The CEO is silent after the users voted for him to step down
The Elon Musk lawsuit against Twitter after the $44 billion purchase of a social media platform is set to begin on October 17th, Bloomberg reports
Elon Musk will no longer be deposed by Twitter’s lawyers on Thursday morning, after both sides agreed to a delay as they worked to close the $44 billion purchase of the social media network, the Financial Times and Bloomberg report. The trial for the lawsuit against Musk is scheduled to begin on October 17th, and he was going to be deposed two days before then. His deposition was pushed back from its original date due to concerns over his exposure.
Both sides were working to close the deal after Musk said that he would proceed with his initial offer of $54.20 a share, though the New York Times reports that he had tried to lower the price in recent talks. In April, the CEO of the electric car maker and a prolific user of the social media network announced that he would buy it and tried to back out after some allegations of misrepresentations on the platform.
The trial is scheduled to begin on October 17th. “The parties have not filed a stipulation to stay this action, nor has any party moved for a stay,” the Delaware Chancery Court judge overseeing the case, Kathaleen McCormick, wrote on Wednesday as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “I, therefore, continue to press on toward our trial set to begin on October 17.” But given the current negotiations, Bloomberg notes that the trial is “almost certain” to be put on hold.
What Has He Learned About Twitter? Exactly How Musk Overcame his Misleading Scenarios and When Twitter Got It Wrong
Since Musk took over, he’s made a lot of questionable decisions at the company. In the last few years, Musk has ruled the social network based on what he decides and without any checks on his decisions. Nearly all of Twitter’s top executives have either been fired or quit since Musk took the reins.
Musk soured on Parag Argawal, the current CEO of Twitter, after they initially started talking about Musk being on the company’s board. “He has been completely absent for weeks,” one current Twitter employee, who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission, said of Argawal. “He has ghosted us,” said another. There are a lot of similar comments about Argawal on both Slack and Blind, which are anonymous message boards for tech workers.
Musk’s penchant for drama made it a messy saga of his take on the social media platform. In any event, we’re hours away from a conclusion to this saga. It’s the beginning of a new era for Twitter.
The execs received handsome payouts for their trouble, Insider reports: Agrawal got $38.7 million, Segal got $25.4 million, Gadde got $12.5 million, and Personette, who tweeted yesterday about how excited she was for Musk’s takeover, got $11.2 million.
The Supreme Court agreed to take up two cases, one of which would determine its liability for illegal content on the social networking site.
More broadly, Musk has talked about using Twitter to create “X, the everything app.” China’s version of WeChat started as a messaging platform and has since grown to encompass multiple businesses, from gaming to shopping. Musk told employees that they live on a messaging platform in China. “If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success.”
It’s over, Musk is the owner of a micro-blogging site. How did that happen? Read on — we’ll lay out every step of how it happened and how the billionaire is now in control of Twitter, with several former execs abruptly escorted out of the building and Twitter employees awaiting the first updates from their new “Chief Twit.”
Elon Musk Takes Control of Twitter and Immediately-ousts Top Executives: A First-Principles Trade-Off On Twitter
A Delaware judge ordered the deal to be finalized by Friday. If no agreement was reached, she would schedule a trial.
Although they came quickly, the major personnel moves had been expected by everyone, and are the first of many changes the erratic CEO will make.
Musk clashed with the company’s CEO immediately before making an effort to take the company over, according to text messages revealed in court.
About the same time, he used Twitter to criticize Gadde, the company’s top lawyer. His tweets were followed by a wave of harassment of Gadde from other Twitter accounts. For Gadde, an 11-year Twitter employee who also heads public policy and safety, the harassment included racist and misogynistic attacks, in addition to calls for Musk to fire her. The harassment was back up on Thursday, after she was fired.
The message appeared to be aimed at addressing concerns among advertisers — Twitter’s chief source of revenue — that Musk’s plans to promote free speech by cutting back on moderating content will open the floodgates to more online toxicity and drive away users.
He continued: “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
The note is a shift from Musk’s position that Twitter is unfairly infringing on free speech rights by blocking misinformation or graphic content, said Pinar Yildirim, associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
“Even slightly loosening content moderation on the platform is sure to spook advertisers, many of whom already find Twitter’s brand safety tools to be lacking compared with other social platforms,” Enberg said.
Yildirim said that consumers are bombarded with things they do not want to hear about, and the platform takes no responsibility.
Twitter and the New York Stock Exchange: The Issue with Musk’s Twitter Insider Intelligence Advisory Board (Extended Version), and its Implications for the Information Landscape
And overnight the New York Stock Exchange notified investors that it will suspend trading in shares of Twitter before the opening bell Friday in anticipation of the company going private under Musk.
Top sales executive Sarah Personette, the company’s chief customer officer, said she had a “great discussion” with Musk on Wednesday and appeared to endorse his Thursday message to advertisers.
