European regulatory trouble could be on the way

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The Financial Times reports that Twitter has closed its Brussels office, with everyone who ran Twitter's European digital policy no longer being employed by the platform.

"The Brussels exits are symptomatic of a global trend from India to France where local Twitter executives who had key positions to deal with government officials abruptly left the organisation in recent weeks in the widespread cuts.

"This has led to growing concern over whether the company has the personnel to ensure compliance with local laws designed to police online content, potentially opening the company up to lawsuits and regulatory action."

A few days earlier, the EU Commissioner for Justice met with Twitter executives in Dublin to discuss his concerns about the platform's ability to comply with the new European Digital Services Act, which focuses on the removal of illegal content.

He told the Irish Times, “we want to be sure that... it’s still possible... to be fully compliant with the regulations. If it’s not, of course, you know, that we have some possible means to act. Now there are in the DSA very huge possible fines.”

Elon Musk claims record sign ups while bots dominate trending topics

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On Saturday, Elon Musk shared images of slides from a recent company talk, including graphs that claim that signups and active minutes are at an all-time high.

These numbers are hard to verify, but anecdotally there seems to be a steep rise in bot-based trending topics since the Twitter Curation team was fired. For example, "要要搞定個要" – a Chinese phrase that means "Get it done" – was listed today as "Trending in the United States" with 167K tweets, the vast majority of which seem to be posted by spam bots.

Also included in his slide deck were screenshots of his vision for Twitter 2.0, which included both images dated with the year 2019. and Lorum Ipsum text.

Among the titles in his deck were "Advertising as Entertainment" and "Longform Tweets." Next to the slide title "Payments" is simply a blank space.

Twitter executive secures injunction to stop Twitter firing her

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The Irish Times reports that Sinead McSweeney, a senior Twitter executive based in Dublin, has secured a temporary injunction preventing Twitter from firing her.

She did not click "Yes" on the form to sign up for "extremely hardcore" Twitter 2.0 because, the newspaper says, "the exit package did not meet her contractual entitlements, and for those who wished to remain with Twitter, the terms and conditions in relation to what Mr Musk expected of them was not set out in the document."

She was then locked out of her email and told that the company had accepted her resignation.

McSweeney told the court that she has been working 75-hour weeks since the recent layoffs.

Elon Musk fires dozens of engineers on Thanksgiving Eve

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On the evening before Thanksgiving, Twitter CEO Elon Musk cut contractor holiday pay and then fired around 50 engineers and put dozens of others on final notice, according to Zoé Schiffer of Platformer.

The emails sent to the engineers were apparently unsigned and stated that "as a result of the recent code review exercise, it has been determined that your code is not satisfactory, and we regret to inform you that your employment with Twitter is terminated effective immediately."

Schiffer later reported that among those fired was "Ying Xiao, a senior staff ML research scientist. One colleague described him as 'the best ML modeler' around."

Casey Newton, also of Platformer, tweeted that another of those fired was "Ikuhiro Ihara, a highly respected senior software engineer who helped lead the push to expand tweets to 280 characters."

Now-former Twitter infrastructure engineer Yiwei Zhuang posted on LinkedIn that those laid off included people currently on parental leave, and that he now has 60 days to start another job because of his visa – a task further complicated by the holiday period.

Alex Heath of The Verge tweeted that the fired engineers were offered four weeks of pay, two months less than those who did not click the "Yes" option to join "extremely hardcore" Twitter 2.0 last week.

Three days ago, Musk is reported to have told Twitter staff that he was done with layoffs.

Elon Musk suggests removing Twitter bans from all hateful accounts

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Following his Donald Trump poll last week, the result of which he accepted as the "voice of the people" while also admitting that it was skewed by bot voting, Elon Musk today ran a new poll asking if Twitter should provide "a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam."

With 14 hours to go, the vote is currently 72% in favor of his amnesty.

According to the Twitter Help Center, reasons that accounts may be suspended, despite their content being legal, include
  • behavior that harasses or intimidates or is intended to shame or degrade others
  • calling for serious harm on a person or group of people
  • unwanted sexual advances
  • encouraging others to harass or target specific individuals or groups with abusive behavior
  • denying mass casualty events took place
  • inciting fear or spread fearful stereotypes about a protected category
  • repeated and/or non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes
  • hateful imagery
As a result of Musk's moves to restore accounts suspended for hateful behavior, some users have taken to calling Twitter '$8chan'.

