Elon Musk And His No Good, Very Bad, Two Weeks Owning Twitter

Will Twitter's blue bird take off under Elon Musk's ownership?

The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, completed his purchase of Twitter on October 27 and faced controversy and public backlash, with many now worried about the future of the social networking site.

The owner of Tesla and SpaceX started a back-and-forth with Twitter in April when he announced he was the company’s largest shareholder, owning 9% of the company’s stock. Musk was offered a seat on Twitter’s board, which he turned down, before finally offering to buy the company for $54.20 per share on April 13.

Musk’s offer was accepted on April 25, and he tried to back out of the deal in June. But Musk sued Twitter in July, and the board formally approved his bid in September, closing the deal on Oct. 27, about seven months into the process.

After Musk moved to Twitter, tweeting a photo of himself bringing a kitchen sink with him through Twitter HQ, he began making major changes. First, he fired the majority of the board and the company’s CEO, CFO and chief legal officer on day one. Then, on his second day of ownership, Musk announced on Twitter that “comedy is now legal” as the site saw an uptick in hateful behavior and hate speech.

A week after taking office, Musk fired 3,700 Twitter employees, about half of its global workforce. Many learned of their fate when they tried to log into their corporate accounts only to find they had been permanently logged out. As a result, many took to social media and shared messages about their layoffs under the hashtag #OneTeam. There is now a lawsuit by former employees who say the layoffs violate federal law.

After cutting it in half, Musk’s staff decided to launch the controversial Twitter Blue, where any user could become a blue check if they paid $8 a month. The idea was immediately met with backlash, especially from advertisers, with some worried about imitators.

Those fears came true as Twitter Blue went into effect this week and millions of accounts were verified, many of them impersonating companies, celebrities and political figures saying everything from outlandish statements to financial promises.

Musk, who had said that offering subscription support to the blue verification check mark would be a “great equalizer,” soon changed his tune and implemented new rules saying parody accounts must be clearly declared or they will be banned outright. As a result, some accounts, including comedian Kathy Griffin, changed their names to Elon Musk, meaning accounts can no longer change their names unless given permission.

An account impersonating drug company Eli Lily tweeted that insulin would now be free, causing the company’s stock to plummet and forcing them to make a public announcement about the fake account.

As of Saturday, Twitter Blue is no longer an available feature on Twitter. However, Musk is reportedly asking laid-off employees if they are interested in returning to the company. The coming weeks will tell how Twitter and Musk handle this new chapter.

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