The board thanked, the teams mobilized, surveys and promises of all kinds: Elon Musk, the new leader of Twitter, wasted no time to establish himself on the influential social network.
• Also read: Elon Musk himself runs Twitter
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The head of Tesla and SpaceX bought the Californian company on Thursday and immediately dissolved the board, making him the “sole director of Twitter”, according to an official document submitted to the market regulator (SEC) on Monday.
He also ousted several senior officials, including former CEO Parag Agrawal, and launched several major projects, according to several US media and employees.
This weekend, Twitter engineers began working on an overhaul of the subscription and account verification system.
The idea would be to add a verification service — a blue checkmark that certifies users’ identity — to the handy paid features launched last year and raise the price to $20 a month instead of $5.
Users who have already obtained this certification will lose it after three months if they refuse to sign up for a new subscription, according to The Verge.
The engineers involved are expected to work tirelessly to reverse the possibility by November 7 and have been told their jobs are at risk.
The new boss also asked the teams to relaunch Vine by the end of the year.
Twitter bought the ultra-short video app in 2012, long before TikTok had definitively popularized the format, but shelved it four years later.
Elon Musk, who changed his name on his profile to “Chief Twit” (“twit” means “moron” in English), invited Tesla developers on Friday to evaluate the work of Twitter employees.
According to the Washington Post, the multibillionaire plans to lay off roughly 75% of the 7,500 employees at his new company.
“The ongoing dismissal process is a farce and a disgrace. Tesla followers make decisions about people they know nothing about except the number of lines of code they’ve produced. This is complete nonsense,” Taylor Leese, the director of engineering who claims he was fired, tweeted on Sunday.
But the world’s richest man will need staff to unlock the “incredible potential” he sees in the so-far unprofitable platform.
Most of Twitter’s revenue currently comes from brands trying to support their ads with consensual content.
Elon Musk on Thursday described his vision for an “online public square” where all opinions can be expressed without it becoming “hell”.
And he traveled to New York on Monday, where his team met with several advertisers to try to reassure them, according to The Information.
General Motors announced on Friday that it is temporarily removing its ads from Twitter.
Elon Musk has promised to create a “content moderation council” to set limits that many right-wing politicians currently see as too restrictive.
At the moment, the whimsical leader with 112 million subscribers seems to be providing after-sales service alone.
He responded to various user complaints accusing Twitter of censorship, stressing to one that the network should be “balanced and not favoring any side” and to another that profiles “suspended for minor or questionable reasons (would) be released from Twitter prison”.
On Sunday, he himself deleted one of his tweets, which contained a reference to a conspiracy theory about the attack on the husband of Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democrats in Congress.
“The Elon troll should alert Twitter boss Elon to take down (this tweet),” former UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression David Kaye commented wryly on the billionaire’s various hats.
Once the liberal billionaire announced the takeover, the platform faced a resurgence of activity from malicious accounts tweeting in spades the “N-word,” a racial slur unspeakable in the United States.
“It’s a small number of accounts” that are mostly “inauthentic,” responded Yoel Roth, the person responsible for security at the site, who said he had taken action against the authors.
“Musk will have to climb a mountain the size of Kilimanjaro to fix Twitter,” analyst Dan Ives commented on issues with content monetization, user engagement and competition from other apps.