Elon Musk mocks shirts created by Black Twitter employees

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Twitter CEO Elon Musk last night found a closet containing shirts with the slogan "#staywoke", and reacted to them with his often-used ROFL emoji.

Venture capitalist David Sacks, who Musk brought in to help manage Twitter and who previously wrote a book called The Diversity Myth that belittled date rape victims and criticized moves to encourage diversity on college campuses, tweeted that "The conquest of Wokerosi is complete. Melt them down and turn them into an Iron Throne."

New York Times journalist Ryan Mac responded to explain that the t-shirts (which were also put on sale) were created in 2016 by the internal Black Twitter group Blackbirds as "a call for awareness to the disproprtionate police violence against Black people, and support for Black employees and Black Twitter."

According to Reuters, Musk's company Tesla is currently facing several lawsuits related to racial discrimination in the workplace.

Despite evidence, Elon Musk blames activists for his woes

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On October 28th, Elon Musk announced that no major moderation decisions or account reinstatements would occur before a Content Moderation Council was convened.

Five days later, on November 2nd, Musk met with representatives from groups including the NAACP, Color of Change, Free Press, and the Anti-Defamation League to discuss how he planned to combat hate on the platform.

Yesterday evening, Musk said that he had reinstated Donald Trump and others without keeping his word about the Content Moderation Council, because he only agreed to the Council at the suggestion of the groups in the meeting, and they had broken the deal, which had directly led to Twitter being starved of advertising revenue.

CNBC today reports that at least four of the groups represented at the meeting deny that any such deal had been made. According to Rashad Robinson of Color of Change, who was at the meeting, the Council was "something he introduced before we even met him," a fact that Musk's own tweets seem to confirm. "We simply asked for more info & that it include folks from impacted communities."

Others in attendance said that they had expressed concerns about the Council, with the NAACP's President Derrick Johnson telling Politico that he was skeptical of the idea.

Business Insider reports that half of Twitter's top 100 advertisers no longer run ads on the platform. In the midst of mass resignation, legislative threats, internal chaos, major bugs, increased harassment, and brand impersonation, there is no evidence that the work of activist groups is a major reason why media buyers are currently staying away from the platform.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk continues to direct account reinstatements and make major moderation decisions on the platform.

Twitter backtracks on treatment of fired Twitter Africa staff following news reports

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According to CNN reporter Larry Madowo, fired Twitter employees in Ghana were offered no severance and refused the right to negotiate terms until their plight was covered by the news network.

Twitter's Trust and Safety capacities have been massively reduced, leading to internal protests and major vulnerabilities

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According to a Washington Post article, on November 10th the entire Trust and Safety team at Twitter conducted a "sickout" – a form of protest in which every member of the team calls in sick at the same time, apparently over Elon Musk's capricious and misguided approach to platform safety.

The piece also states that Musk was given a seven-page memo outlining the likely abuses that would occur if he went ahead with his plans for Twitter Blue. He launched the service anyway, many of these abuses came to pass, and then Musk abruptly halted the rollout 48 hours later.

The article continues, "[v]irtually, the entire team dedicated to rooting out covert foreign influence operations was fired or quit, putting in jeopardy the company’s abilities to detect accounts including those attempting to influence U.S. politics."

Internal documents apparently show that Musk plans to rely mostly on automated moderation, which goes against prevailing industry best practices for platform safety.

A bad time to be a Twitter vendor

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The New York Times reports that Elon Musk is refusing to pay several of Twitter's bills, including overdue rent and executive travel costs incurred before he took over the company.

"Mr. Musk’s staff said the services were authorized by the company’s former management and not by him. His staff have since avoided the calls of the travel vendors, the people said."

The article also states that Twitter has stopped paying some of its office rents and is attempting to renegotiate existing contracts with major companies including Amazon, Oracle, and the NFL, threatening that no Elon Musk company will ever deal with them again if they don't agree to drop their prices.

Twitter's finances are apparently being managed by a group of outsiders that Musk invited into Twitter, including the head of his tunneling project The Boring Company, the head of his family office, and a former director of Tesla.

