The social media platform is in dire straits, to say the least.
So much has happened to Twitter because of Elon Musk’s recent takeover. With all the drama—not to mention the memes—it’s hard not to lose track of what’s going on. Luckily, we’ve been keeping up with all of it and we’re here to get you up to speed.
The Twitter Blue subscription drama
Soon after Musk assumed control of Twitter, he announced plans to charge users for verification. Before, the blue check was only for accounts run by celebrities, corporations, and government officials. Musk’s plan eventually led to the mass impersonation of public figures. That, in turn, led advertisers to leave Twitter because they felt the platform had descended into chaos.
Before the launch, Twitter’s trust and safety team warned Musk that his plan could backfire. But neither he nor his top lieutenants listened to them. Sure enough, after the launch, the trust and safety team’s worst fears came true. Musk eventually stopped the rollout of Twitter Blue, but not for good.
Everyone on the ethical AI and human rights teams lost their jobs within the first week of November. Only two people were left on the communications team after the layoffs. The company’s disability experience, employee resource, marketing, social, and “Redbird” (the division responsible for internal tools) teams were hit hard as well.
Some couldn’t how quickly the layoffs took place. But the majority of those affected say they were most struck by the fact that Musk never addressed them directly before firing half of Twitter’s workforce. Some even sued the company. That said, many used humor to cope with what happened. They posted memes comparing the layoffs to Thanos’s snap in Avengers: Infinity War.
Code complications and Twitter outages
When Musk took over, Twitter implemented a “code freeze” to keep employees from modifying the site without permission. Back then, engineers could write code but not deploy it, which is normal. But another freeze implemented a few days ago now prevents engineers from writing any code at all unless higher-ups give them express permission to do so.
Speaking of code, Musk recently made several public statements about the quality of Twitter’s code and service. He tweeted, “I’d like to apologize for Twitter being super slow in many countries. App is doing >1000 poorly batched RPCs just to render a home timeline!” Musk also criticized the microservices employed by the site and said he intends to turn them off.
Part of today will be turning off the “microservices” bloatware. Less than 20% are actually needed for Twitter to work!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 14, 2022
Engineers say such decisions may eventually lead to the service’s total collapse. Sure enough, after Musk said he plans to turn off up to 80% of microservices, two-factor authentication temporarily stopped working. Other users reported problems downloading their archives and site outages.
As if all that wasn’t bad enough, Musk sent out an internal memo today. He asked those who remain at Twitter to choose between being hardcore or losing their jobs.
“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore,” Musk wrote. “This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade,” he added.
Staffers who choose not to be hardcore will be terminated and receive three months’ severance pay. This comes after Musk said he expected to turn Twitter over to new leadership eventually.
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It’s clear that Twitter is in a problematic state at the moment. What happens next is anybody’s guess.
Additional Reporting Julian Mauricio
Featured Image Daniella Sison