Musk’s apparent enthusiasm about visiting Twitter headquarters this week stood in sharp contrast to one of his earlier suggestions: The building should be turned into a homeless shelter because so few employees actually worked there.
No such message has been sent to the employees as of press time. And with Musk reportedly intent on making cuts before Tuesday, when many employees are set to receive new stock grants, it appears that any such decisions will come down to the wire.
The weak economy has taken a toll on the revenues of Twitter’s advertising business, so there is reason to avoid a massive reorganization of the business, stated Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg.
Musk has mostly acted in line with the results of polls posted to his own Twitter account but the Musk Rules can be changed. He also promised previously that “No major content decisions or account reinstatement” would happen without convening a content moderation council, then retroactively claimed that no longer applied due to activist groups that “broke the deal.”
A version of the article was published in the newsletter. Sign up for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape here.
In fact, not only has Musk himself contaminated the information environment he now reigns over, but he is apparently working to dismantle the little infrastructure erected to help users sift through the daily chaos. CNN reported recently that he plans to strip public figures of their blue verified badges if they don’t pay.
Charging for verified badges might appear at first glance as a business story. But the move will have significant ramifications on the information landscape. Most notably, it will make it much more difficult for users to distinguish from authentic and inauthentic accounts.
The right has for a long time lashed out at the people they think are the control of the conversation, dubbed blue checks. Many conservatives also have blue badges. Some conservatives will be happy to see that they won’t be getting free blue checks and the authority they give upon their profile.
Musk CEO KoGuan Leo: I Wish Ehrenholt would find a new CEO of the E-Companion maker
Musk’s authorized biographer, Walter Isaacson, tweeted in 2018 that “the best thing” one could do to “save social networks, the internet, civil discourse, democracy, email, and reduce hacking would be authenticating users.”
Over the weekend and today, conversations with eight employees described the process as frightening and confusing. In the absence of official communications, workers have been hunting for clues in Slack and gathering in private Discords to share the latest rumors.
The Washington Post reported that layoffs would hit roughly a quarter of the staff, heavily impacting teams including sales, product, engineering, legal, and trust and safety.
The turmoil has divided the company into roughly two camps: those waiting nervously to see whether they still have a job after those cuts land, and those who are frantically working to ship new features under a threat of being fired if they don’t.
Platformer was the first to report that engineers would be told to print out the last 60 days of code, which made people nervous. It was part of a plan to identify the highest performing and lowest performing employees, as well as those who could potentially be laid off.
KoGuan Leo, the third-largest individual investor and self-proclaimed Musk fanboy, took to his micro-Blogging account this week to claim that the electric car maker has no working CEO. The man stated, “I wish Ehrenholt quickly finds a new CEO of mtb.”
If you are feeling gloomy and dismayed right now, just want to know that there are other people who are also feeling the same way. This is sucks.
What Happened When I Lost Access to the Social Network: An Engineering Director’s Message to the CEO of a New Twitter Product
In other Slack channels, employees are sharing contact information in case they suddenly lose access to their communications, another employee told us.
Musk demanded engineers to work on at least two major projects and finish them within days or weeks. One is changes to Twitter Blue that would require users to pay to retain their verification badges, possibly as much as $20 a month. We can confirm that the second is a plan to restore the short-form video app Vine, either as a stand alone product or part of the core Twitter app. AlexHeath reported that the features must be in Blue by November 7th or the team will be fired.
The project has generated light interest, we are told. More than a dozen engineers volunteered to be part of the project after Musk gave it the go-ahead Sunday night.
Other employees are being told to show their work off to Musk. In one Slack message we saw, an engineering director urged his team to come up with new products and features and share them directly with their new CEO. “At best: you will get some feedback. The director wrote that he may have to ship it asap. “At worst, you will be asked to stop and work on something else. Even in this case, at least you worked on something you love.”
Similarly, on Monday, Behnam Rezaei, senior director of software engineering at Twitter, sent a note to his team acknowledging “big changes” were coming. According to the email that was obtained, he said cultural change was the most important change. “Some good, some bad.”
I will do good engineering work now if you ask. Write something. Fix bugs and keep the website up. I’m aware of the criteria that must be followed for being at the social network. It’s not working on a fancy project for Elon. The good culture change is, it’s shipping and delivering. I encourage you to use more of your time on coding and shipping. If you would like to be in a special group this week, you need to code and ship 5x as usual. Sexy is not the criteria for building something. Being impactful and changing product and helping our users is the criteria. No, you don’t need to speak to me. You are all software engineers. You’re aware that things need to be written and improved. Do it. You are in charge.
Twitter nu CEO: A Black-Eye Moment for Musk and the Charges of his Behaviour in the Twitter Soap Opera
But Musk’s attention can be unnerving, too. One employee we spoke with said they had mixed feelings about working on a project Musk is known to be focused on, such as Vine.