Key Twitter advertisers have paused their spending

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The Washington Post reports that "more than a third of Twitter’s top 100 marketers have not advertised on the social media network in the past two weeks," including 14 of the top 50 advertisers on the platform.

Failed crypto exchange FTX might own $100m of Twitter stock

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According to Semafor, Elon Musk personally invited accused crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried to roll his $100 million stake in pre-Elon Twitter into the Elon Musk-owned entity. Bankman-Fried agreed, and the stock was included on an FTX balance sheet on October 28th.

The article also quotes Elon Musk as saying recently that his “bullshit meter was redlining” when he met Bankman-Fried, which clearly didn't prevent the two of them going into business together.

Perhaps Bankman-Fried can help advise Elon Musk on his stated goal that Twitter "will make it easy to do crypto", which sounds reminiscent of Facebook's disastrous attempt at cryptocurrency and could bring about a highly anticipated TIGG/W3IGG crossover episode.

Update: On November 23rd, Elon Musk denied that this was true.

Employee perks have been slashed

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The Verge reports that "Company allowances for employee wellness, productivity, home internet, training and development, [kids' remote learning platform] Outschool, daycare, and quarterly team activities have all been discontinued."

Just in time for the hiring push that was announced yesterday.

Elon Musk delays Twitter Blue's re-re-launch again

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Six days after announcing that his third attempt at Twitter Blue would be "punted" to November 29th, Elon Musk tweets that he is "[h]olding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation."

He does not explain how he will achieve this.

Elon Musk doesn't understand how Twitter's ads work

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According to Platformer, "During one Sunday meeting, Musk explained the concept of native advertising to the team, according to one person who was there, despite the fact that the employees were already well aware of the format.

"He said that the company’s ads should 'look like tweets,' one employee said, despite the fact that the company’s ads already are tweets."

FTC subtweets Elon Musk

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In a tweet clearly aimed at current and former Twitter employees, the Federal Trade Commission tweeted that "Anyone can submit information about potential violations of FTC orders or other business misconduct... We welcome reports from customers, former employees, and informants."

More suspended accounts have been restored as anti-vaxxers are verified

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Several controversial accounts were restored today including those of anti-trans activists and Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene's personal Twitter account, which was suspended for violating rules against COVID misinformation, such as tweeting a graph that falsely claimed that the COVID vaccine had caused widespread deaths. Rolling Stone has a detailed account of her most dangerous and disgusting tweets.

Elon Musk also said that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones's account will never be restored because of personal reasons.

Casey Newton and Zoë Schiffer wrote on Platformer that "this sort of ad hoc approach to content moderation and community standards is completely unsustainable. It does not scale beyond a handful of the most prominent accounts on the service. And, most worryingly, it is not based on any clear principles: Musk is leading trust and safety at Twitter the same way he is leading product and hiring — by whim."

Meanwhile, Melody Schreiber reports in The Guardian that several anti-vaccine information sites now appear to be verified, thanks to Twitter Blue.

Head of Apple's App Store quits Twitter

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Phil Schiller, the person responsible for Apple's app store, has quit Twitter.

Three days ago, Yoel Roth, Twitter's former head of Trust and Safety, wrote in the New York Times that Twitter's expulsion from Google and Apple's App Stores "would be catastrophic."

Twitter is apparently both hiring and firing today

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According to The Verge, three weeks after Elon Musk laid off nearly two thirds of Twitter's staff, he said in an internal Q&A that Twitter is hiring again for roles in engineering and sales.

This was on the same day that Bloomberg reported that he had laid off more people from the sales team.

Any engineers who would like to join the company can look forward to emailing weekly code samples to Elon Musk.

A list of reasons why brands are fleeing Twitter

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A user on anonymous communication platform Blind, which verifies people's professional affiliations, gave some insight into what's happening at Twitter from the perspective of someone who claims to control a large marketing budget.

The person describes themselves as "a director at a medium sized b2b tech company" that usually spends $8-10m a year on Twitter ads.

“I think the things we saw in these last 2 weeks means many more advertisers will bail on the platform in the coming weeks (for non-ideological or virtue signaling reasons)”, the user wrote, before explaining their reasons as a combination of performance issues, brand safety issues, the sudden disappearance of their account team at Twitter, and major bugs with the Twitter ad campaigns system.

