After a long and confusing legal battle, the space billionaire and social media monolith finally made peace.
But shortly after the acquisition was formalized, a series of interesting incidents started to unfold.
Here are some of the highlights.
👉 Elon walks in the first day carrying a kitchen sink
Elon seems to be enjoying his new Twitter powers. Shortly after the acquisition, Musk changed his title to ‘Chief Twit’, and tweeted: “The bird is freed”, signaling a new era of freedom of speech.
On his first day, Musk walked into the Twitter HQ carrying a sink, captioning the image with a joke, “let that sink in!”
👉 Elon fires the CEO and CFO of Twitter
Immediately following his acquisition, Musk fired Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, dissolved the Twitter board of directors, and took on the role of CEO.
Some sources also say he fired Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy and Trust, and Sean Edgett, General Counsel.
Former CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and CLO Vijaya Gadde are reportedly walking away with $187 million of Musk’s money in compensation.
Moreover, the fired executives will receive a “Golden Parachute Compensation” as per the merger agreement approved by shareholders, which includes a year’s base pay – $1 million for Agrawal and $600,000 each for Segal and Gadde, plus a year of health insurance, worth about $73,000.
Agrawal, Segal and Gadde are also earning $8.4 million, $22 million, and $34.8 million respectively from their shares in the company.
👉 Elon takes Twitter private
On Friday, the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of Twitter’s stock as Musk took the company private. Twitter, which closed Thursday at $53.70 per share, will be completely delisted on November 8th.
Marking a 0.66% increase per share, the purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price of $39.31 on April 1, 2022 — the last trading day before Musk disclosed his 9.2% stake.
The move gives Musk significantly more power, as privately-held companies don’t need to deal with the pesky intrusion of a board of directors. However, this power comes at a steep price, as private companies are closely taxed and face harder regulations.
In 2018, Musk paid a $40 million SEC fine for ‘joking’ about taking Tesla private on Twitter. The fine was distributed equally between his person and his company, who paid $20 million for fraud charges each as the court “held that he recklessly made the statements with knowledge as to their falsity.”
This time, however, Musk is serious, and sharing his plans of taking the company public again in three to five years.
👉 Elon says he plans on letting go 75% of the workforce, then takes it back
Turns out these high-profile layoffs were the beginning of a culling. Musk soon made his intentions clear of firing 75% of Twitter’s workforce, leaving the staff anxious about the takeover and what it may mean for them.
In one of his early Twitter threads, Musk said he’s “meeting a lot of cool people at Twitter today”, then added that some of these “cool people” may be about to lose their jobs.
He soon took that back. Bloomberg reports that he denied the previously reported number in an address to employees at the company’s San Francisco office last Wednesday.
Some layoffs, however, are still expected in the near future.
👉 Elon lays off 50% of the workforce, and is now getting sued
In a brutal email, Elon relieved close to 3,700 employees of their positions without prior notice, putting them on a paid non-working notice till February 2nd of next year and informing them that their access to Twitter systems has been deactivated.
Furthermore, to maintain the safety of its “employees, systems, and customer data”, Twitter closed down its offices on November 4th, and asked all employees heading to work to “go back home” and wait for an email with the subject line “Your Role at Twitter” that will tell them whether they are still employed by 5 PM PST.
In their panic, engineering managers told their employees to “ship 5x as much”, and work on anything to show to Elon Musk that may change his mind about their fates and let them keep their jobs.
As a result, Twitter may be facing a class-action lawsuit for its mass layoffs, which took place on short notice.
Attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who filed a similar lawsuit over Tesla Inc.’s June layoffs, said she “will be monitoring the situation” at Twitter to ensure employees receive appropriate notice and compensation.
“I am pleased that Elon Musk learned something from the lawsuit we brought against him at Tesla,” she said in an email. “We filed this case preemptively [on the eve of mass layoffs] to make sure a repeat of that violation did not happen.”
Elon Musk, who reportedly “laughed off” the Tesla lawsuit, appears to be “complying” this time around, and defended his decision on Twitter by saying that employees were offered 50% more severance than legally required.
LinkedIn is now flooded with posts from ex-Twitter employees, who are posting their experiences under the hashtag #lovewhereyourworked.
👉 Elon brings on employees from Tesla and introduces 84-hour work weeks
According to some reports, Elon Musk has brought on more than 50 employees from Tesla, Boring Company, and Neuralink to Twitter, and instructed his staff to work 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week with no word of overtime pay in compensation.
A number of managers have even been asked to review employee performance as they slept in their offices last week.
👉 After laying off almost half of the workforce citing “November losses”, the company is now re-hiring
When the company laid off almost 3,700 people, the recurring message was this: the company was reportedly suffering from a “massive drop in revenue”. He even tweeted that job cuts were needed as “unfortunately there is no choice when the company is losing over $4m/day”.
