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Twitter-Musk Information Timeline: Musk Backtracks on Distant Work, Senators Name for FTC Assessment

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Twitter’s new proprietor and CEO, Elon Musk, is placing his stamp on the influential microblogging social community. Instantly after Musk purchased Twitter on Oct. 27, the billionaire started making amjor modifications that embrace firing prime executives and shedding half the workers. 

Twitter’s saga with Musk, who additionally runs automaker Tesla and aerospace firm SpaceX, was chaotic even earlier than he took management. He signed a deal in April to accumulate the corporate however then tried to again out of it, main Twitter to sue him. After months of pretrial skirmishes, Musk closed the acquisition proper earlier than a court-ordered deadline. 

Here is the latest information about Musk’s takeover of Twitter:

Nov. 17: Musk modifications stance on distant work whereas senators need FTC investigation

An e mail despatched to Twitter staff on Nov. 9 mentioned distant work could be banned, however it seems issues have modified. A message emailed to staff on Thursday had Musk saying distant work could be obtainable, if authorized in keeping with a report from Bloomberg. 

“All that’s required for approval is that your supervisor takes duty for making certain that you’re making a superb contribution,” Musk mentioned within the e mail. He additionally wished staff to have in-person group conferences not less than as soon as a month. 

This flip-flop comes hours earlier than the 5 p.m. ET deadline Musk laid out to staff to signal on to an “extraordinarily hardcore” work tradition. 

Thursday additionally noticed a letter from a bunch of Democratic senators despatched to Lina Khan, the chairwoman of the US Federal Commerce Fee. Outlined within the letter are what the legislators described as “alarming steps” taken by Musk together with new options which have been used for scams, a rise in hate speech and the elimination of cybersecurity executives inside the firm, probably placing customers’ private information in danger. The senators level out that this motion might imply the corporate is in violation of the FTC’s consent decree to guard this information as a part of a settlement with the fee in 2011. 

“We urge the Fee to vigorously oversee its consent decree with Twitter and to carry enforcement actions in opposition to any breaches or enterprise practices which might be unfair or misleading, together with bringing civil penalties and imposing legal responsibility on particular person Twitter executives the place acceptable,” the senators mentioned. 

Among the many seven Democratic senators are Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey. 

Twitter violated the consent decree again in Might when the FTC discovered the corporate used safety information like cellphone numbers and e mail addresses to focus on promoting at customers. This led to a $150 million settlement paid by Twitter. 

Twitter did not instantly reply to a request for remark. 

Nov. 16: Musk calls for ‘hardcore’ work tradition. Dorsey’s ‘nope’

Musk emailed all workers to define his imaginative and prescient for “Twitter 2.0,” which would require an “extraordinarily hardcore” tradition, with lengthy hours and excessive depth, in keeping with Pragmatic Engineer author (and former Uber engineer) Gergely Orosz. Workers should conform to this on Thursday or depart with three months of severance pay. 

Throughout testimony Wednesday over a Tesla shareholder case alleging that his wage as CEO is extreme, Musk additionally reportedly instructed the court docket that he doesn’t need to be CEO of Tesla, and that his chief govt management of Twitter is a brief association.

“I anticipate to scale back my time at Twitter and discover any individual else to run Twitter over time,” he mentioned, in keeping with CNBC.

Twitter did not reply to a request for remark.

When a follower requested Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey if he’d take into account returning as CEO, Dorsey responded with a agency “nope.” There is not any indication that he obtained a suggestion to return — the follower’s question got here after Dorsey engaged in dialog about Twitter’s future and expressed confidence that the location would survive. His earlier tenure as CEO resulted in Might 2021, and he left its board of administrators in Might 2022. 

Nov. 15: Employees fired for talking about Musk on Slack

Workers who criticized Elon Musk in Twitter’s Slack channels had been fired in a single day by way of e mail, Platformer’s Casey Newton mentioned a tweet. They had been apparently instructed their “current conduct has violated firm coverage.” It is unclear how many individuals had been affected.

Twitter did not reply to a request for remark.