Twitter links seem to be breaking for some users

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Liz Hoffman, a journalist at Semafor, tweeted that “Twitter links are sending users to [a] bankruptcy court website.”

She also shared a tweet containing a video that seemed to confirm this weird bug. A small number of users also complained about links on Twitter sending them to the wrong sites.

European Twitter impacted by large-scale layoffs, resignations

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The head of Twitter France announced that "It's over!" on Sunday, along with the requisite salute emoji.

Meanwhile, in Germany, where 30 people were fired, several former Twitter employees have announced that they are working with the German union ver.di to sue Twitter for unfair dismissal.

One of the German former Twitter staff members said, in reference to the company's international teams based outside of the United States, "There's hardly anyone left."

Twitter's copyright detection system seems to be down

As a way of demonstrating how broken the company's moderation flows have become, Twitter users have been tweeting out entire movies in a thread, broken up into segments that are two minutes and ten seconds long (the maximum length of a video on Twitter.)

Copies of Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift and Hackers are among those being illegally distributed on the platform.

This is happening just as the soccer World Cup begins. During previous World Cups, organizers FIFA have been extremely aggressive over alleged copyright infringement on social media.

Elon Musk restores Donald Trump's Twitter account

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Elon Musk ran a Twitter poll asking if Donald Trump's Twitter account should be restored. (Trump's account was permanently suspended after Twitter judged that he used it to encourage violent insurrection against democratic rule on January 6th 2021.)

While the poll was happening, Musk tweeted that it was under heavy attack from bots, which provided "interesting lessons to clean up future polls."

When the poll ended, with 51.8% of votes in favor of Trump's return, Musk declared that "The people have spoken. Vox populi, Vox dei", a Latin phrase which translates as "the voice of the people is the voice of God.", and restored Trump's account.

(The complete Vox populi quote goes on to say "And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.")

Trump's reinstatement contradicted Musk's October 28 statement that "No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before [the content moderation] council convenes." The council has not yet been convened, or named.

Donald Trump says he doesn't see any reason to return to Twitter, as he is focused on his little-used platform Truth Social. According to the Washington Post, the accused sexual assault perpetrator lied in public 30,573 times during the four years of his presidency.

One week after persuading her to stay, Elon Musk fires the global head of ad sales

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On November 9th, Elon Musk held a Twitter Space audio meeting with advertisers, designed to reassure them that the company was a stable and safe place for brands to advertise.

The following day, the two other people on the call – Yoel Roth, head of Trust and Safety, and Robin Wheeler, head of Global Ad Sales – resigned.

According to Bloomberg, Musk persuaded Wheeler to reverse her decision.

Casey Newton of Platformer reported on Friday that, seven days after he persuaded her to stay, Musk fired Robin Wheeler, a fact that she seemed to confirm with the now-familiar salute emoji.

On Saturday, Bloomberg reported that Musk is considering firing several more employees in the ad sales and partnerships teams on Monday.

CBS News apparently halts posting on Twitter

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The CBS National News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti said on air that "In light of the uncertainty around Twitter and out of an abundance of caution, CBS News is pausing its activity on the social media site as it continues to monitor the platform.”

Bay Area affiliate KPIX later tweeted a near-identical statement.

Update: On November 20th, they announced a restoration of their Twitter activity.

Elon Musk announces "Freedom Fridays", starts by restoring two accounts banned for anti-trans statements

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Elon Musk announced the restoration of Jordan Peterson's account (banned for deadnaming trans actor Elliot Page and calling their surgeon a criminal), Babylon Bee (banned for a 'satirical' article where they named US Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, a trans woman, their Man of the Year), and Kathie (sic) Griffin's account (banned for jokingly impersonating Elon Musk.)

He added that the "Trump decision" had not yet been made.

He previewed these decisions by announcing "Freedom Fridays" in a previous tweet.

Elon Musk orders remaining developers to the office immediately

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Fortune magazine reports that "Elon Musk sent an email this morning around 9 AM asking “anyone who actually writes software” to meet him at Twitter at 2PM today." Only those with family emergencies or who cannot be physically present were excused. He ordered anyone who could, to fly to San Francisco, before reversing that and saying that flying in "would be appreciated, but is not essential.”