Elon then proceeded to make a number of critical roles across the company redundant, spanning departments like human rights, accessibility experience, communications, machine learning ethics, transparency and accountability, curation, and public policy.
A few days later, Twitter was re-hiring!
The company even posted a message on the Slack channel asking some people to come back.
Frustrations go beyond his employees, and well into Twitter’s user base. Bot Sentinel, an AI tool designed to track down Twitter bots, estimates that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, as soon as Elon took office, while half a million more were suspended.
On Twitter, there are now discussions of which platform to migrate to next, with the two most prominent alternatives being Mastodon and Tumblr.
👉 Binance, the fourth biggest backer of the takeover, will help Elon fight Twitter bots
Earlier this week, Binance wired a $500 million investment to back Musk’s Twitter takeover, becoming the fourth largest contributor to the acquisition.
For its part, Binance says it plans to help Musk fight Twitter bots, although it is likely that its contribution will mostly be used to groom the social media giant to become even more of a web3-friendly platform, as Musk shared last June that he plans to introduce crypto payments to Twitter.
Speaking at the first virtual all-hands meeting for Twitter, he explained: “Money is fundamentally digital at this point and has been for a while. It would make sense to integrate payments into Twitter so it’s easy to send money back and forth.”
Ellison Revocable Trust remains the biggest contributor with its $1 billion investment, followed by Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company and the private office of H.H. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.
👉 The use of the N-word increases by over 500% since the takeover
Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”, told advertisers that Twitter cannot become “a free-for-all hellscape.”
He has another thing coming though, as users took to Twitter to test the limits of this claim by tweeting all sorts of problematic, and often quite hateful, statements targeting a number of ethnic and minority groups, an action that would have otherwise gotten a user put in Twitter jail before Musk became CEO.
Some of them even tagged Elon, hoping to trigger a response.
A social media research group also told The Washington Post that ever since the takeover, the use of the N-word increased by nearly 500%.
Musk was quick to respond, revealing his imminent plans for instating a content moderation team with “diverse viewpoints.”
👉 Twitter will start charging $20 per month for ‘verified’ status
As soon as he took office, Musk gave his new employees an ultimatum: introduce paid verification on Twitter by November 7th, or leave.
According to his proposed model, the verified status will now be a feature of the Twitter Blue plan, and verified users will only have 90 days to upgrade to the paid subscription, or lose their blue checkmark.
Since Twitter Blue is currently only available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S., it is unclear what that means for verified users outside of these locations.
The Twitter Blue revamp is also putting an end to publisher partnerships, a feature that allowed companies to send ad-free articles on participating publications in return for a percentage of ad revenue earned per view.
The email, which was sent to all 350 publishers subscribed to the plan, read: “In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching an update to Twitter Blue. In the course of this work, we have made the decision to discontinue Ad-free Articles, effective as of the close of business today, October 31, 2022. This hard decision will allow us to focus our resources on adding additional value for our members. Expect to hear more from us soon.”
It continued: “Starting tomorrow, we will stop displaying the “Twitter Blue Publisher” label on any Tweets containing your articles. We will no longer be sending a Twitter Blue token when people on Twitter access articles from your properties. This will prevent the ad-free experience on your site from loading.”
👉 After user outrage, Twitter will start charging $8 per month for ‘verified’ status instead
Following user outrage online, Musk adjusted the price tag of the ‘verified’ checkmark to $8, which comes with a number of other privileges, including priority in replies, half as many ads, and longer audio and video caps.
Politicians and public figures will also get a secondary tag, and publishing partners will enjoy a number of extra perks.
Musk explained that charging $8 a month will also give Twitter a revenue stream to reward content creators.
Users were not appeased, as many of them still did not see any value in the feature that would warrant paying for it. These included a number of celebrities and opinion leaders, including Stephen King, Vitalik Buterin, and Garret Wilson.
👉 Dogecoin price spikes immediately after the acquisition
Dogecoin, Musk’s favorite cryptocurrency, recorded a 94% increase in the last seven days, replacing Cardano as the 6th largest cryptocurrency.
Over the years, Musk had repeatedly promoted the token on Twitter, leading followers to think it will be somehow integrated into the social platform following the acquisition.
These suspicions were made even stronger when Musk tweeted a picture of a dog wearing a Twitter T-shirt next to a Halloween pumpkin lantern.
The tweet sparked the birth of dozens of new Shiba Inu-inspired tokens on BNB Chain and Ethereum, with names like “babyDogeTwitter,” “dogenaldtrump,” “spaceTwitterDoge,” and “elonDogeTwit”.
Unlike Dogecoin, which jumped by more than 23% in the past 24 hours alone, the new tokens quickly plummeted, with 67 tokens falling 90% in price in the hours following their issuance, and 45 falling by 100%.
This is a developing story.
If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.