How Elon Musk is altering Twitter, from mass layoffs to verify marks


Elon Musk has solely been answerable for Twitter since late October. However already, he’s turned the corporate and its platform the other way up.

Nearly instantly after he took over, Musk booted prime executives, slashed rank-and-file headcount by 50 p.c, issued remaining staff an ultimatum to be “hardcore” of their work ethic or stop, and fast-tracked a hodgepodge of doubtless revenue-generating options, together with charging customers to get or maintain a verification verify mark. And that was all earlier than he allowed former president Donald Trump again on the app, reversing Trump’s former ban on the platform, after which declared “amnesty” for beforehand suspended accounts.

Musk’s mass layoffs and intense administration model have gutted Twitter’s workers, reportedly together with some key engineering features, inflicting issues concerning the website’s technical capacity to remain up and operating.

And his new verify mark system — Musk’s first main product replace — brought about chaos within the hours after its launch, as newly checkmarked customers flooded the app with pretend accounts, impersonating figures from Nintendo’s Mario character to former US President George W. Bush. Including to the chaos, by November 11, lower than per week for the reason that new paid checkmark system was launched, it appeared that the Twitter Blue subscription service that allow you to purchase a checkmark was not working for many individuals.

And whereas Musk didn’t instantly change any of Twitter’s insurance policies in opposition to offensive content material, within the hours after Musk took over there was a notable surge in hate speech on the app. A number of the customers posting felt emboldened by Musk’s “free speech absolutist” angle, and actively tried to check the bounds of what they might say on Twitter underneath the corporate’s new management. Others have examined the bounds of Musk’s free speech stance by making enjoyable of him personally.

Musk doesn’t need to be CEO of Twitter perpetually — he’s repeatedly mentioned he needs to finally give that job to another person “over time.” Within the meantime, many present and former staff, social media lecturers, and human rights advocates are involved that Musk may change Twitter for the more severe, turning it into an much more intense cesspool of adverse content material than it already is. However others hope Musk can breathe new life right into a platform that was already bleeding its most prolific customers and, for years, has struggled to show a revenue. In a workers assembly on November 10, Musk mentioned chapter was not out of the query if Twitter doesn’t work out a means to make more cash.

Listed below are among the most vital methods Musk has modified the corporate to date.

Reinstating suspended accounts

From the start, Musk took over Twitter with the said objective of constructing it a platform that allowed extra controversial speech.

Just a little underneath a month after he took over the corporate, Musk reinstated the account of former President Donald Trump, who was beforehand banned from Twitter following the the Jan 6 assault on the US Capitol. The transfer was extremely controversial, though Trump has but to put up any new tweets, saying he prefers his personal social media app, Fact Social.

Musk went even additional in late November. He ran one other ballot asking whether or not he ought to “provide a common amnesty” to suspended accounts so long as they haven’t “damaged the legislation or engaged in egregious spam.” A day after posting the ballot — and after a majority of individuals voted “sure” — Musk tweeted that he would begin reinstating suspended accounts the next week. The transfer raised fast issues about whether or not bringing again customers who’ve repeatedly violated Twitter’s hate speech insurance policies would create a flood of abuse on the platform.

Within the days previous to reinstating Trump, Musk additionally reinstated the accounts of comic Kathy Griffin (who was suspended after she impersonated Musk), controversial psychologist influencer Jordan Peterson, and conservative humor information website Babylon Bee. Peterson and Babylon Bee have been each suspended after tweeting anti-trans feedback.

These reinstatements come even supposing Musk mentioned he would wait to make any main selections about reinstating banned accounts till he kinds a “content material moderation council” to advise him.

Gutting Twitter’s workers

Musk started his reign as Twitter’s chief by firing prime executives. Inside hours of the deal closing, CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and head of authorized coverage, belief, and security Vijaya Gadde have been proven the door. On November 10, Twitter’s prime privateness and safety executives resigned, together with Chief Data Safety Officer Lea Kissner, the corporate’s chief privateness officer, and chief compliance officer, in response to a number of experiences. On the identical day, Twitter’s head of belief and security, Yoel Roth, who in latest days had publicly reassured folks that Twitter was nonetheless following its content material moderation insurance policies, additionally left.

The week after he took over, Musk continued firing executives, together with Twitter’s advert chief, common supervisor of core tech, and chief advertising officer Leslie Berland (who just some days earlier despatched a cheery notice saying that Musk was visiting the San Francisco workplaces). He additionally pulled in additional than 50 Tesla engineers to work for Twitter and assembled his personal circle of trusted advisers.

Quickly after, Musk began gutting Twitter’s rank-and-file workers. He laid off an estimated 50 p.c — upward of three,700 staff — from the corporate. Twitter knowledgeable its workers that layoffs would occur by 9 am PT on Friday in a company-wide e mail. By late Thursday night, a number of staff informed Recode or posted publicly on Twitter that they’d already been locked out of their work e mail and Slack accounts with none formal discover of whether or not they had been laid off.


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