Say what you will about Elon Musk‘s tenure as the head of Twitter — and there is a lot to say — but it has been, at the very least, eventful. So eventful, in fact, that’s it’s been tough to keep track of all that’s happened.
Here’s a walkthrough of the entire saga thus far, with coverage from Mashable should you want to dig deeper.
Before things were even official, Musk carried a literal sink into Twitter HQ, posting, “let that sink in.” Get it? It’s a big time cornball joke.
Sure, some people actually got off Twitter in protest of Musk’s takeover, but not in any real number.
Musk seems to quickly realize that, as the head of Twitter, he was going to need advertisers. It’s where the lion’s share of the company’s revenue comes from. In a note on Twitter, he even promised some form of content moderation in an attempt to calm advertisers.
“Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk wrote in his tweet. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”
In reaction to Musk getting control of Twitter, people floated the idea of doing to the platform what users did to Tumblr when Yahoo! acquired the microblogging site in 2013. In other words, make it wildly unprofitable after a major corporate takeover.
If you’d rather leave, well then we have you covered on that too.
Musk took the time to personally respond to an anonymous, popular right-wing troll with the username @catturd2. Cat Turd thought they were getting shadow-banned, despite being wildly popular on Twitter. Musk assured Cat Turd that he was looking into Cat Turd’s complaints.
A couple of pranksters pretended to have just been fired outside of Twitter HQ shortly after Musk’s takeover. One person said their name was Rahul Ligma…and ligma is a common internet joke involving testicles. So, yeah, not a great moment for the media who got fooled.
Musk, who has that exact kind of sense of humor, of course loved the joke.
Twitter probably seemed like a fine idea until Musk had to actually, you know, own Twitter. We’re barely into the Musk era, and he’s already had to dodge regulators and questions of content moderation.
There was an almost immediate rise in hateful language when Musk took over Twitter. People began to test Musk, who has repeatedly complained about the app’s lack of freedom of speech. Mashable put together some tips for dealing with safety concerns, should that arise for users.
Musk fired top execs immediately, and reports have since surfaced that he’s looking to make other cuts. Before the takeover, Musk told investors he could cut up to three-quarters of Twitter staff. He reportedly asked managers for a list of employees to be fired.
The Chief Twit posted a poll asking folks if they should bring back Vine, the short-form video app that was a sort of predecessor to TikTok. For what it’s worth, yes has wildly outpaced no thus far.
While Musk floated the idea of bringing Vine back in the age of TikTok, Mashable’s Christianna Silva wrote about how that’s a bad idea. Silva walks through the difficulties of bringing Vine back, perhaps chief among them: The creators on the app have long since aged and moved on.
Vine died six years ago and you can’t resurrect communities just by bringing back a dated platform.
Musk has floated the idea of paywalling verification using Twitter Blue. But he would also increase the cost of Blue to $20 per month, meaning verification would cost $240 per year. The internet scoffed at the idea and promised to not pay up.
The short answer: No, it was a parody. The somewhat longer answer: Someone posted a (clearly) fake video of Musk “firing” Vijaya Gadde, who headed up safety at Twitter. Musk did fire Gadde, but not live on air. The clip in question poorly cut together clips from the Joe Rogan Experience, the popular podcast both Gadde and Musk had appeared on in the past.
As is typically the case, some folks did believe the faux clip, but rest assured, Musk did not fire anyone on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Acclaimed author Stephen King took vulgar exception with the idea that Twitter would charge $20 for verification. Musk responded by lowering the price in the replies, which is perfect unintentional comedy. Garage sale vibes for the blue check, baby.
King, for his part, did not respond to Musk.
The Chief Twit posted that he’d actually cut the price down from $20 to $8 for Twitter Blue, with verification still tied to a subscription.
“Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit,” he wrote. “Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”
Power to the people, but only if they can afford it.
In follow up tweets, Musk said Twitter Blue users would get other benefits like priority in replies and the ability to post longer audio and video.
Conservatives are already cancelling Elon
Elon Musk was hailed as a conquering Twitter hero by conservatives and that lasted all of one week. Musk tweeted that he met with leaders from Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the NAACP and that Twitter’s planned content moderation board would include “the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence.”
Conservatives immediately jumped into his mentions. Mashable’s Matt Binder detailed how this was a predictable turn of events — and pointed out the tight-rope Musk is set to walk between so-called free speech and profitability.
Twitter might rush-ship a paywalled video feature
An internal email viewed by the Washington Post says that the new Twitter team are working on a feature that would allow users to charge people to watch videos they upload. The price points would be chosen by the user from a set selection, reportedly ranging from $1 up to $10, and the payments would be processed via Stripe. The Post spoke to an unnamed Twitter employee who acknowledged that porn would like be one of the most significant use cases for the feature.
Paywalled video is also reported to be gunning for a launch in a matter of weeks weeks providing it passes a “brief internal review” — which, if this is an initiative of the Musk era, is a frankly wild demand.
There are a lot of other wild money-making ideas floating around
Musk needs to wring enough cash out of Twitter’s advertisers and users to make it look like buying the company wasn’t just some kind of Trumpian tantrum, and he is throwing stuff at the wall, well, like the wall owes him money.
The layoffs have already begun
On Thursday Nov. 3, an email went out to Twitter employees announcing that by the following morning, they would receive an email either in their personal inbox if they were being let go or in their company inbox if they were being retained. But the same evening, U.S. time, employees were also starting to be locked out of their company accounts.
Layoffs are expected to number in the thousands.
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