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 of 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.
Great, tweets are showing another metric now
First, we got the view counter. Now, iOS users can see how many people have bookmarked a tweet.
- MTwitter’s API access continues to be a mess.
Apparently some researchers are being told that they could have to pay at least $500,000 a year to access a tiny portion of Twitter’s data. I recommend being skeptical about anything this company says until it actually happens, but given all its shenanigans around API access, this wouldn’t exactly be surprising.
The FTC’s Twitter privacy investigations have ramped up since Elon Musk’s takeover
The FTC wants to know who got access to Twitter’s internal messages and information thanks to Elon Musk, and how it’s working to keep users’ data secure as it sells off old PCs and office equipment.
- AElon Musk thinks Twitter has “a shot at being cash flow positive next quarter.”
He gave a high-level update on the state of the company’s financial health during an interview at a conference hosted by Morgan Stanley.
Twitter is currently expecting to make $3 billion in revenue this year and is spending $1.5 billion annually in addition to the $1.5 billion in debt payments it owes, according to Musk. For comparison, Twitter was on track to report about $5 billion in revenue for 2022 before Musk bought it. Its costs were $2.8 billion during just the first half of last year, which implies that he has slashed spend by more than 70 percent.
Musk claimed Twitter now has 250 million daily users and 500 million monthly users, though it’s unclear how those metrics are calculated. The last time Twitter reported user numbers as a public company it said there were 237.8 million daily users during the second quarter of 2022.
Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney’s next subject is Elon Musk
The director behind investigations into Enron, Stuxnet, Theranos, and more is now looking into one of the biggest personalities in tech.
Mar 6Mitchell Clark and Richard Lawler
Twitter fixed its busted links
Clicking a link on Twitter got you no further than an error message, and many images across our timelines were failing to load.
Hey, where’s the Twitter Blue revenue sharing Elon Musk promised a month ago?
On February 3rd, Musk said Twitter would share ad money with creators who bought Twitter Blue ‘starting today.’ But we haven’t found anyone who actually got paid.
Twitter’s timelines stopped working this morning
Want new tweets? You won’t find them in your feed.
Twitter rewrites its rules on violent content under Elon Musk
It’s new ‘zero tolerance’ policy rehashes the company’s existing policies, but it’s hard to say what enforcement will look like.
Elon Musk’s ‘lab leak’ tweets could be an issue for Tesla’s plans in China
A state-run paper in China suggests Musk is biting the hand that feeds him by posting about a “lab leak” theory for the source of covid.
- JIs this Twitter’s future CEO?
The Verge’s friends over at Platformer report that Steve Davis, CEO of The Boring Company, is becoming a key player in Elon Musk’s management of Twitter. Musk says Twitter should be ready for a new CEO by the end of 2023 after users voted for him to step down — perhaps Davis will take that spot.In latest round of Twitter cuts, some see hints of its next CEO
- RElon Musk inserts himself into the Dilbert fiasco to proclaim that “The media is racist.”
The weekend tweet by the once-again world’s richest man reacted to the reaction to Dilbert creator Scott Adams’ YouTube rant about Black people — that video was deemed unacceptably racist enough that newspapers and his syndication partner cut ties with the cartoonist.
In response, Musk says that these days, The Media is actually “racist against whites & Asians.”
There’s another call for a Twitter ad boycott, while The Information reports Musk is seeking people to build a ChatGPT AI alternative that isn’t so “woke.”
- JTwitter’s Slack is coming back, though with a catch.
The company’s Slack had been shut down, and now it’s returning, though with all of the old channels archived, according to Platformer’s Zoë Schiffer. The company told employees the old Slack had a whopping 88,188 channels!
Elon Musk: remaining Twitter employees will soon receive ‘significant’ stock awards
In an internal memo, he calls the company’s most recent round of layoffs ‘a difficult organizational overhaul focused on improving future execution.’
Twitter Blue head Esther Crawford is out at Twitter
Esther Crawford led Twitter Blue and the company’s payments project. Now she and much of her team have been let go.
- AElon Musk is laying off more Twitter employees, again.
It’s at least the fourth round of cuts since Musk said on November 21st that layoffs were over.
Affected employees started receiving notices by email on Saturday. I’m hearing that this round is hitting a bunch of departments, including ads and infrastructure engineering, and Twitter likely has fewer than 2,000 employees now. It had about 7,500 when Musk took over.
Twitter has removed captions from Spaces on iOS, and they don’t work on the web or Android
Perhaps another casualty of Elon Musk’s cost cutting?
