The comment capped a chaotic weekend wherein Musk abruptly modified course on a number of main points for the corporate, which he acquired for $44 billion a bit over every week in the past. After shedding about half of the workforce on Friday, Twitter started scrambling to rehire some who have been let go. It postponed the deliberate launch of its new paid verification product till after the midterm elections.
And it suspended widespread accounts for impersonating Musk, beneath a brand new coverage that the corporate’s new CEO introduced Sunday.
To independent-minded voters:
Shared energy curbs the worst excesses of each events, subsequently I like to recommend voting for a Republican Congress, provided that the Presidency is Democratic.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Musk’s endorsement of GOP candidates to his 115 million Twitter followers, a day earlier than midterm elections, is more likely to intensify the partisan divide over his takeover of the platform. Lawmakers prior to now have grilled executives of social media corporations together with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as as to whether their selections may have influenced election outcomes, whilst these executives have studiously prevented signaling their preferences for a given occasion or candidate.
Musk has proven himself to be an outspoken and infrequently erratic CEO, liable to outbursts — generally in public boards akin to earnings calls. Meanwhile his public pronouncements on Tesla have at instances damaged well-understood norms, such because the expectation that firm leaders withhold touch upon market-moving issues throughout the buying and selling day.
“Tesla stock price is too high imo,” he declared in a single tweet — sending the inventory plunging. Musk tweeted in 2018 that he had “Funding secured” to take Tesla non-public for $420 per share, main the Securities and Exchange Commission to accuse him of deceptive buyers. Musk and Tesla every agreed to pay $20 million fines within the ordeal, and Musk relinquished his board chairmanship of Tesla within the settlement.
But Musk’s shoot-from-the-hip ethos carries new gravity as he runs Twitter, a extremely influential discussion board the place hundreds of thousands hunt down information, election info and communications from world leaders. As Musk’s curiosity in proudly owning Twitter was changing into obvious, he stated Twitter serves as a “de facto public town square,” and will adhere to ideas of free speech, doing little past what the regulation explicitly requires to police itself.
His endorsement within the elections because the CEO of a massively influential social media website shines a brand new gentle on how he plans to execute on that imaginative and prescient.
Musk’s endorsement of Republicans might come as a shock to some, however he has been expressing disdain for the route of the Democratic Party lately. In April, he wrote that he strongly supported Obama for president, however that the occasion had been “hijacked by extremists.”
Elon Musk’s Twitter layoffs, defined
“I support free speech, but not any one candidate. In fact, I gave money to & voted for Hillary & then voted for Biden,” he tweeted in May. “However, given unprovoked attacks by leading Democrats against me & a very cold shoulder to Tesla & SpaceX, I intend to vote Republican.”
Musk gave extra perception into his politics on Monday, tweeting “To be clear, my historical party affiliation has been Independent, with an actual voting history of entirely Democrat until this year.” He added he’d be open to voting Democrat sooner or later.
To be clear, my historic occasion affiliation has been Independent, with an precise voting historical past of fully Democrat till this 12 months
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Musk has expressed frustration with California’s authorities amid shelter-in-place orders throughout coronavirus restrictions in 2020, as Tesla’s manufacturing facility there was closed. In May of that 12 months, he defiantly reopened Tesla’s plant — accepting the help of President Donald Trump in his push to interrupt with county-level stay-at-home orders. Musk broke right into a profanity-laced rant throughout a Tesla earnings name across the time calling quarantine measures “fascist.”
Musk’s sudden, dramatic strikes energized some on the appropriate, who view Musk as reversing Twitter’s leftward shift beneath earlier management. And it stored many customers glued to Twitter, the place his follower rely continued to develop quickly over the weekend.
Musk stated Friday that Twitter has seen a “massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressing advertisers” to cease promoting on the platform.
Researchers noticed early indicators that the dialog on the platform was already altering within the first week of Musk’s possession, as conspiracy theorists appeared emboldened by his guarantees of a hands-off strategy to policing the platform.
In Musk’s first 5 days of possession of Twitter, posts from accounts associated to the baseless pro-Trump conspiracy concept Q-Anon practically doubled in keeping with the nonprofit Advance Democracy, which conducts public curiosity analysis. And tweets casting doubt on US elections have been receiving hundreds of retweets and no labels, the analysis discovered.
