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Timeline: Elon Musk’s key decisions in his first month in-charge of Twitter

Timeline: Elon Musk’s key decisions in his first month in-charge of Twitter
Photo Credit: Pixabay
23 Nov, 2022
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Elon Musk will be completing a month as the new owner of the social media platform Twitter. The last one month has been eventful, to say the least. When Musk finally made the $44 billion acquisition on October 27, 2022 - following a long-haul drama since announcing the offer in April - he (immediately) fired multiple top executives including prior chief executive, Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer, Ned Segal, and policy lead Vijaya Gadde, among others and instated himself as ‘Chief Twit’. 

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, further dissolved the board of directors, and is now Twitter's sole director. 

Also read: A brief history of Elon Musk’s bid to buy-not buy-but buy Twitter

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On the morning of October 27th, Musk marched into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters holding a bathroom sink, muttering to the camera “you can’t help but let that sink in” (pun intended statement). He spent the day at the office holding meetings with employees and executives and tweeted that he was “Meeting a lot of cool people at Twitter today!” 

And that was only the beginning…. With each passing day, Musk made new announcements, indulged in witticisms, fired more than 50% of the company’s workforce, and promised to bring ‘big changes’ to Twitter to make the platform “more engaging and meaningful” as he aims to "rapidly monitise the platform".

Here is a brief timeline of what has happened since Musk took the helm at Twitter and the key decisions he has made in the first month of being in charge of the social media platform. 

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October 27: Arguably, the most consequential change that Musk has already made to Twitter is the change he made to its key personnel including its CEO, CFO and other senior executive. The bird is free,' Elon Musk has tweeted after closing the Twitter deal.

He also sent a letter to advertisers promising that Twitter would not become a "free-for-all hellscape," as some claimed his content moderation policies would create. 

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October 28: Musk's takeover created uncertainty on the platform. While some liberals debated leaving, conservatives praised his investment in the company. Musk, however, delayed major content moderation reforms, stating that he would “create a council to seek advice on such decisions”. 

October 30: Musk created controversy when he posted a link to a conspiracy theory on a disreputable news website about Paul Pelosi, leading to criticism that he was contributing misinformation. Musk quickly deleted the link. 

Same day, Musk also tweeted out a poll asking if he should bring Vine back from the dead. Vine was a short-form video app that Twitter purchased and shut down years ago. Musk has asked Twitter engineers to begin work on an updated version of Vine that could launch before the end of the year. 

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October 31: The company's board of directors was dissolved, leaving Musk as the sole director at the company. 

November 1: Musk outlined his vision for the company's new version of Twitter Blue, a premium service that allowed users to pay $8 to be verified and receive special tools. 

November 3: Musk axed a holiday from Twitter’s company calendar: the “Day of Rest.” Twitter had introduced the holiday in 2020 to combat burnout, a concern Musk doesn’t share. Reports from within Twitter say he’s been asking employees to work 85 hour weeks to ship new products as soon as possible, with at least one employee electing to roll out a sleeping bag on the office floor. 

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Several Twitter employees filed a class-action lawsuit against Musk, alleging that the sudden mass layoffs were against federal law. Musk also faced pressure over advertising, as several advertisers withdrew their support. Musk blamed "activist groups" for censoring free speech. Civil rights groups implored advertisers to drop Twitter, saying that Musk's views on free speech would lead to election misinformation. 

November 4: Musk began laying off thousands of workers at Twitter — estimated to be more than 3,700 (on this date) and Twitter temporarily closed its offices. Reports estimated that roughly half of employees had been let go. Employees came to know of their firings through a variety of means. Workers in Dublin and Tokyo received emails regarding the layoffs, while those in Ireland and Britain remained in their offices at night to await official word on their employment status. Others learned that they had been laid off when they found themselves locked out of their work applications .

"Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day, he said.

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November 5: Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for the sudden layoffs at the company and said he is "at fault for the company growing too large too quickly". 

November 6: Musk announced that Twitter will permanently ban impersonators after a wave of celebrities, including Kathy Griffin, decided to impersonate him on the platform. 

On that day, Twitter asked some employees who had been laid off to return to the company, either because they had been fired by mistake or because they were belatedly deemed important to the health of the business. 

November 7: Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey sparred about Twitter’s mission to become the “most accurate source of information” and the rebranding of its feature Birdwatch – a name the new owner said gave him “the creeps.” The spat began when Musk said in a tweet, “Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission.” 

“Accurate to who?” replied Dorsey, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter. 

“As judged by the people of Twitter via Community Notes (formerly Birdwatch),” Musk wrote, referring to the feature that allows users to add notes on tweets they find misleading. 

Musk advocated independent voters to vote in favour of Republicans, a statement that led to criticism that he was in conflict with his own stated goal of creating a politically "neutral" platform. 

November 8: Biden expressed support for a U.S. government review of the foreign investors backing Musk's purchase, alluding to national security concerns. However, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated that she did not see a reason to investigate the acquisition and unaware of any national security concerns.  