Musk also ordered all remaining developers to "email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the last ~6 months, along with up to 10 screenshots of the most salient lines of code.” He apparently has said that he will personally conduct technical reviews with all engineers.

As Fortune points out, "it is unclear exactly how many employees remain at Twitter."

Just setting up their quitters

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The 5pm deadline passed. And then it all began.

Some employees hung up on Elon Musk while he was trying to persuade people to stay (New York Times)

The entirety of the payroll department and the US tax department resigned today (Kali Hays, a journalist at Insider)

Cardi B’s account posted hardcore pornography (she says she was hacked) (Cardi B)

"Musk spent Thursday in meetings across different divisions of Twitter, making personal appeals to the many employees attempting to resign." (Mike Isaac, a journalist at the New York Times)

Elon Musk tweeted that "The best people are staying so I'm not super worried." (Elon Musk)

Roughly 75% of the remaining 3700ish employees opted not to stay at Twitter (Kylie Robison, a journalist at Fortune)

Lettuce.wtf has a webcam with, yes, a lettuce, asking if Twitter will outlast it (Lettuce.wtf)

Zoë Schiffer reports that "Twitter just alerted employees that effective immediately, all office buildings are temporarily closed and badge access is suspended." The reason, she says, is because "Elon Musk and his team are terrified employees are going to sabotage the company." That paranoia matches what we heard earlier. She later added that the reason could also be because they don't even know who has quit: "So far no Twitter employees have been deactivated — even those who’ve publicly resigned. Musk and his team only collected the list of “yes’s” — employees who said they want to be part of Twitter 2.0. They’re still trying to track who is out." (Zoë Schiffer, a journalist at Platformer)

"Remaining and departing Twitter employees told The Verge that, given the scale of the resignations this week, they expect the platform to start breaking soon... Multiple “critical” teams inside Twitter have now either completely or near-completely resigned, said other employees who requested anonymity to speak without Musk’s permission. That includes Twitter’s traffic and front end teams that route engineering requests to the correct backend services. The team that maintains Twitter’s core system libraries that every engineer at the company uses is also gone. “You cannot run Twitter without this team,” a departing employee said." (The Verge)

Elon Musk inevitably decided to post through it, posting a meme about someone giving gang signs in front of a tombstone with Twitter's logo on both the person and the tombstone, and a pirate flag. A Community Note explained that "The pirate flag appears to be some kind of feeble attempt at edginess; however upon further investigation, it seems to represent a pirate ship that has been abandoned by its crew after the captain demanded they become "hardcore" or leave with 3 months worth of treasure" (Elon Musk/Community Notes)

Meanwhile, the soccer World Cup, a major global event that causes surges in Twitter usage, starts on Sunday.

Let that sink in.

Fewer engineers than expected want to work for "extremely hardcore Twitter 2.0"

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Gergely Orosz, a highly regared author and senior engineer with a track record of accurate scoops about Twitter, says that "far fewer than expected devs hit 'yes'" on the ultimatum for all remaining employees at Twitter.

As a result, the ban on remote working is being relaxed and Elon Musk is meeting with individual engineers to persuade them to stay.

Orosz states that "Unless something changes, Twitter's engineering workforce could be down by 90%, in just 3 weeks." He expects that Elon Musk will have to "throw money at this" in the form of retention bonuses and short-term contracts.

Seven senators send letter to the FTC Chair asking for an investigation

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A group of seven Democratic Senators – including Edward Markey, the senator recently mocked by Elon Musk – wrote a letter to Lina Khan, Chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, stating that they are "concerned that the actions taken by Mr Musk and others in Twitter management could already represent a violation of the FTC’s consent decree" and call on the Commission to "bring enforcement actions against any breaches or business practices that are unfair or deceptive, including bringing civil penalties and imposing liability on individual Twitter executives where appropriate."

Innocuous video accounts get locked for sharing "intimate video"

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At least two accounts reported being locked by Twitter today for posting non-consensual intimate content, the racy videos in question being the sun setting over the DC skyline and a video of a NASA aircraft landing.

Apparently, Twitter 2FA has a major security flaw

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According to reporting by security site infoRisk Today, Twitter's two-factor authentication (2FA) can be disabled by spoofing the phone number an account uses and sending the word “STOP” via SMS. This makes the account extremely vulnerable to hackers. Perfect timing.