Nov. 14: Musk needs better Twitter video help

Talking by way of video hyperlink, Musk instructed enterprise leaders through the G20 summit in Bali that he needs to see Twitter help extra longer-form video to herald extra content material creators. He additionally famous that he is been working “on the absolute most quantity … from morning til night time, seven days per week” for the reason that acquisition.

Nov. 13: SpaceX reportedly buys main Twitter advert package deal

SpaceX, Musk’s aerospace firm, ordered a Twitter “takeover” promoting package deal for its satellite tv for pc web service Starlink, CNBC reported. This can seemingly promote the service on folks’s Twitter timelines in Spain and Australia and may value greater than $250,000. It comes after some advertisers paused campaigns because of the upheaval at Twitter. 

SpaceX did not reply to a request for remark.

Nov. 12: 1000’s of contract staff seemingly terminated

Twitter lower 1000’s of contract staff, in keeping with Platformer’s Casey Newton, Axios and CNBC, with Newton reporting that round 4,400 of Twitter’s roughly 5,500 contractors had been affected. Most did not get any discover and came upon as a result of they misplaced entry to the corporate’s e mail and inner communications techniques, Newton reported.

The corporate did not reply to a request for remark.

Nov. 11: Twitter Blue subscription possibility vanishes

The choice to enroll in the $8 a month subscription service Twitter Blue is now not obtainable on Twitter’s iOS app, as earlier reported by The Verge. The shift comes days after the service launched for Apple units and previous to its Android launch. Making an attempt to subscribe on desktop directs you to the iOS app.

CNET can affirm that this manifests in two distinct methods: the choice to subscribe has vanished from the sidebar, and tapping the hyperlink provides you an error message. 

A Twitter Blue error against a blue and black background on an iOS version of the app

Making an attempt to subscribe to Twitter Blue on the iOS app resulted on this message on Nov. 11.


Twitter/Screenshot by CNET

“Thanks to your curiosity!” it reads. “Twitter Blue will probably be obtainable in your nation sooner or later. Please examine again later.”

It is unclear why the corporate paused signups for the service, however numerous customers reportedly purchased verification to impersonate manufacturers and celebrities. An inner be aware posted on its Slack mentioned it stopped folks from subscribing “to assist tackle impersonation points,” in keeping with tech outlet Platformer’s Zoë Schiffer.

Twitter did not instantly reply to CNET’s request for remark.

Nov. 10: Musk bans distant work and warns of chapter, lawyer says he is risking billions in FTC fines

Musk despatched his first emails to staff on Nov. 9, warning that “the financial image forward is dire.” He banned distant work except he personally authorized it, in keeping with Bloomberg, whereas The New York Occasions reported that he instructed staff “absolutely the prime precedence is discovering and suspending any verified bots/trolls/spam.”

An lawyer on Twitter’s privateness group posted a message within the firm’s Slack warning that Musk’s concentrate on monetizing its customers is making him take harmful steps, The Verge reported. It is apparently at specific danger of incurring billions in fines from the Federal Commerce Fee within the wake of a Might settlement relating to the usage of private information to focus on adverts.

Twitter’s chief privateness officer, Damien Kieran; Chief Data Safety Officer Lea Kissner; and Chief Compliance Officer Marianne Fogarty all resigned, The Verge famous. Kissner’s departure confirmed her departure in a tweet.

Musk additionally reportedly instructed staff chapter was a chance, Bloomberg reported, citing an individual acquainted with the matter. Two extra Twitter executives — Yoel Roth, the corporate’s head of belief and security, and Robin Wheeler, who led advertising and gross sales at Twitter — additionally resigned, in keeping with the report. Wheeler then determined to remain on the firm after Musk persuaded her to take action, Bloomberg reported. Roth, Wheeler and Musk’s lawyer Alex Spiro did not reply to a request for remark. 

Nov. 9: Musk tries to reassure advertisers amid confusion about examine marks

Twitter’s rollout of a new verification system is messy. Twitter began including grey examine marks and an “official” label to high-profile Twitter accounts however then scrapped a number of the modifications hours later.

