Twitter-Elon Musk Timeline: Layoffs May Hit Half of Workforce

Twitter’s new owner and CEO, Elon Musk, is putting his stamp on the influential social network.

Immediately after Musk bought Twitter on Oct. 27, the billionaire wasted no time making changes to the platform. From firing executives to proposing a new content moderation council, a lot has unfolded with Musk at the helm. 

But Twitter’s saga with Musk was chaotic even before he took control. The two sides secured a pact for him to buy the company in April, but Musk later attempted to back out of the deal, leading Twitter to sue him. After months of messy pretrial skirmishes, the SpaceX and Tesla leader finally closed his acquisition of the company right before a deadline that would have forced him to go head to head with Twitter in court.

“The bird is freed,” Musk, who has more than 112 million followers on Twitter, tweeted on the night he completed his $44 billion purchase.

Here’s the most recent news about Musk’s takeover of Twitter:

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

Musk plans to cut about 3,700 jobs at Twitter, or half of the social media company’s workforce, Bloomberg reported. Affected staffers are to be informed of their fate by Friday, sources told the news outlet.

Musk also plans to reverse the company’s existing work-from-anywhere policy, requiring remaining employees to report to office, the unidentified sources said.

In one scenario for reducing Twitter’s workfroce being considered, laid off workers will be offered 60 days’ worth of severance pay. Twitter users have been bracing for layoffs since Musk announced his bid for Twitter in April. One report indicated that Musk planned to cut 75% of jobs at Twitter.

Nov. 1: Musk suggests charging for verification

In a series of tweets, Musk floated the idea that Twitter charge $8 per month for a verified blue check mark as part of its subscription plan. The company’s subscription service, known as Twitter Blue, currently costs $5 per month but doesn’t include verification as a perk.

Twitter currently doesn’t charge to verify accounts with a blue check mark, and the badge is supposed to be given out to accounts that the company determines are “notable, authentic and active.” The blue check mark is meant to help users determine if an account of a celebrity, journalist or other public figure is fake or not.

Musk tweeted that the price would be adjusted by country and that the subscription would include “priority in replies, mentions & search, which is essential to defeat spam/scam,” as well as the “ability to post long video & audio.” He also said users would see “half as many ads.” 

Earlier in the day, The Wall Street Journal reported that Twitter Blue subscribers will lose access to ad-free articles from publishers like Vox, the Los Angeles Times and Insider. There have been various reports of different prices for a Twitter Blue subscription, with the company also reportedly having considered increasing the subscription price to $20 a month.

It’s unclear from Musk’s tweets if verified users would have to pay for a subscription or lose their blue check mark. Musk tweeted there would be “a secondary tag” for public figures, like the one now used for politicians.

The company’s chief customer officer, Sarah Personette, also revealed in a tweet that she resigned on Friday.

Meanwhile, Twitter said it has removed 1,500 accounts since Saturday for posting hateful content.

Oct. 31: Official CEO, board dissolved, layoff plans, no Trump decision yet, content moderation limited

Days after naming himself “Chief Twit” on his Twitter profile, Musk confirmed he’s the company’s CEO through a securities filing. Other changes to Twitter’s leadership are also underway. A related securities filing shows Twitter’s board of directors was dissolved the day Musk took over and identified Musk as the “sole director” of the company. 

He also reportedly plans to lay off 25% of Twitter’s workforce, The Washington Post reported, citing anonymous sources. 

Musk, who has previously said he would reverse former US President Donald Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter, is still getting questions about whether he’ll follow through on that. Twitter booted Trump from its platform in 2021 following the deadly US Capitol Hill riot because of concerns that his remarks could incite more violence. 

“If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if Trump is coming back on this platform, Twitter would be minting money!” Musk tweeted

Twitter also limited some Trust and Safety employee access to internal tools, Bloomberg reported, curbing their ability to moderate content and address misinformation ahead of next week’s US elections. They can apparently still edit or remove posts that could result in real-world harm.

“This is exactly what we (or any company) should be doing in the midst of a corporate transition to reduce opportunities for insider risk. We’re still enforcing our rules at scale,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, tweeted in response to Bloomberg’s story.

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

Musk has been busy suggesting changes to Twitter. He tweeted a poll about whether Twitter should bring back Vine, a short-form video app that Twitter shut down in 2017. 

Twitter also reportedly plans to charge $20 per month for its Twitter Blue subscription service, and verified users would lose their blue checkmark if they don’t do so in 90 days, The Verge reported, citing anonymous sources. Platformer’s Casey Newton reported that Twitter is thinking about charging $5 a month to verified users if they want to keep their blue checkmarks.

Musk also tweeted and then deleted a link to an article with a baseless conspiracy theory about last week’s attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in San Francisco. The article came from a website called the Santa Monica Observer. Fact-checking website Media Bias/Fact Check noted the outlet publishes right-wing misinformation. 

Oct. 29: Twitter battles a surge in racist slurs

Twitter is trying to combat anonymous accounts that started to tweet racist slurs hours after Musk took over Twitter. 

Twitter head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth tweeted that the company has “seen a small number of accounts post a ton of tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms.” He added that “more than 50,000 tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts.”

“Bottom line up front: Twitter’s policies haven’t changed. Hateful conduct has no place here. And we’re taking steps to put a stop to an organized effort to make people think we have,” he tweeted.

Oct. 28: Twitter to form content moderation council

Advocacy groups have raised concerns that Musk’s control over Twitter would allow more hate speech and misinformation to surface on the platform. Musk has vowed publicly he doesn’t want Twitter to become a “free-for-all hellscape” but has also said that he’s “against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”

Musk said the company would form a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints.” The company won’t make any major content decisions or account reinstatements before the council convenes, he tweeted.

A securities filing on Oct. 28 also noted that Twitter’s stock is being delisted on the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter, a publicly traded company, became a private one. 

Oct. 27: Musk takes over Twitter, fires executives

Musk became Twitter’s new owner and reportedly fired key executives at the company, including Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal policy, trust and safety.

Earlier in the day, Musk tweeted a letter to advertisers. The billionaire, who once tweeted that he hated advertising, now posted that “advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you.” 

Musk met with employees throughout the week, carried a sink into Twitter’s headquarters as a photo op and changed his profile to “Chief Twit” before news broke that the deal had been completed.