As soon as he's done breaking it, Elon will hand Twitter to someone else

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As part of a trial where he is defending a claim that $56 billion was too much to pay himself as CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk says that he will "reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time.”

Extremely hardcore applicants have already started tweeting at him, though none are more thirsty than former T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

A large percentage of Twitter Blue subscribers are porn, crypto, and/or from the Middle East; Twitter Blue currently loses at least $36 per user

The Washington Post has had a look at internal Twitter documents, and the results of Elon's feature rollouts have been pretty disastrous.

"Twitter would need to charge $44 a month to recoup the advertising value generated by the top segment of U.S. power users if it relied only on subscriptions. The more active the user, the higher the subscription price would need to be," wrote Faiz Siddiqui and Jeremy B. Merrill.

They also report that "a large portion of the most-followed accounts that got “verified” via Twitter Blue" – a total of 150,000 users – "are from a few specific subcommunities on Twitter: pornography, cryptocurrency advocates, and overseas accounts, particularly from the Middle East."

Elon demands its workers commit to "extremely hardcore" company culture

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In an email apparently sent out in the middle of the night, Elon Musk says that "we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade."

Anyone who does not click "Yes" in a Google Form "by 5pm ET tomorrow (Thursday) will receive three months of severance."

Elon is reportedly paranoid about sabotage

Platformer reports that "Musk has become obsessed with the idea that his employees might sabotage the site, leading to near-total freeze on writing and shipping code and firings of anyone suspected of being disloyal."

Elon announces delay on his third attempt at verified accounts

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Elon says that the launch of Blue Verified is being "punted" until November 29th "to make sure that it is rock solid".

Elon directs employees to find non-believers

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According to the New York Times, self-proclaimed free speech king Elon Musk "has been directing subordinates to comb through Twitter's Slack and make lists of people making fun of him or his plans for firing. They've also been monitoring employees' tweets."

After firing thousands of people, Elon makes a joke about it

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The two pranksters who told journalists that they had been fired from Twitter and their names were "Ligma" and "Johnson" were invited back to Twitter for a photo with Elon, a man who has fired several thousand people in the past two weeks. Elon tweeted it out saying "important to admit when I’m wrong & firing them was truly one of my biggest mistakes."

Elon makes an ableist joke about someone he fired

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Twitter engineer Sasha Solomon was fired for her negative tweets about Elon Musk. He replied to vile troll account Libs of TikTok's screengrabs of her tweets by saying "A tragic case of adult onset Tourette’s."

Elon fires engineers for making sassy comments

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Prominent startup figure and author Gergely Orosz claims that "another ~10 Twitter employees who made sassy or critical remarks about Twitter's current leadership on a Twitter internal Slack channel have been terminated overnight. Several were respected sw [software] engineers."

Journalist Casey Newton seemed to confirm these reports. Someone on Mastodon using the name Roberto Frenna, identified as a UK-based software engineer for Twitter, posts that he is among the people fired.

GroupM tells advertisers that Twitter is a "High Risk" media buy

According to Digiday, GroupM, the world’s largest media buying agency, is telling clients that Twitter is now a “high risk” media buy following a barrage of controversies, U-turns, and confusion that capped off Elon Musk’s second week as the owner of the social network.

Twitter might lose its immunity from data protection authorities across Europe

Techcrunch reports that Twitter is no longer fulfilling the key obligations allowing it to report only to Ireland's (apparently relaxed) GDPR regulator, opening it up to GDPR violation claims from any data protection authority across Europe.

As part of their original arrangement within the EU, all new Twitter features had to go through the oversight of an Ireland-based team. Musk's determination to launch new features quickly, combined with the firing and resignations of key members of the data and privacy team, puts this arrangement at risk. GDPR fines can be up to 4% of annual global turnover.

Ask A Manager weighs in on the plight of Twitter's remaining workforce

Alison Green of Ask A Manager answered the question I work at Twitter … what do I do?, suggesting that "there’s no ethical imperative to quit on the spot and no shame in staying if you need to".

She concluded with a rare bit of pessimism for the column: "Good luck, and I’m sorry something you helped build is being needlessly destroyed."