In an hour-long reside audio chat on Twitter later within the day, Musk mentioned the brand new labels are an “aesthetic nightmare when wanting on the Twitter feed” and “one other manner of making a two-class system.” 

Esther Crawford, who oversees early-stage merchandise at Twitter, tweeted that the corporate would nonetheless be rolling out the “official” label however to authorities and industrial entities first. Twitter additionally began permitting folks so as to add blue examine marks to their profiles in the event that they pay $8 a month for a Twitter Blue subscription. Scammers are already utilizing the brand new system to create faux accounts. Twitter mentioned it will droop accounts engaged in misleading techniques and impersonation.

Within the audio chat, Musk mentioned Twitter’s plans for a content material moderation council and selections by corporations to briefly pause their promoting campaigns on Twitter.

“I do not suppose having hate speech subsequent to an advert is nice. Clearly,” he mentioned. Musk additionally mentioned he thinks it can take Twitter a few months to create a content material moderation council. 

He signaled, although, that he is not planning to decelerate relating to altering Twitter. 

“The speed of evolution of Twitter will probably be an immense step change in comparison with what it has been previously,” he mentioned. “, if nothing else, I’m a technologist and I could make know-how go quick.”

Nov. 6: Paid examine marks could also be pushed again, Musk cracks down on impersonation

Paid verification reportedly delayed till after election

Twitter is suspending the rollout of verification badges linked to an $8 month-to-month subscription service till after the midterm elections, in keeping with The New York Occasions.

Impersonators get the boot

Musk warned that any Twitter account participating in impersonation with out clearly specifying that it is parody would get hit with a everlasting ban. In response, some customers modified their names to “Elon Musk,” which led to their suspension.

Nov. 5: Paying for examine marks, listening to from Dorsey

Pay-for-verification plan reveals up in iOS replace

Model notes for the newest iteration of Twitter’s app for the Apple iPhone confirmed up within the App Retailer, with a What’s New part that pointed to the verification function. The notes inform customers that “beginning right now” should you “join now” for an $8-a-month Twitter Blue subscription, “your account will get a blue checkmark, similar to the celebrities, corporations, and politicians you already comply with.” It seems, although, that this system hasn’t really kicked in but. Learn extra right here.

Dorsey weighs in

With information studies saying Twitter had laid off about half its workers, co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey took to the service to supply phrases of encouragement and to put blame on himself.

“I personal the duty for why everyone seems to be on this scenario: I grew the corporate dimension too shortly. I apologize for that,” Dorsey tweeted. He additionally referred to as Twitter staffers previous and current “resilient” and mentioned, “I’m grateful for, and love, everybody who has ever labored on Twitter. I do not anticipate that to be mutual on this second.”

In April, Dorsey expressed his help of Musk taking on the corporate, however he additionally mentioned that in precept, he thought nobody ought to personal or run Twitter and that it ought to as a substitute be “a public good.”

Nov. 4: Musk says Twitter has had ‘huge drop’ in income

Since Musk’s takeover, a number of main advertisers, akin to Tesla rival Common Motors, meals firm Common Mills and pharmaceutical company Pfizer, have briefly paused their advert campaigns on Twitter. Musk tweeted that Twitter has had a “huge drop” in income, which he blamed on activist teams pressuring advertisers. Musk did not say in his tweet how a lot Twitter’s income has fallen, nor did he determine the activists. Within the tweet, Musk additionally mentioned Twitter hasn’t modified its content material moderation insurance policies. 

Musk additionally made an look on the Baron Funding Convention, the place he famous that Twitter grappled with income challenges earlier than the acquisition and that he tried to get out of the deal.

His remarks got here after Twitter began shedding staff. Musk later tweeted that there was “no selection when the corporate is dropping over $4M/day.” With out specifying how many individuals had been laid off or what proportion of the workforce, Musk added they had been “provided 3 months of severance.” Reportedly, about half of Twitter’s 7,500-person work drive was laid off.

Civil rights teams that met with Musk spoke out in regards to the layoffs.