Elon Musk keeps laying off Twitter employees after saying cuts were done
Meanwhile, he is still giving aggressive deadlines to make sweeping changes, like revamping how ad targeting works in a week.
Official: Twitter will now charge for SMS two-factor authentication
Better change your 2FA, or Twitter will turn it off.
Twitter is relaxing its policies to allow cannabis ads
The company’s new policy allows significantly more than other major platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
- EI guess Elon Musk really doesn’t like “Lola.”
Or “You Really Got Me.” The Kinks are being censored by Twitter, because I guess no one there likes classic rock. Sad!
Twitter is back after struggling on a random Wednesday
Many people reported issues with Twitter on iOS on Wednesday, but the company says things should be ‘back to normal.’
Feb 15Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton
Yes, Elon Musk created a special system for showing you all his tweets first
After his Super Bowl tweet did worse numbers than President Biden’s, Twitter’s CEO ordered major changes to the algorithm.
- MThe scheduled tweets are back to haunt us.
Remember five days ago when we all had to schedule tweets if we wanted to post? That was fun. Anyways, if you see any out-of-time tweets popping up, that may be because the scheduler automatically times your tweets for five days out. You may want to check your profile to see if your tweet about being rate limited finally posted.
Twitter is just showing everyone all of Elon Musk’s tweets now
Is your Twitter feed suddenly all Elon Musk, too?
- MTwitter’s new API is still on its way.
Last week Twitter announced that it wouldn’t shut down its free API until today, and that it’d be replaced by a new system with a limited free option and a $100 a month plan. Now, the company says that update won’t be coming until... sometime, and that eventually there will be more details. I’d take that with a grain of salt.
- RFox shares Elon Musk's real-time coordinates -- the kind of thing that gets journalists banned on Twitter.
He's in a luxury box at the Super Bowl, next to Rupert Murdoch (who also knows the pain of wasting money on a social media site you've purchased and run into the ground, even if MySpace only cost Fox $580 million instead of $44 billion).
But at least no one can tweet where Elon's private jet is.
- MWhat was with all the Twitter errors yesterday?
The “you are over the daily limit for sending tweets” messages apparently happened because “an employee had inadvertently deleted data for an internal service that sets rate limits for using Twitter,” according to Platformer. The team behind the service, however, has been gone since November.
Most people can tweet again, but Twitter still has issues
For an hour and a half, many people were unable to post.
Now Twitter Blue subscribers can write 4,000-character tweets
The company has introduced its longest limit ever, but only for paying subscribers.
Twitter can now default to the ‘Following’ timeline on iOS and Android
You no longer have to swipe to the left to get to the reverse chronological timeline.
Elon Musk says bots with ‘good content’ can use Twitter’s API for free
Twitter’s supposed to revoke free access to the platform’s API on February 9th — but Musk is already making some changes to the new policy.
- ETwitter’s facing another lawsuit over unpaid bills.
In addition to allegedly failing to pay rent on its offices in San Francisco and London, a new lawsuit filed on Friday accuses Twitter of skipping out on $1.9 million in payments to an advisory firm.
Innisfree M&A assisted Twitter with its sale to Elon Musk last year, and claims it was never paid despite Twitter saying it “successfully processed” its payment in November.Advisory Firm Sues Elon Musk’s Twitter, Saying It Hasn’t Been Paid
[The New York Times]
Twitter will let businesses keep their gold checkmarks — for $1,000 per month
Twitter could also charge extra to add badges to every account affiliated with the brand as part of its latest money-making scheme.
Elon Musk will share Twitter ad revenue — but only with creators who pay for Twitter Blue
Pay $8 a month to get... something.
Twitter replaces its free API with a paid tier in quest to make more money
The platform will soon introduce a ‘paid basic tier,’ with more details expected sometime next week.
- ENow anyone can appeal their Twitter account suspension.
As part of its initiative to take “less severe actions” against rule-breaking accounts, Elon Musk’s Twitter has started letting anyone dispute their account suspension based on the platform’s “new criteria,” which it still hasn’t shared.
Twitter ends CoTweets, its collaborative posting feature
Users are no longer able to create new CoTweets, and existing posts will only be viewable for another month.
- ETwitter’s payments ambitions update: applying for regulatory clearance, designing software.
We’ve talked a little about Elon Musk’s ambitions for turning Twitter into a “super app” (and his history with risk management at PayPal) — and it looks like Musk is serious. Twitter desperately needs fresh revenue streams as advertisers flee, and the Financial Times says the hope is to complete licensing for payments “within a year.”Elon Musk pushes forward with Twitter payments vision
Twitter vows to take ‘less severe actions’ against rule-breaking accounts
“Anyone can appeal an account suspension” starting next month.
