Twitter has had a bumpy ride since new owner Elon Musk took charge last month. The world’s richest person halted plans to charge $8 for the sought-after blue check mark as fake accounts mushroomed, while bringing back the “official” badge for some users just days after he “killed” it.
Twitter has also cut staff by half, while Musk has raised the possibility of the social media platform going bankrupt.
Musk recently told employees to consider whether they wanted to stay on “working long hours at high intensity” or take a severance package of three months pay.
The chief executive of Twitter, who is also Tesla Inc’s (TSLA.O) top boss, has taken the following actions so far:
- TOP MANAGEMENT CUTS
Musk fired top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, shortly after the deal was completed on Oct. 27.
- ADVERTISERS HIT PAUSE
Several corporate advertisers distanced themselves from Twitter, including General Motors (GM.N), Oreo maker Mondelez International (MDLZ.O), Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Ford (F.N). He had earlier said he wanted the company to be “the most respected advertising platform”.
- CONTENT MODERATION COUNCIL
Musk on Oct. 29 said he would set up a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints”.
Laid off half the workforce. The company fired more than 90% of its India staff, Bloomberg News reported. It also reported that Twitter was asking dozens of employees who lost their jobs to return.
- ROLLS OUT $8 SERVICE
Twitter on Nov. 5 launches an $8 subscription service that gives the user a verified blue check mark and other features.
- SEARCH IMPROVEMENTS
Musk on Nov. 5 said Twitter’s in-app search would be improved. “Search within Twitter reminds me of Infoseek in ‘98! That will also get a lot better pronto,” he tweeted.
- LONG-FORM TEXT TO TWEETS
- Musk said on Nov. 5 that Twitter would soon add the ability to attach long-form text to tweets, followed by monetization for creators for all forms of content.
- IMPERSONATION TO LEAD TO ACCOUNT SUSPENSION
- Twitter users engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying it as a “parody” account will be permanently suspended without a warning, Musk tweeted on Nov. 6.
- CONTENT ACCURACY
Musk said on Nov. 6, Twitter’s mission is to become the most accurate source of information about the world.
- OFFICIAL LABEL
On Nov. 8, Twitter introduces an “Official” label for select verified accounts including major media outlets and governments when it launches its new $8 premium subscription product.
- KILLS OFFICIAL LABEL
On Nov. 9, Musk tweets that he “killed” the new official label for Twitter accounts, on the same day that it began rolling out.
- SPACES SESSION WITH ADVERTISERS
Musk told advertisers on Nov. 9 he aimed to turn the social media platform into a force for truth and stop fake accounts in an effort to assuage brands and advertising agencies that have increasingly been backing away.
- WARNS OF BANKRUPTCY
On his first mass call with employees, Musk raised the possibility of the social media platform going bankrupt, Bloomberg News reported.
- HALTS $8 SERVICE, BRINGS BACK ‘OFFICIAL’ LABEL
On Nov. 11, Twitter paused the $8 blue check subscription service as fake accounts mushroomed, and brought back the “official” badge to some users of the social media platform.
- SPACEX BUYS AD CAMPAIGN ON TWITTER FOR STARLINK
Musk on Nov. 14 tweeted that his rocket company SpaceX has bought a “tiny” advertising package on Twitter for its satellite internet service Starlink.
- RELAUNCH $8 SERVICE ON NOV. 29
On Nov. 15, Musk said the sought-after blue check subscription service will be relaunched on Nov. 29, a minor delay from his initial tentative timeline.
- NEW LEADER FOR TWITTER
Musk said on Nov. 16, he expects to reduce his time at Twitter and eventually find a new leader to run the company, adding that he hoped to complete an organizational restructuring during the week.
- ULTIMATUM TO EMPLOYEES
On Nov. 16, Musk emailed Twitter employees, saying: “Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore”. The email asked staff to click “yes” if they wanted to stick around, warning those who did not respond by 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 17, would be considered to have quit and given a severance package.