“For starters, there isn’t any solution to preserve election integrity in place in case you are reducing capability to do the monitoring in #TwitterLayoffs,” tweeted Rashad Robinson, president of racial justice group Coloration of Change. The group is a part of #StopToxicTwitter, a coalition of greater than 60 organizations which might be urging main advertisers to pause spending and put money into content material moderation. Companions listed on the coalition’s web site embrace the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP, Public Citizen, and the Union of Involved Scientists.

The Volkswagen Group and others reportedly paused advert spending due to issues that adverts might seem alongside problematic content material on the platform.

Nov. 3: Musk seems to be for tactics to chop prices, lawsuit filed

Musk needs to chop prices and make Twitter much less depending on promoting. 

Reuters, citing two sources acquainted with the matter and an inner Slack message, reported that Musk directed Twitter’s group to search out greater than $1 billion in infrastructure value financial savings.

The corporate is different methods to generate income exterior of promoting, together with “paywalled” movies and paid direct messages, The New York Occasions reported, citing two folks with data of the matter and inner paperwork.

Musk is already making modifications to Twitter’s work tradition. Bloomberg reported that Musk has eliminated “days of relaxation” from Twitter’s worker calendars and plans to cancel the corporate’s distant work coverage. Twitter did not instantly reply to a request for remark.

Twitter reportedly instructed staff in an e mail that layoffs would occur. A lawsuit looking for class motion standing, accused Twitter of violating the federal Employee Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires giant corporations to provide least 60 days of advance discover earlier than mass layoffs, as beforehand reported by Bloomberg.

Nov. 2: Musk reportedly plans to chop half of Twitter’s workforce

Musk plans to chop about 3,700 jobs at Twitter, or half of the social media firm’s workforce, Bloomberg reported. Affected staffers are to learn of their destiny by Nov. 4, sources instructed the information outlet.

Musk additionally plans to reverse the corporate’s current work-from-anywhere coverage, requiring remaining staff to report back to an workplace, the unidentified sources mentioned.

In a single state of affairs for lowering Twitter’s workforce being thought-about, laid off staff will probably be provided 60 days’ price of severance pay. Twitter customers have been bracing for layoffs since Musk introduced his bid for Twitter in April. One report indicated that Musk deliberate to chop 75% of jobs at Twitter.

Nov. 1: Musk suggests charging for verification

In a collection of tweets, Musk floated the concept that Twitter cost $8 monthly for a verified blue examine mark as a part of its subscription plan. The corporate’s subscription service, often known as Twitter Blue, at the moment prices $5 monthly however would not embrace verification as a perk.

Twitter at the moment would not cost to confirm accounts with a blue examine mark, and the badge is meant to be given out to accounts that the corporate determines are “notable, genuine and energetic.” The blue examine mark is supposed to assist customers decide if an account of a celeb, journalist or different public determine is faux or not.

Musk tweeted that the value could be adjusted by nation and that the subscription would come with “precedence in replies, mentions & search, which is important to defeat spam/rip-off,” in addition to the “capacity to put up lengthy video & audio.” He additionally mentioned customers would see “half as many adverts.” 

Earlier within the day, The Wall Avenue Journal reported that Twitter Blue subscribers will lose entry to ad-free articles from publishers like Vox, the Los Angeles Occasions and Insider. There have been varied studies of various costs for a Twitter Blue subscription, with the corporate additionally reportedly having thought-about rising the subscription value to $20 a month.

It is unclear from Musk’s tweets if verified customers must pay for a subscription or lose their blue examine mark. Musk tweeted there could be “a secondary tag” for public figures, just like the one now used for politicians.

The corporate’s chief buyer officer, Sarah Personette, additionally revealed in a tweet that she resigned.

In the meantime, Twitter mentioned it has eliminated 1,500 accounts since Oct. 29 for posting hateful content material.

Oct. 31: Official CEO, board dissolved, layoff plans, no Trump resolution but, content material moderation restricted

Days after naming himself “Chief Twit” on his Twitter profile, Musk confirmed he is the corporate’s CEO by a securities submitting. Different modifications to Twitter’s management are additionally underway. A associated securities submitting reveals Twitter’s board of administrators was dissolved the day Musk took over and recognized Musk because the “sole director” of the corporate. 