Two-factor authentication breaks soon after Elon announces removal of "bloatware"

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Elon Musk tweeted that "part of today will be turning off the 'microservices' bloatware. Less than 20% are actually needed for Twitter to work!"

A few hours later, several Twitter users reported that the two-factor authentication service Twitter used to let them sign into their accounts was broken.

Balenciaga leaves Twitter

Fashion brand Balenciaga is the first major brand to quit the platform. Is this the start of a fashion trend?

The Yes Men take credit for the Twitter Blue "twitwreck"

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In a Substack post, the satirical anti-corporate activist group The Yes Men takes credit for using Elon's new Twitter Blue to impersonate the likes of Nintendo, Eli Lilly, Lockheed Martin, George Bush and Tony Blair, and AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League.

The parodies now have their own entry in Know Your Meme.

Elon says that Twitter will remove the device information on each tweet

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In a reply to a VC, Elon Musk tweets that "we will finally stop adding what device a tweet was written on (waste of screen space & compute) below every tweet. Literally no one even knows why we did that …"

It's plausible that nobody left at Twitter knows why, but Twitter does explain why in its 'How to Tweet' guide.

"Tweet source labels help you better understand how a Tweet was posted. This additional information provides context about the Tweet and its author. If you don’t recognize the source, you may want to learn more to determine how much you trust the content."

Elon tweets an explanation for poor performance that a Twitter engineer refutes

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Elon Musk tweets that Twitter is super slow in many countries because "App is doing >1000 poorly batched RPCs just to render a home timeline!"

Twitter Android developer Eric Frohnhoefer quote tweeted his boss to say "I have spent 6 yrs working on Twitter for Android and can say this is wrong."

Bloomberg reporter Ashlee Vance shared a screenshot of the exchange, saying it felt like "the opposite of whatever Quiet Quitting was." Musk replied to her tweet nine minutes later, saying "🤣💯"

He later tweeted to say that the Frohnhoefer had been fired.

Layoffs now affecting contractors

Casey Newton reports that 4,400 of 5,500 contracts, mostly in content moderation and infrastructure, have been terminated. As with the previous layoffs, they happened without warning or support. One person reported to Newton that "one of my contractors just got deactivated without notice in the middle of making critical changes to our child safety workflows."

Zoe Schiffer also reported that the contractors are losing healthcare benefits in 48 hours, leaving some who are pregnant or have ongoing conditions scrambling. She adds that information about COBRA - the program in the USA to pay to keep your company-provided healthcare for one more year - is going out via snail mail, leading to inevitable gaps in coverage.

Twitter Blue hasn't made much money

Mashable did the math on Twitter’s verification experiment and the numbers do not look too rosy. Overall Twitter earned an approximate $480,000 after launching officially, converting 0.25% of “power users”. The average conversion rate in e-commerce is roughly between 2 and 3 percent.

Elon Musk falsely claims that Twitter brings more traffic than another other source

In a tweet that he later deleted, Elon Musk claimed that "Twitter drives a massive number of clicks to other websites/apps. Biggest click driver on the Internet by far." In his newsletter Garbage Day, Ryan Broderick said that this statement "means he's just straight-up lying about the app now or he really has absolutely no idea what he's talking about at all."

Musk trolls a powerful senator

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Senator Ed Markey, who sits on various subcommittees related to media and space, says that a Washington Post reporter created an account impersonating him (with his consent).

He asked Musk for an explanation, and Musk replied, "Perhaps it is because your real account sounds like a parody?" and then asked why the senator's profile photo was him wearing a mask.

The senator responded to say, "One of your companies is under an FTC consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies. Or Congress will."

Accidental unfollows are occurring

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Twitter user Eniko Fox claims that the professional category on Twitter profiles acts as an unfollow button.

Abuse was not anticipated for the new blue checks

According to a Twitter employee interviewed on the Hard Fork podcast, there was no entry under the potential abuse section in the design docs for the Twitter Blue verified check mark.

Anonymous employee: We need to figure out how this can be abused. What are people going to do with it? What are the Bitcoin bros going to do to try to steal more of people’s money abusing this feature?… I’ve read the design docs that exist as of right now. And the spaces for that information and that work are empty.

Interviewer: Wait. They are just blank spots in the, how could this be abused, section?

Anonymous employee: Yeah.

