December 2, 2022

Musk’s second week of Twitter brings reversals on check scores, jobs

(Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. is heading into its second full work week under Elon Musk with half its workforce, mounting losses and unexpected changes to its plans.

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The social media company laid off nearly 3,700 people on Friday, soon to reach dozens of employees it mistakenly fired or were essential to changes the billionaire tycoon wants to make. Another key initial goal for Musk — adding verification verification scores for members of its monthly subscription service — is being delayed until Wednesday to avoid potential confusion during the U.S. midterm elections.

The whiplash events, described by people familiar with the situation or in an internal company memo posted on Slack, followed Musk’s own admission in a tweet that the company he and well-heeled partners bought for $44 billion was losing $4 million a day.

Twitter shed its workforce as a way to cut costs following the Musk acquisition, which closed in late October. Many employees learned they lost their jobs after access to company-wide systems like email and Slack was suddenly suspended. Requests for staff to return demonstrate how rushed and chaotic the process was.

A Twitter spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. Twitter’s plan to rehire workers was previously reported by the platform.

“Regarding Twitter’s ongoing downsizing, the company unfortunately had no choice when it was losing $4M/day,” Musk tweeted Friday.

About 3,700 employees remain at Twitter, according to people familiar with the matter. Musk is pushing people at the company to move quickly in shipping new features, and in some cases, employees are sleeping in the office to meet new deadlines.

Twitter has said it is rolling out new features to its Twitter Blue subscription plan, providing a verification verification identity to any user who pays a monthly fee. The company also said it will soon introduce other features, including half ads, the ability to post longer videos, and receive priority ranking in replies, comments, and searches.

According to an internal company message posted on Slack, Twitter will offer new blue verification verification scores to users who pay $7.99 per month for the service starting November 9. The company had earlier planned to launch the subscription feature on November 7, the day before the elections.

The company received internal and external feedback that the verification process for its Twitter Blue program may have been flawed, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified. It raised concerns that candidates and other political actors could be impersonated on the site in the days leading up to the US election.

Late Sunday, Musk said Twitter would ban accounts impersonating others after several high-profile users changed their names and pictures to match those of the billionaire. Any name change will result in temporary loss of verified check mark.

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