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12 things that happened at Twitter this week, from Doja Cat asking Elon Musk for help to bankruptcy threats

12 things that happened at Twitter this week, from Doja Cat asking Elon Musk for help to bankruptcy threats
Tech1 min read
Elon Musk acquired Twitter on October 27.Getty Images
  • Elon Musk's second week owning Twitter appeared just as hectic as the first.
  • New features were introduced before being removed again just as quickly.

Elon Musk really has moved quickly and broken things in the fortnight since he took control of Twitter.

As well as slashing the workforce by half and telling remaining staff to get back to the office and start expecting to put in 80-hour weeks, he unveiled Twitter Blue. The $8 a month subscription service that also offers a verified account quickly backfired, leading to a slew of impersonations.

If you're struggling to keep up, Insider has compiled a list of the 12 main events at Twitter this week.

1. I'm not the "Chief Twit"

1. I
Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin and Rich Sommer      Getty Images

Critics had expressed concern that impersonating others would become easy on the platform after Musk said anyone would be able to purchase a verification checkmark.

Sure enough, personalities decided to impersonate Musk by changing their names and profile pictures.

Comedians Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin and actor Rich Sommer were among those who wanted to show the billionaire just how easy it was to do so.

Their accounts were soon suspended, with Silverman's remaining "locked."

When Musk took over the social media app, he tweeted about comedy being legal now. Last Sunday, he said: "Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying "parody" will be permanently suspended."

On Friday, he added that accounts engaging in parody "must include 'parody' in their name, not just in bio."

"To be more precise, accounts doing parody impersonations. Basically, tricking people is not ok."

2. Musk, the "free speech absolutist" meme-poster

2. Musk, the "free speech absolutist" meme-poster
Musk at a 2022 Halloween party.      Taylor Hill/Getty Images

The new owner of Twitter came under fire on Monday for sharing a meme featuring a Nazi soldier as a joke about technological progress.

The photo that Musk shared was of a German soldier and his pigeons captured in May 1940 in France, according to Getty Images.

The same day he posted the meme, the billionaire said: "My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk."

Musk also declared Twitter's mission was to become the "most accurate source of information."

Nevertheless he still decided to share a false story about the attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband before deleting his tweet.

3. Jack Dorsey chips in

3. Jack Dorsey chips in
Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk.      Getty Images

Twitter's cofounder reacted on Monday to Musk's decision to change the name of the Birdwatch feature.

It allows users to flag information in posts that they consider to be misleading. Musk wants to rename it as "Community Notes."

Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO in 2021, challenged Musk on his mission to make the bird app the most accurate source of information, saying "accurate to who?"

Musk replied: "As judged by the people of Twitter via Community Notes (formerly Birdwatch)."

In response, Dorsey said that Birdwatch was "a far better name" and being more informative was a better goal for Twitter to aim for.

4. Here's your blue check

4. Here
Twitter

As the Tesla and SpaceX CEO announced last week, Twitter Blue started rolling out after the US midterm elections on Tuesday.

After much criticism from advertisers, activists, politicians, and celebrities regarding the content-moderation standards, Musk tweeted that the feedback was appreciated but it was time to pay.

Under Musk, the cost of Twitter Blue rose from $4.99 to $7.99 a month – but crucially also gave subscribers a blue checkmark.

5. India's office left with a dozen Tweeps

5. India
Tayfun Coskun/Getty Images

Musk slashed headcount Twitter's office in India by 90% to about 12 people, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

In the UK, staff were given three days to nominate a representative for a formal consultation about their future at the company.

6. The 'Official' back and forth

6. The
A screengrab showing Business Insider's Twitter page with the "official" tag when it rolled out.      Business Insider

Musk also launched a feature in an effort to differentiate accounts with blue badges purchased through Twitter Blue compared to the official accounts of politicians and personalities.

The "Official" tag was only available to accounts including "government accounts, commercial companies, business partners, major media outlets, publishers and some public figures," the company's product management director, Esther Crawford, tweeted on Tuesday.

The tag briefly appeared on Wednesday before promptly disappearing. Musk described the label as an "aesthetic nightmare" and said they created a "two-class system" during a Q&A on Twitter.

However, Twitter's support account confirmed on Friday that the badges were being added again to some accounts.

7. Systems down and no more free lunches

7. Systems down and no more free lunches
Getty Images

Some Twitter employees told The New York Times that when they arrived at work on Monday, they could not longer access certain systems.

A San Francisco engineer said he had found that some contracts with vendors that provide software for managing user data had been put on hold or had expired.

Finding a solution would prove to be hard because the managers and executives needed to resolve the problems had been laid off or resigned.

Twitter employees have been enjoying perks such as free lunches, but Musk reportedly plans to change that and make them pay for it, per The Times.

8. All back to the office

8. All back to the office
Getty Images

The billionaire has announced the end of remote working at Twitter.

Musk sent an email to his employees for the first time on Wednesday. You can read the email here.

He wrote that employees would no longer be permitted to work remotely and should be in the office for at least 40 hours a week unless they're given approval to work elsewhere, which he'd review. "The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed."

Days after Musk finalized the deal, employees noticed the company's "days of rest," implemented by Dorsey, had been removed from their calendars, people familiar with the matter told Insider.

9. Hands up

9. Hands up
Manu Cornet

Musk held his first all-hands meeting on Thursday.

He floated bankruptcy as a possibility and demanded a "hardcore" working culture. "Bankruptcy isn't out of the question," Musk said, according to sources who attended the event.

Most questions related to his email and the recent string of resignations of company leaders in the wake of last week's mass layoff, including those heading up internal systems security, privacy, and compliance.

During the meeting, Musk also told employees that he had PTSD and paranoia about recessions after trying to keep Tesla and PayPal alive during periods marked by financial turmoil.

10. Trust and safety chief departs

10. Trust and safety chief departs
Getty Images

Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of trust and safety, departed on Thursday.

He was one of the more senior executives to survive the mass layoffs and repeatedly tried to assuage people's concerns about the platform under Musk's leadership.

It's unclear why he abruptly left Twitter. Here's a list of all the execs who were fired or resigned.

11. Help me Elon

11. Help me Elon
Getty Images

Doja Cat is among the celebrities who directly addressed Musk asking for help on the platform.

The performer tweeted early Thursday morning: "i don't wanna be christmas forever @elonmusk please help i've made a mistake."

Doja Cat appeared to change her display name on Twitter on October 31. On Thursday, she also said: "why can't i change my name on here," Doja Cat tweeted Thursday.

She followed up with another tweet: "how do i change it also f*** you elon."

Musk responded to Doja Cat's tweets later in the day, letting her know that she should now be able to change her name.

After the update from Musk, Doja Cat subsequently changed her display name to "fart."

She also wrote, "thank u elon @elonmusk."

12. A softer Elon on Friday night

12. A softer Elon on Friday night
Adrees Latif/Reuters

Musk sent a memo late on Friday wherein he appeared to soften his stance on the new remote-working policy.

According to the memo, obtained by Insider, the billionaire wrote: "To reaffirm, working remotely is fine if if you cannot reasonably make it to the office and you are performing at an exceptional level."

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