- JBloomberg profiled Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety under Elon Musk.
Irwin has become one of the most prominent execs at the company under Musk’s turbulent tenure. Bloomberg reporter Davey Alba shared some of the highlights of the piece in a Twitter thread, which I also recommend reading.
Yes, Twitter changed its font
On the web, you might see a different font. It’s unclear why Twitter changed it, but the new font has some tweaks that might make it easier to spot impersonators.
Elon Musk testified it’s ‘easy’ to raise money, so where are his Twitter investors?
The billionaire Twitter owner boasted that he has the ‘best track record with investors’ during his securities fraud trial.
Twitter for web will now stay on your preferred timeline
If the algorithmic timeline isn’t for you, the latest Twitter update should be a relief.
The third-party apps Twitter just killed made the site what it is today
A surprising amount of the Twitter experience came from alternative apps — and now they’re gone.
Elon Musk teases ‘higher priced’ Twitter Blue subscription with no ads
Twitter still has to follow through on its promise to offer reduced ads to existing Blue subscribers.
- RToday on The Vergecast: Elon Musk status update, M2 MacBook Pros, and tech layoffs.
Alex Heath joins the show’s first segment to talk us through the latest update on Elon’s first few months at Twitter, and then we turn to Apple’s eventless hardware announcement, HomePod and all.
We also dove into the revelations about CNET’s AI-written stories and discussed the recent spate of Big Tech layoffs, although we recorded the show (available in audio form here for your podcast apps) prior to Friday morning’s bombshell news from Google.
- JTwitter tests adding more clutter to its cluttered interface.
Twitter is testing yet another form of verification for journalists. The latest trial adds a small publication logo to the right of display names. It looks pretty messy to me, but that might just be the Daily Mirror logo used in the tests.
Anyway, remember when Elon Musk was talking about dropping features because they were a “waste of screen space”?
- ATwitter’s legal woes are mounting.
800 laid off employees are now seeking damages for the compensation Musk agreed to give them in his merger agreement but didn’t. Twitter is on the hook to pay the fees for these individual arbitration cases, which combined could total tens of millions of dollars.
That news kicks off the latest edition of Command Line, my weekly newsletter that just hit inboxes. Also in this week’s edition: why the CEO of Notion is all in on generative AI, and the co-founder of Nest wants to help you take out the trash.
Coffee makers and statues: Twitter starts auctioning off assets from its San Francisco headquarters
The company is selling espresso machines, designer chairs, and bike-powered recharging stations after falling behind on office rent payments.
Now Twitter is selling one year of blue check privileges at a discounted rate of $84
What a bargain.
- ESpaceX is humming away in Elon Musk’s absence.
We’ve talked before about how SpaceX is actually run by Gwynne Shotwell and as if to prove it, SpaceX is thriving now that Musk is ignoring it: “When Musk’s focus is elsewhere, there’s some semblance of calm,” writes Loren Grush at Bloomberg.
Twitter says it’s intentionally blocking apps like Tweetbot
Twitter says some apps aren’t working because the platform is ‘enforcing its long-standing third-party API rules.’ It still hasn’t explained what rules apps are breaking.
- MTwitter rights its view count wrongs.
Okay, well, the real wrong was forcing us to see them at all; Twitter hasn’t done anything about that yet (and probably won’t). But hey, now the indicator is to the right of the retweet and like numbers.
Jan 17Zoe Schiffer, Casey Newton and 1 more
Inside Elon’s ‘extremely hardcore’ Twitter
Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the social media site against impulsive billionaires who wanted to use the reach of its platform for their own ends, and then one made himself the CEO.
Laid-off Twitter workers must drop class-action severance lawsuit, judge says
The former employees accuse Twitter of shortchanging them on their severance pay.
Who should be the next CEO of Twitter?
Let’s play a guessing game.
- ETwitter’s latest incentive for skeptical advertisers?
The company will match spending up to $250,000, the WSJ reports. That’s almost as big of a freebie as the $500,000 in free ads Twitter offered in exchange for spending $500,000 in December.
- RTwitter’s “open source” algorithm could be revealed next month.
According to its owner, without commenting further on API issues, Tesla pricing, or the new “for you” look for timelines.
Adi Robertson has explained the potential issues already:
Twitter’s algorithm also won’t explain how any given tweet was prioritized unless Twitter releases a huge amount of supplementary data, nor would it necessarily illuminate the rationale behind any human moderation that intersects with it. And it would be incredibly vulnerable to people who want to make bad-faith claims by taking pieces of it out of context, willfully misinterpreting them or sowing conspiracy theories about them.