He additionally reportedly plans to put off 25% of Twitter’s workforce, The Washington Put up reported, citing nameless sources. 

Musk, who has beforehand mentioned he would reverse former US President Donald Trump’s everlasting ban from Twitter, continues to be getting questions on whether or not he’ll comply with by on that. Twitter booted Trump from its platform in 2021 following the lethal US Capitol Hill riot due to issues that his remarks might incite extra violence. 

“If I had a greenback for each time somebody requested me if Trump is coming again on this platform, Twitter could be minting cash!” Musk tweeted

Twitter additionally restricted some Belief and Security worker entry to inner instruments, Bloomberg reported, curbing their capacity to reasonable content material and tackle misinformation forward of subsequent week’s US elections. They’ll apparently nonetheless edit or take away posts that would lead to real-world hurt.

“That is precisely what we (or any firm) must be doing within the midst of a company transition to scale back alternatives for insider danger. We’re nonetheless imposing our guidelines at scale,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security and integrity, tweeted in response to Bloomberg’s story.

Oct. 30: Musk toys with checkmark modifications and Vine revival, tweets misinformation

Musk has been busy suggesting modifications to Twitter. He tweeted a ballot about whether or not Twitter ought to carry again Vine, a short-form video app that Twitter shut down in 2017. 

Twitter additionally reportedly plans to cost $20 monthly for its Twitter Blue subscription service, and verified customers would lose their blue checkmark if they do not accomplish that in 90 days, The Verge reported, citing nameless sources. Platformer’s Casey Newton reported that Twitter is considering charging $5 a month to verified customers in the event that they need to preserve their blue checkmarks.

Musk additionally tweeted after which deleted a hyperlink to an article with a baseless conspiracy idea about final week’s assault on Paul Pelosi, the husband of US Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco. The article got here from a web site referred to as the Santa Monica Observer. Truth-checking web site Media Bias/Truth Examine famous the outlet publishes right-wing misinformation. 

Oct. 29: Twitter battles a surge in racist slurs

Twitter is attempting to fight nameless accounts that began to tweet racist slurs hours after Musk took over Twitter. 

Twitter head of security and integrity Yoel Roth tweeted that the corporate has “seen a small variety of accounts put up a ton of tweets that embrace slurs and different derogatory phrases.” He added that “greater than 50,000 tweets repeatedly utilizing a selected slur got here from simply 300 accounts.”

“Backside line up entrance: Twitter’s insurance policies have not modified. Hateful conduct has no place right here. And we’re taking steps to place a cease to an organized effort to make folks suppose we’ve got,” he tweeted.

Oct. 28: Twitter to kind content material moderation council

Advocacy teams have raised issues that Musk’s management over Twitter would permit extra hate speech and misinformation to floor on the platform. Musk has vowed publicly he would not need Twitter to turn out to be a “free-for-all hellscape” however has additionally mentioned that he is “in opposition to censorship that goes far past the legislation.”

Musk mentioned the corporate would kind a content material moderation council with “extensively numerous viewpoints.” The corporate will not make any main content material selections or account reinstatements earlier than the council convenes, he tweeted.

A securities submitting on Oct. 28 additionally famous that Twitter’s inventory is being delisted on the New York Inventory Trade. Twitter, a publicly traded firm, turned a personal one. 

Oct. 27: Musk takes over Twitter, fires executives

Musk turned Twitter’s new proprietor and reportedly fired key executives on the firm, together with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of authorized coverage, belief and security.

Earlier within the day, Musk tweeted a letter to advertisers. The billionaire, who as soon as tweeted that he hated promoting, now posted that “promoting, when completed proper, can delight, entertain and inform you.” 

Musk met with staff all through the week, carried a sink into Twitter’s headquarters as a photograph op and altered his profile to “Chief Twit” earlier than information broke that the deal had been accomplished.

CNET workers contributed to this report.

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