Six changes Elon Musk has made since taking over Twitter

Six changes Elon Musk has made since taking over Twitter
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Only days after, Elon Musk seized control over Twitter, in a $44 billion megadeal, changes to the company were immediately visible, from an $8 Blue subscription and revival of new products and updates. And the list of changes isn’t limited to the platform alone, as Musk, who also owns SpaceX and Tesla, is planning on a major restructuring of Twitter, with reports stating he might let as much as 25% of its workforce go. We take a look at some of the changes the world’s richest man is ushering days after assuming ownership of the service. 

Letting go of top exec, board members 

In one of his first decisions at the helm of the social media giant, Musk fired four top executives from the company, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, general counsel Sean Edgett and policy chief Vijaya Gadde. All that wasn't surprising as Musk had earlier criticised Gadde on his Twitter account, since she was involved in the decision to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform. His fallout with Agrawal also became public, with Musk tweeting poop emojis at the CEO, who took over for founder Jack Dorsey late last year. Agrawal went to court to hold Musk to the terms of a takeover deal he had tried to escape. 


The New York Times reported that managers have already been asked to come up with a list of employees who will ‘let go’. Further, a document filed with financial regulators Monday showed Twitter’s board had been dismissed, another step leaving the company in Musk’s sole control. 

Layoffs are imminent 

The Tesla founder was earlier rumoured to say that he wants to cut 75% of Twitter’s staff, though he later denied that statement. But now it seems that layoffs are inevitable in Twitter, Musk held detailed meetings with his close circle on plans regarding laying-off 25% of the workforce to begin with, according to a report by The Washington Post. 


Alex Spiro, a celebrity lawyer who has represented Musk for several years, is taking an active role in managing several teams at Twitter, including legal, government relations, policy and marketing, according to four people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them, as well as tweets from some of the people involved. 

Long-time Musk associates David Sacks and Jason Calacanis appeared in a company directory over the weekend, according to photos obtained by The Washington Post. Both had official company emails, and their titles were “staff software engineer.” Musk’s title in the directory was CEO, although that position had not been publicly announced. He refers to himself as “Chief Twit.” 

Bringing employees from Tesla and others 


Musk is reportedly bringing in engineers from his other enterprise to review code that runs Twitter, CNBC reported. More than 50 Tesla workers, two Boring Company staff, and one Neuralink employee have been called to review code at the social media platform. The current Twitter employees told the news site that, “to complete Musk's review deadlines, they are pulling 12-hour shifts, seven days a week with no communication surrounding their compensation or job security”.

Twitter is developed in code written in Scala, a concise 18-year-old programming language, compared to Python, a 31-year-old programming language that Tesla engineers are currently using. The "idea of Musk being flanked by his Tesla engineers reviewing Twitter code is laughable," a source, told The Washington Post requesting anonymity. 

A revival of Vine  


Musk is considering a revival of Vine, according to people familiar with the matter. Vine, acquired by Twitter in 2012, was a popular short-form video app, which minted several internet stars before it faded and was shut down. The service was similar to today's ByteDance’s TikTok, Instagram’s Reels and YouTube’s Shorts. Many employees are volunteering internally to work on the Vine project, according to a person familiar with the matter, a project they think can help them keep their jobs. 

Bringing it back wouldn’t be as simple as turning it on. The product, shut down in 2016, is built on old code that would no longer communicate with Twitter’s current systems, and would likely have to be rewritten, according to people familiar with the matter. It would also lead to other challenges, like the possibility of music rights partnerships and need for better creator payment features. 

$8 for Twitter Blue tick 


As part of changes after the takeover of the social media site, Musk has said Twitter will charge $8 monthly to Twitter users who want a blue tick by their name indicating a verified account. The Blue Tick is a coveted feature on Twitter, usually offered to a user after a verification process. Typically, Twitter verifies prominent personalities, journalists, activists, and celebrities, and is currently free of charge. But for long many have argued that the process is not fair. Criticising the old method of blue tick verification as a "lords and peasants' system", the billionaire said on Twitter, "Power to the people! 

But some believe the move could make it harder to identify reliable sources. Nu Wexler, former Twitter Head of Global Policy Communications, warned that introducing a fee for blue ticks could make it harder to spot disinformation. "With disinformation as an issue that a lot of platforms are struggling with, verification is one of the ways that journalists, academic researchers and some users use to filter out disinformation or low-quality information," Wexler told the BBC's Today programme, adding that "If you're offering up blue checks for rent, it makes it harder to sift through disinformation and find high quality information." 

Content moderation already underway 


Musk’s most well-known proposal for Twitter’s future: making it a haven for “free speech.” While it’s not clear how he plans to do so, yet, the billionaire tweeted that he will form a council “with widely diverse viewpoints” that will consider content moderation. There has been speculation Musk could loosen the site’s content moderation policies after taking over. 

Musk has also raised questions about a number of the policies, including Twitter’s general misinformation policy, which penalises posts that include falsehoods about topics like election outcomes and Covid-19.  

Musk wants the policy to be more specific, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Musk has also asked the team to review Twitter’s hateful conduct policy, according to the people, specifically a section that says users can be penalised for “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.” 

There may be many more changes on the cards as Musk suggested the company was "bloated, poorly run, unwelcoming to controversial speech and overrun with spam".

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