Jan 13Jay Peters and Mitchell Clark
Twitter’s For You timeline appears on desktop browsers now, too
Twitter just rebranded the algorithmic timeline on iOS, but now that change is available on desktop browsers as well. The star icon, sadly, is gone.
Judge rejects Elon Musk’s request to move his upcoming securities fraud trial to Texas
Musk’s lawyers claim that a jury pool from San Francisco will be biased against the billionaire in the aftermath of his $44 billion takeover of Twitter. But the judge didn’t find that argument persuasive.
- STwitter clients like Tweetbot just stopped working.
Even Tweetbot developer Paul Haddad doesn’t know what’s going on. Speculation is that Musk is pulling the plug on third-party apps, but nothing’s for certain yet.
Twitter still does not have a comms department for us to ask.
Twitter defaults to a For You page now, just like TikTok
Twitter is making the algorithmic feed the default, though you can still switch to your reverse chronological feed with a swipe. The star icon that used to let you swap feeds is now gone.
- SElon Musk still annoyed about dad’s old emerald mine.
It’s inconvenient for his origin story! So he tried to suggest the emerald mine was “fake” — only to see his tweet revealed as a blatant lie on Twitter.
FWIW, Snopes was unable to find proof that emeralds paid for Musk’s rise to fame, but it also notes some stories about the mine have been...disappearing. Here’s one dad money quote that’s still on the web: “We had so much money at times we couldn’t even close our safe.”
- RThe trouble with Twitter’s layoffs continues.
Despite Elon Musk’s previous assertion that Twitter is done with layoffs, Bloomberg reports the company just let go of more people from the moderation team.
And as for the thousands of people affected — whether involuntarily or by their own choice — Fortune reports severance agreements are arriving with less compensation than many expected, and in a format that landed the messages in spam folders.
“I mean I expected him to f**k us (he did),” an impacted employee wrote to Fortune. “This is about 1/3 of what he contractually owes us based on his purchase agreement.”
TweetDeck.com is down, but TweetDeck still works
Typing ‘tweetdeck.com’ into your URL bar is erroring out, but tweetdeck.twitter.com works just fine.
- JTwitter laid off more employees despite Elon Musk saying the company was done with layoffs.
The Information is reporting that the company laid off “about 40 data scientists and engineers working on advertising.” In November, Elon Musk told staff that the company wouldn’t be doing more layoffs, but that apparently wasn’t true.
- TTwitter Blue’s verification blues.
Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler has again created a fake account for Sen. Ed Markey that was again verified as real by Twitter’s revamped authentication process:
I expected Twitter would ask me to prove my identity... But no. After 7 days, a blue check mark appeared on the faux Markey account, no questions asked.
- TTwitter users in Australia are having a bad day.
Elon Musk’s $44 billion hobby has been up and down for over 12 hours in Australia and New Zealand, according to Downdetector. Users are reporting slow load times when the site does actually load, causing some to fire up a VPN to access Twitter through the US.
Twitter says it will allow more political ads as it tries to claw back revenue
Exactly what will change under the new policies outside of what’s mentioned in a tweet is unclear. The company is also ‘relaxing’ its policies for ‘cause-based’ ads in the US.
- ETwitter’s landlord in San Francisco is suing the company for not paying rent.
The landlord, which owns the Hartford Building that houses Twitter’s headquarters, claims the company owes $136,250 in unpaid rent. It allegedly notified Twitter on December 16th that it would default on its lease if it doesn’t receive payment, but Twitter never complied.
This comes after last month’s report from The New York Times, which indicates Twitter has stopped paying rent on all of its global offices “for weeks” as a cost-cutting measure. Twitter’s also facing a lawsuit for allegedly failing to pay a $197,725 bill for two private jet flights.Twitter Sued for Nonpayment of Rent on San Francisco Office
Twitter will soon let you swipe between tweets, topics, and trends
You’ll be able to start switching between different views in January.
The vibes are off at Tesla
Layoffs, lawsuits, delays, Twitter chaos, stock in free fall, factory shutdowns — What happened to America’s favorite electric car company?
Dec 29, 2022Mitchell Clark and Richard Lawler
Twitter’s recovering from a few hours of glitchiness
What are the odds someone walked around randomly unplugging server racks?
ElonJet is back on Twitter, but with a 24-hour delay
Jack Sweeney’s new ElonJetNextDay account has a 24-hour delay to abide by Twitter rules