Earlier this week, Elon Musk announced a deadline for Twitter employees to either stay or go. While many employees are reportedly thrilled by the decision, it’s unclear what it will do for Twitter’s overall operations. Aside from the obvious implications for employees, the company has also been under scrutiny due to a deal it made with the US government. This is likely to lead to a review of the deal’s National security implications.
Curation team was a key part of the initial round of layoffs
Almost a week after Elon Musk took over Twitter, he sent his staff an email entitled “A Fork in the Road” that offered a glimpse into the new owner’s vision for Twitter. It also told employees that their job status would be revealed by 9 a.m. the next day, but didn’t say how long they would be employed by the company.
Musk had already cut his team by around 15 percent and pushed out top leaders. He said he would also institute a “return to office” requirement for remote workers, but hasn’t yet specified which exceptions will be granted.
The new owner of Twitter sent an email to staff on Thursday. It said the email was “the first of many” to come, and it would “discuss” the layoffs in greater detail. It also said that the company would soon announce plans for its “fundamental organizational restructuring”.
The email also said that the company would be implementing “a stack ranking system” to identify the best performers. It also offered employees an opportunity to see the enigmatic “blue check mark” that it had previously announced would cost users $8 a month to verify their account.
While the new owner hasn’t yet revealed the specific details of his plans, employees have begun posting on social media about their own layoffs and taking to Twitter to offer support to their colleagues. Many have said they were worried about the impact of the layoffs on Twitter’s ability to moderate problematic content.
The new owner’s decision to cut employees across a variety of departments has caused a lot of uncertainty. A number of employees were locked out of their work accounts. Others were notified via personal email addresses.
National security review of Musk’s deal with the US government
Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that US officials were considering a national security review of Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter. It’s unclear why the review is being considered, but the administration is concerned about Musk’s apparent Russia-friendly tweets during the war in Ukraine.
US officials are looking at Musk’s Twitter tweets and his plans to stop providing a satellite internet service in Ukraine. They also are concerned about Musk’s business interests.
Elon Musk is the founder of SpaceX, the electric vehicle manufacturer, and was seen as a hero when the company launched a satellite internet service in Ukraine. His Starlink service helped keep the military online during the Russian invasion. However, Chinese authorities criticized the rollout. They asked Musk to provide assurances that he would not sell the service in China.
A number of foreign investors are also in the deal, including Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, who financed Musk’s $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. According to Bloomberg, the administration is considering a CFIUS review of the deal.
CFIUS is an interagency panel composed of personnel from the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon. Its mandate is to protect the United States national security. It also reviews completed and pending deals. The review could result in the nixing or suspension of the deal. It would likely require mitigation, which could prevent foreign investors from accessing Twitter’s finances, underlying data, and strategic direction.
The review would be consistent with past actions. If the review finds any national security issues, President Joe Biden could block the deal. If a formal review recommends a suspension, the President could order the minority foreign investors to sell their shares.
Payed blue check rollout exacerbated Twitter’s business woes
During the first few weeks of his leadership, Elon Musk rolled out a new verification system that was touted as the “coolest thing ever.” He said it was the “single most important change to Twitter’s product in years,” and it would allow him to monetize the service. However, in the months since he took over, his plans have ruffled feathers.
Musk has tried to monetize Twitter by introducing a monthly fee to verify users’ accounts. His business plans have been a disaster, and the company’s infrastructure is crumbling.
In the past, Twitter had offered its “blue check” service to users who subscribed. This would allow them to receive a blue check mark, which was an indication that their account was verified. However, the service was only available to a few people, and it had only been in operation for a few months.
Musk announced the new verification system on Twitter’s Twitter account. The service allowed users to pay $8 a month to be verified. The company announced that the service would be available on iOS and Android devices. The blue check mark would be visible on these accounts and would allow users to receive an increased distribution for their tweets. The company also announced that there would be two different checkmark colors to distinguish the paid accounts.
However, the company later retracted the new verification system. Instead, users would only be able to verify their accounts using a credit card.
According to the company’s trust and safety team, the best way to verify an account is to use a combination of factors, including moderation, the right legal statutes, and a user’s adherence to the rules. However, some users worry that if the service is not free, it will be used as a way to drive more people away from Twitter.
Offices will be closed and employee badge access disabled until Monday
Earlier this week, Twitter CEO Elon Musk sent an email to employees, laying out the company’s upcoming restructuring plan. The email outlined that employees would have to decide if they wanted to stay or leave the company. He offered a three-month severance package to those who choose to leave.
In addition to the severance package, Musk had said that employees would have to work long hours at a high intensity. He also said that the company would be “more engineering-driven”.
But shortly after Musk announced the restructuring, the company announced that it was suspending employee badge access until Monday. Hundreds of employees posted goodbye messages on Twitter’s Slack.
Several engineering teams left the company in full on Thursday. One former employee said the systems were down to two engineers. Others have questioned whether their jobs are safe.
According to Bloomberg, 75% of Twitter’s employees have chosen to leave. The company has already faced a proposed class action lawsuit. It has also been criticized by US lawmakers. The company is facing scrutiny from a group of Democratic senators who outlined some of the alarming actions taken by the company.
The company’s board dissolved the day Musk took over. But in court Wednesday, Musk said that the company would be “more engineering-driven”. He also confirmed that he is the company’s CEO. But he said that “exceptional” performers will receive stock options.
Hundreds of employees reportedly left Twitter, including several “critical” engineering teams. Some engineers, including one former engineering manager, have filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the company. Others say they’ve seen “legendary engineers” leave. Some employees claim they’ve been treated unfairly.
Tesla CEO says those who write “great code” will hold the most sway
Earlier this month, Twitter CEO Elon Musk made a series of pronouncements regarding the future of the social networking site. He laid off half of Twitter’s full-time workforce and gave employees an ultimatum to leave if they weren’t impressed with his new plan. He also told staff that working from home is no longer an option, and said that “if you don’t show up at work, your resignation is accepted”.
Musk’s latest pronouncements were more direct and less poetic. He sent out an email to his entire staff titled “A Fork in the Road” and outlined his vision for Twitter.
He told staff that “long hours at high intensity” would be the new norm. He said that those who write “great code” would have the greatest sway. His email also mentioned the fact that the blue check mark, the subscription option that was previously only available to users with verified public figures accounts, was now available to everyone.
Musk has also fired several senior executives. He’s also cut contractors working with Twitter without notice. This latest round of sackings follows two earlier rounds of slashing. Some of the employees involved are reportedly upset at being “burnt” for comments on Twitter’s internal message platform.
A source said that more than 20 employees were fired in the latest round of layoffs. According to this source, Twitter staff had to sign a “pledge” to work hard in order to stay at the company. The message also mentioned the Twitter Blue checkmark subscription service, which was rolled out last month to help grow Twitter’s revenue and retain advertisers.
The Twitter CEO’s email also outlined the company’s “Twitter 2.0” plan. It’s not clear what this will be, but it will certainly be more engineering-focused.