Elon Musk claims that Twitter will become "the people's financial institution"

In a hastily converged Twitter all hands, Musk said "I think there’s this transformative opportunity in payments... if you address all things that you want from a finance standpoint, then we will be the people’s financial institution." Protocol points out that this sounds "an awful lot like his X.com playbook from the turn of the millennium: $10 bonuses for new accounts, high-yield savings accounts, sending money to other accounts, and eventually checking accounts and debit cards."

In 2015, deeply unpleasant human Peter Thiel said that "I was thinking of doing a book on PayPal … and [the chapter on Elon Musk] was going to be titled, 'The man who knew nothing about risk.'" Musk headed up a PayPal banking venture, issuing credit cards. According to Thiel, the venture was short-lived and disastrous.

Playbill leaves Twitter

The Hollywood Reporter reports that theater publication Playbill has left Twitter because the platform "has greatly expanded its tolerance for hate, negativity, and misinformation. As a respected news outlet for the Broadway community, we feel we can no longer continue to utilize a platform where the line between actual news and insidious rhetoric has become blurred beyond recognition.”

Elon blames the media elite

After days of chaos on Twitter, Elon blames mishaps on the “media elite” and its coverage of his Twitter takeover.

Two checkmarks now

After announcing verification checkmarks for Twitter Blue users, some profiles temporarily showed an additional “Official” checkmark.

This decision was later rescinded, then returned again for brands and not people (except for some people).

More ad dollars on pause

Advertising giant Omnicom recommends that its clients, including Apple and McDonald’s, pause their advertising campaigns, joining ad giant IPG.

Twitter's demise is likely to harm people with disabilities

Time magazine reports that "Just over a week after taking control of Twitter, Musk gutted the company’s accessibility team. That means the work those employees were doing to make the platform accessible for as many people as possible has stopped."

The article goes into detail about how disabled users are likely to be harmed by the changes that Musk has put into effect.

And no mispelling it either!

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Elon Musk changes the decision he previously changed on parody accounts, following the unfolding disaster of verified accounts.

Sully's out

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Hero of the Hudson, Captain Sully Sullenberger announces he's leaving Twitter.

Degenerative adversarial networks appear

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Verified accounts with AI-generated human faces indicating they are likely to be bots, appear on the platform.

Fake but verified

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A pair of verified Chiquita accounts discuss overthrowing South American governments.

Verified neo-Nazism returns to Twitter

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Fake brands were the topic of the day, but the potential for the new Twitter Blue became evident quickly, too. As Emily Gorcenski points out, multiple racists and neo-Nazis were quick to buy their blue checks, including Jason Kessler, main organizer of the neo-Nazi Unite the Right rally, who prompted Twitter's change to verification policies in 2017.

Twitter fires nearly all of its staff in Africa

Africa.com reports that "Twitter has laid off nearly all of its employees in Ghana, where it had its only African office."

Employees are now personally responsible for FTC compliance

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Casey Newton: According to messages shared in Twitter Slack, Twitter’s CISO, chief privacy officer, and chief compliance officer all resigned last night, perhaps because they faced an increasing struggle to comply with the existing FTC data privacy agreement in place. An employee told Newton that it will be up to engineers to “self-certify compliance with FTC requirements and other laws.”

Chief Information Security Officer quits

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In a tweet, Chief Information Security Officer Lea Kissner announces they are quitting Twitter.

New accounts for w0rld lead3rs appear on Twitter

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Verified Tony Blair commiserates with Verified George Bush.

Mario flips the bird

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Blue-check @NintendoOfUS / @nintenDOOFUS features Mario giving users the middle finger.

Bot numbers are ok to include now

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Elon Musk admits that his count of Twitter users includes bots.

@elon__rnusk announces Twitter Gold

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A blue-check Elon Musk parody account announces "Twitter Gold" to win Grimes back.

Double trouble

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There are two Twitter Blues, one more expensive than the other.

Twitter might break soon

Hours after the layoffs, which impacted Twitter’s site reliability engineering team heavily, first reports of Twitter behaving weirdly emerge. MIT Technology Review talks to a former Twitter engineer who says that it will break in the coming weeks.

Musk's plans eliminate half of Twitter's employees

Musk cut Twitter’s workforce by approximately 50%, and that still wasn't enough, reports said.