Elon Musk owns Twitter. How’d we get here? On April 4th, we learned that Elon Musk had purchased enough shares of Twitter to become its largest individual shareholder. Eventually, he followed up with an unsolicited offer to buy 100 percent of Twitter’s shares for $54.20 each, or about $44 billion. Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s offer, but then things got weird because he tried to cancel the deal.
There was a lot of back and forth about bots and text messages, but in the end, Musk settled on buying the company rather than facing a deposition or Chancery Court trial and eventually strode into Twitter HQ carrying a sink.
Elon Musk began Twitter’s new era of private ownership by firing several executives — including previous CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and policy chief Vijaya Gadde — and, a week later, initiated mass layoffs, drastically cutting its workforce.
The first few weeks of Elon Musk’s Twitter have so far included mass layoffs, the firing of employees who criticized Musk publicly or privately, and hundreds of employees voluntarily accepting Musk’s offer of three months severance instead of the option of joining a new “extremely hardcore” version of Twitter.
Musk has also flip-flopped on paid verification, launching it just over a week after he took over, then putting it on pause after some high-profile impersonations. He then announced it was coming back on November 29th, before telling employees that the company might or might not launch it on that date.
On November 19th, Elon Musk announced that based on the results of a poll posted to his personal account, he’s reinstating the Twitter account of former president Donald Trump. The @realDonaldTrump account was suspended by Twitter on January 8th, 2021, following the January 6th mob attack on the US capitol.
Read on for the latest updates about what’s going on inside Twitter right now.
- AElon Musk cuts more of Twitter’s employee perks.
Company allowances for employee wellness, productivity, home internet, training and development, Outschool, daycare, and quarterly team activities have all been discontinued, per an internal memo I’ve seen. “Allowances will be reevaluated over time and may be added back when the company’s financial situation improves,” it reads. More hardcore!
Musk says the creator of Signal is interested in helping make it so that “I can’t look at anyone’s DMs if somebody has put a gun to my head.”
- AElon Musk wants every Twitter employee sending weekly updates about their work via email now.
Per an internal memo to employees that I obtained, every Friday all Twitter employees are required to send an email update on their work with the subject line structure: “Weekly Update, name, dept, and date.”
Inside the email, they must include what project they are working on, “code samples” if relevant or summaries of work for non-technical work, and what they have been trying to accomplish.
“Looking forward to making Twitter the highest performing tech software company in the world,” the internal memo ends. Hardcore!
The fast rollout of Twitter’s paid verification quickly led to rampant impersonation. Now Musk says the company is taking it slow.
Twitter had nearly 7,500 employees before Musk took over. Now it has about 2,700.
The latest round of layoffs affects Twitter’s sales teams.
- ETwitter loses another executive as Donald Trump’s account gets restored.
Sarah Rosen, Twitter’s head of US content partnerships, announced her departure from the company shortly after Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account on Saturday night.
According to Bloomberg, Robin Wheeler, Twitter’s ad sales chief, and Maggie Suniewick, the company’s partnerships leader, were both terminated on Friday after they refused to fire more employees. Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, also resigned last week.
He justified the decision based on the results of a personal Twitter poll. “The people have spoken,” Musk decreed.
A report from Bloomberg suggests that the US government is reviewing whether Twitter’s foreign investors have access to user data.
- ETwitter’s copyright strike system appears to be broken.
Naturally, one user took this as an opportunity to post the entire The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift movie in a series of two-minute clips spanning nearly 50 tweets.
The thread has been up for almost a whole day now, and the fact that it hasn't been taken down yet is a likely side effect of the hundreds of employees who resigned from Twitter earlier this week.
She resigned, then un-resigned, and now she’s reportedly been fired. Can you keep up?
- RTwitter’s now-former head of Trust and Safety predicts what’s next for its “custodians of the internet.”
In this op-ed, Yoel Roth examines why he left Twitter last week (because all decisions now lie with one person, Elon Musk) and the hellish rules about content moderation Musk will have to navigate, whether made by regulators or the planned moderation council.
But, as Roth explains, the most notable check on Elon’s “unilateral edict” and free speech platitudes may be Apple and Google:
Twitter will have to balance its new owner’s goals against the practical realities of life on Apple and Google’s internet — no easy task for the employees who have chosen to remain. And as I departed the company, the calls from the app review teams had already begun
Elon Musk begins reinstating banned Twitter accounts, starting with Jordan Peterson and the Babylon Bee
The decision comes after widespread resignations among the platform’s critical engineering staff.
- RIf you (still) work at Twitter and you can code, head to the HQ now.
How many people took their new boss’s offer and quit their jobs at Twitter last night?
We don’t have a number to put on that, but Alex Heath has this email that was just sent from Elon Musk to Twitter’s software engineers.
Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2pm today.
Before doing so, please email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.
The strangest part of all this is that just 18 hours ago, Twitter told employees that all office buildings will be closed until the 21st. But maybe they could really use the help.
Verification is an old nemesis for Musk.
Whether or not this is actually the end of Twitter, we all know where we’re going to talk about it.
- MTwitter reportedly has a new head of trust and safety.
Musk gave Twitter staff a deadline to say if they are staying for his cultural reset of the company. And right on deadline, the farewell emojis started pouring into Twitter’s Slack.
- MTwitter’s getting sued over its remote work rules.
A disabled employee who was allegedly fired for not coming into Twitter offices to work has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that its new rules about remote work are discriminatory (via Reuters).
CEO Elon Musk has previously said that workers who “can show up in an office” and don’t are basically resigning, and while he’s said exceptions will be made, managers may be risking their own jobs by nominating employees for remote work.
- JTwitter might add even more badges.
The new Elon Musk company is working on a “Blue for business” project where businesses can buy special badges for their employees, according to Platformer. In one mockup, Verizon CEO has three badges by his name. Here’s hoping Twitter’s badges go full Tumblr.Elon goes hardcore
Approving remote work puts managers on the chopping block.
Musk’s ultimatum for Twitter employees expires today. In an FAQ document, the message is clear — you’re either in or you’re out.
Twitter employees can leave with three months of severance or commit to ‘long hours at high intensity.’ Twitter 2.0 begins at 5pm ET on Thursday.