November 9: Seven Democratic senators urged the FTC to investigate Musk's rapid changes to Twitter, while pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly suspended all advertising campaigns on Twitter after a false tweet from an impersonator account went viral.  

Former head of consumer product Jeff Seibert expressed disappointment and frustration over Musk's changes to Twitter 

November 10: Musk sent his first email to staffers, informing them they will be required to work in the office and that he is putting an end to Twitter’s “work from home forever” policy. 

He also hosted a townhall meeting in which he reviewed the company's financial future and warned the company might not survive the downturn without significant subscription revenue. 

Additional C-level executives have also resigned from Twitter, including CISO Lea Kissner. 

The legal battle between Twitter and Musk ends as the judge dismisses the lawsuit. 

November 11: Twitter re-implemented the "official" tag after several fake accounts created chaos on the platform by pretending to be Apple or Tesla. 

November 12: Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter fires an estimated 80% of contract employees without formal notice. The second round of layoffs has reportedly affected somewhere around 4,400 out of 5,500 people. 

November 14: Musk announces Twitter is turning off microservices “bloatware,” which he claims is not necessary for the site to work. Experts warn of a potential Twitter outage due to turning off microservices and advise backing up personal data. 

November 15: Musk fires at least 20 engineers from Twitter, some of whom posted critical comments either on the social network or on its internal Slack messaging system. 

November 16: Elon Musk has revealed that the revamped Twitter Blue will finally be relaunched on November 29. In his tweet, he said, "Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid." In the same thread of tweets, Musk confirmed that all legacy Blue checkmarks will be removed in a matter of months. He claimed that the service will get delayed to get a 'rock solid' start.  

Musk also confirmed that he will be dropping the 280-character limit on Twitter 'soon'.  

The company is working on a solution to turn long-form text into a thread automatically.
According to a tweet posted by Twitter's app researcher Jane Manchun Wong, composer will automatically break the text into a thread when it crosses the 280-character limit.

November 17: Musk has given employees a day’s time to commit to “extremely hardcore” work or else suggested they should leave the company, according to an internal email sent by him. 

“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore,” Musk wrote in the memo. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.” 

November 18: Twitter offices began shutting down on as hundreds of employees resigned after receiving the ultimatum from Musk. 

November 19: Musk in a tweet informed that former US president Donald Trump's Twitter account was reinstated. Trump's account was banned from the platform early last year for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Musk ran a poll in which a narrow majority of voters supported the move. "The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated," Musk tweeted, shortly after the 24-hour Twitter poll on his account ended. "Vox Populi, Vox Dei," he added, repeating a Latin adage he also posted Friday, meaning "The voice of the people is the voice of God." 

November 21: Musk said in an hour-long all-hands meeting with employees that the company is done with layoffs and actively recruiting for roles in engineering and sales and that employees are encouraged to make referrals. The meeting that took place at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters. 

November 21: Musk said that the social media platform’s relaunch of its paid verification service touted ‘Twitter Blue’ will be held off until the firm can effectively get rid of fake accounts. Musk said in a tweet that the firm was “holding off” on the relaunch of the service until there is “high confidence of stopping impersonation.”   

November 22: Musk claimed that Twitter has added 1.6 million daily active users in the past week. He claimed this is an all-time-high for the micro-blogging platform. The daily active users showed a spike at the end of October, when Musk took over the platform. It went up to 259.4 million from the daily active user based of around 250 million at the beginning of October. 

Musk also presented ‘Twitter 2.0’ — a plan that includes building encrypted direct messages, as well as encrypted voice and video calls, into the app. According to a report by The Verge, Musk told Twitter employees that Twitter 2.0 would “want to enable users to be able to communicate without being concerned about their privacy, (and) without being concerned about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs (direct messages) to hit the web, or think that maybe someone at Twitter could be spying on their DMs.”

November 23: Musk appreciated the team working at Twitter. He tweeted, “To be fair, there are many people at Twitter working late into the night, for whom I have great respect.” 

The tweet was in response to a question posed about Musk working on a new book on '40 hour work week'. Elon Musk share an image of a T-shirt with 'Stay @work' written on it. He took a dig at Twitter before the takeover. Musk reportedly found a bunch of t-shirts at the company's HQ saying #StayWoke. 

November 24: The FIFA World Cup 2022 traffic hit almost 20,000 tweets per second. Musk tweeted, “World Cup traffic hit almost 20,000 tweets per second today! Great work by Twitter team managing record usage.” 

Musk also claimed that the hate speech impressions on Twitter were down by one-third from pre-spike levels. Congratulating the Twitter team, he tweeted: ''Hate speech impressions down by 1/3 from pre-spike levels. Congrats to Twitter team!'' 

November 25: Twitter will grant “a general amnesty” to accounts that had been suspended from the platform beginning next week. The billionaire posted a poll the day earlier over whether the platform should restore affected accounts. 

In another tweet, Musk said there could be improvements to Twitter's speed. "You might notice small, sometimes major, improvements in speed of Twitter. Will be especially significant in countries far away from USA,'' he said.