Musk sought to quell the issues of advertisers, however the situation ballooned as he selected to conduct large-scale layoffs within the run-up to the midterm elections, prompting fears about how the platform can be policed. It hadn’t helped that Musk himself, days after taking possession of the positioning, shared a put up containing misinformation in regards to the assault on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi. Musk tweeted, then deleted, a put up linking to a conspiracy-laden article from the Santa Monica Observer, described by fact-checkers as a low-credibility supply favoring the acute proper.
Some advertisers selected to specific warning as Twitter entered the period of Musk’s possession.
Companies together with General Motors, Volkswagen Group and General Mills all stated they have been pausing promoting on Twitter. Meanwhile civil rights teams known as for an advertiser boycott, because the NAACP President Derrick Johnson stated, “It is immoral, dangerous, and highly destructive to our democracy for any advertiser to fund a platform that fuels hate speech, election denialism, and conspiracy theories. “
Under monetary stress to show the corporate round shortly, Musk has been touting a plan to cost customers $8 monthly to get verified and obtain a verify mark testifying to their account’s authenticity, amongst different advantages. Musk initially promised the brand new subscription plan, often called Twitter Blue, would launch on Monday, and there was widespread confusion Saturday about whether or not the characteristic was launching.
But an individual acquainted with the plans, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate inside plans, informed The Washington Post the launch is not going to occur till after the midterms. The New York Times first reported the delay.
They traded Twitter for Mastodon Social. Now what?
The firm started reaching out over the weekend to attempt to rehire workers it had simply laid off, in keeping with a number of inside sources, together with two with direct data of the rehiring efforts who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate delicate issues. Among the individuals Twitter is alleged to be looking for to rehire are engineers who labored on the corporate’s Android app, members of its Cortex machine-learning workforce, and others with particular technical experience wanted to launch new merchandise, sources informed The Post. The try to carry again laid off workers was first reported by Platformer on Friday.
“They’re asking people to come back because a lot of things are breaking there,” stated one laid off Twitter worker who was requested about their curiosity in returning to the corporate. A couple of groups “were completely eliminated without much thought and now it’s causing roadblocks for other teams. It’s been a frustrating week for those employed, too.”
The worker, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate personnel issues, informed The Post they deliberate to say no the supply to return.
Advertisers fleeing, staff in worry: Welcome to Elon Musk’s Twitter
Generating among the most controversy, Twitter began suspending accounts “engaged in impersonation” on Sunday after Musk introduced that each one accounts falsely utilizing the names of actual individuals and not using a “parody” label can be instantly banned from the platform.
The transfer got here after a flood of customers modified their show names to match Musk’s — lots of whom jeered his controversial announcement that Twitter would quickly cost customers $8 monthly for verification.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk tweeted Sunday afternoon. “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”
The new impersonation coverage appeared to contradict Musk’s assurance final week that he would convene a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” earlier than making any main selections. In May, Musk criticized everlasting suspensions, saying that they “fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter.”
Musk had additionally beforehand indicated he would reinstate completely suspended accounts akin to that of Trump, who was banned after the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol beneath Twitter’s insurance policies towards inciting violence. But final week he stated the corporate wouldn’t carry again Trump or different banned accounts earlier than the midterms.
Twitter to cost $8 a month for verification. What it’s essential know.
Among these suspended from Twitter for altering their show names to “Elon Musk” was comic Kathy Griffin, who, beneath Musk’s moniker, urged Americans to vote for Democrats within the midterm elections.
“I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right,” she wrote shortly earlier than her account was suspended, YouTuber Ethan Klein was additionally gave the impression to be suspended from the platform after he joined these impersonating Musk.
Griffin’s followers known as Twitter’s transfer a crackdown on freedom of speech and parody, utilizing the hashtag #freekathy to criticize the platform’s new coverage. Later on Sunday, Musk, who’s the world’s richest particular person, tweeted that Griffin may have her account again if she paid up.
“If she really wants her account back, she can have it,” Musk wrote. “For $8.”
Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.