of a couple of days.

On the eve of November 3 and through November 4, numerous former Twitter employees began posting on the platform that they had been banned from their company email accounts as job cuts began to unfold at a rapid rate. very dramatic public way.

The layoffs affected departments including ethics artificial intelligence, marketing and communications, search, public policy and more. As workers said goodbye to their colleagues online (many shared blue hearts and greeting emojis to indicate they had lost their jobs on Twitter), Musk remained mostly silent, at least about the job cuts.

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

Musk gives remaining employees an ultimatum: Work “extremely hard” or leave

In a late-night internal email after massive staff cuts, Musk called on Twitter’s remaining employees to commit to “extremely hard” work or leave the company with severance pay.

“Moving forward, to build forward Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely tough,” Musk wrote in the memo sent Nov. 16. “This will mean working many hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

In the memo, Musk went on to describe how Twitter will be “much more engineering-driven” and then gives the staff an ultimatum. “If you’re sure you want to be a part of the new Twitter, click Yes on the link below,” directing staff to what appears to be an online form.

Musk said that any employee who did not do so by 5 p.m. ET the next day, Thursday, would receive three months’ severance.

Advertisers flee and Musk denounces a “big drop in revenue”

In the shadow of the exodus of workers, a departure of advertisers was also brewing.

Since the Musk takeover, a handful of brands — ranging from General Mills to North Face to Volkswagen Group — have confirmed a pause in advertising on the social network as civil society organizations have raised new concerns about the direction of marketing. the company under Musk.

About a week after taking over the company, Musk said he had seen a “big drop in revenue.”

“Twitter has seen a significant drop in revenue as activist groups pressure advertisers, though nothing has changed in regards to content moderation and we did everything possible to appease activists,” he said in a tweet. “Very wrong! They try to destroy free speech in America.”

An ongoing saga about the blue check marks begins

Another aspect of Twitter that Musk quickly changed is one of the platform’s most familiar features to its users: the blue checkmarks that had long been used to confirm the authenticity of government officials, journalists and other public figures.

“Twitter’s current lords and vassals system for who does or doesn’t have a blue check mark is bullshit,” Musk tweeted on Nov. 1. “Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”

Sure enough, on November 5, Twitter released an updated version of its iOS app that allowed users to pay a monthly subscription fee to receive a blue checkmark on their profiles. The update, as described on Apple’s App Store at the time, stated that users would now have to pay $7.99 per month for the company’s Twitter Blue subscription to receive a checkmark on the platform, “by just like the celebrities, companies and politicians you already follow.”

Within days of the subscription service’s launch, Twitter was inundated with a wave of celebrity impersonators and corporations who quickly gamed the new system to impersonate prominent brands and figures.

Chaos ensued. In one viral example, a fake account, featuring a newly purchased blue check mark, purporting to be pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, tweeted that a critical diabetes drug would now be free.

In the aftermath of the chaos, Musk finally announced that he would delay the launch of the subscription service until the end of the month.

“Blue Verified relaunch for November 29 to make sure it’s rock solid,” Musk tweeted on November 15.

On November 24, Musk gave a slightly different target date for the relaunch, December 2, and offered more details about the future service, including a range of checkmark colors to indicate the type of verified account.

Twitter restores some previously suspended accounts, including Donald Trump’s

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

The move came shortly after Twitter restored the accounts of several other controversial users, previously banned or suspended, including Canadian conservative podcaster Jordan Peterson, right-wing satire website Babylon Bee, comedian Kathy Griffin and Rep. Marjorie Taylor. Greene.

Before restoring Trump’s Twitter account, Musk posted a poll asking Twitter users whether Trump should be reinstated, where a narrow majority (51.8%) voted in favor.

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

Trump previously said he would remain on his own platform, Truth Social, rather than rejoin Twitter, and has yet to tweet since his account came back online.

But a change in his approach could have major political implications, as Trump has said he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Musk grants “amnesty” to most previously suspended accounts

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

The Thanksgiving announcement came after a majority voted in favor of his poll on whether to offer “general amnesty to suspended accounts, as long as they haven’t broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” .

Once again, Musk tweeted that “the people have spoken.”

His recent decisions to reinstate previously suspended accounts, based on the results of his polls on the platform, stand in stark contrast to how Musk previously said he would handle such elections.

Just one day after taking control of Twitter, Musk said the social media company “will form a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.”

“No major content decisions or account resets will be made before the council meets,” Musk added.

It is unknown at this time if that council was ever created, convened or involved in the decision-making behind bringing back Trump and the previously suspended accounts.

CNN’s Clare Duffy contributed to this report.





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