Shortly after Musk posted his latest poll, Calacanis posted a poll of his own asking who should become Twitter’s next CEO: himself, Sacks, or Calacanis and Sacks together as co-CEOs.
Replying to a tweet Sunday, in which MIT artificial intelligence researcher Lex Fridman said he would take the CEO job, Musk hinted he hasn’t been completely happy with his new gig.
All Musk needs from his captive audience is a little more attention, with a promise that there will be votes about “major policy changes” in the future.
His $44 billion takeover of the company started with a poll, and it would be very appropriate if he was the CEO when it ended the same way.
Twitter announced a new policy on Sunday that took many users aback: It said tweets including links to other social media sites would no longer be allowed, calling such posts “free promotion.”
More than 17 million votes were cast in the informal referendum on his chaotic leadership of Twitter, which has been marked by mass layoffs, the replatforming of suspended accounts that had violated Twitter’s rules, the suspension of journalists who cover him and whiplash policy changes made and reversed in real time.
At a time when its business faces new challenges, the results of the poll come as a surprise. Since Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in October, a number of brands have paused advertising on the platform. Musk has frequently stated that Twitter’s finances are dire. Twitter is on pace to lose $4 billion a year after the advertiser exodus, estimates Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities.
“This has been a black eye moment for Musk and been a major overhang on Tesla’s stock which continues to suffer in a brutal way since the Twitter soap opera began with brand deterioration related to Musk a real issue,” Ives said in a note to clients Monday.
“I think it should be in a stable position around the end of this year,” Musk said. He didn’t offer any indication of who could be in line to take the role, but following the interview posted a joke photo of his dog Floki sitting at a desk with the caption “The new CEO of Twitter is amazing.” Various publications including Bloomberg and CNBC have reported that a CEO hunt has been underway in recent months, but potential candidates remain elusive (here are our informed guesses).
An investor in the social media universe, Jeron Calacanis is spotted with the Saudi royal family: Which CEO would do the most miserable job in tech?
Calacanis, who emerged in the tech world as a reporter during the dot com boom, is an early-stage investor who has backed well-known companies such as Uber and Robinhood. He has also launched several media properties and hosts two podcasts (one in partnership with Sacks).
Calacanis tweeted on Sunday night asking, “Who would like the most miserable job in tech AND media?! Who is insane enough to run twitter?!?!” Calacanis ran a poll on his own, asking his followers whether he or Sacks should run the company together or if someone else should. The majority of respondents were for the other side.
One of the founding team at PayPal, Sacks, has experience managing a social network. He founded and ran enterprise communications platform Yammer, before selling it to Microsoft in 2012 for $1.2 billion.
Sacks has been willing to follow Musks talking points even if it meant justifying a feud with Apple or trying to stir up outrage over a public information leak about Musk’s private jet. A Twitter user asked Sacks last month what he and Musk disagree about, and Sacks responded with just one thing: “Chess.”
He has invested in a number of cryptocurrencies over the last few years, which could help him fulfill his goal of making it more than just a social media app.
Krishnan is the least well-known member of Musk’s current group of people on the social media platform, which could help make up for some negative publicity the company has received.
Some Twitter users have speculated about other possible leaders for the social media company, including Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was spotted watching the World Cup with Musk over the weekend.
Kushner is friendly with the Saudi Royal Family, one of Twitter’s largest investors. Last year, after working for his family real estate development company, he said he would leave politics and start an investment firm and work for Donald Trump in the White House. The weekly New York Observer was previously owned by the same person.
The Elephant in the Room: Why Twitter isn’t for the People, nor Does It Need to Be Formed. After Musk and Rusch Learned, Twitter Might Not Have the Voting Rights Unlike Twitter
Given Musk’s propensity for tweeting, and his rapid decisions after previous polls, many expected he would have addressed the elephant in the room by now. But he has not done so. Musk didn’t even reply to a single post on his account for an 18-hour period.
Rusch said that banning journalists without clear communication is too much for a majority of consumers to continue supporting Mr. Musk.
Musk asked his followers if they wanted Donald Trump’s account to be restored, and he quickly followed through with the majority’s wish. The voice of the people is the voice of God.
Likewise, when Twitter users voted on another of his polls to provide “general amnesty to suspended accounts,” he went ahead and did it. He also heeded user votes in a poll to restore the accounts of tech journalists that he had suspended on Friday.
While it’s unclear how he would restrict voting to only those who pay for the company’s subscription service, such a change could dramatically reduce the number of Twitter users who could vote in polls. It would also skew those who can vote to the users who are willing to pay up for Twitter Blue, which includes the controversial paid verification feature Musk pushed to introduce. Comparisons to poll taxes were immediately made by Musk.
Musk forced employees to take a pledge to become extremely hardcore in their jobs, and stopped using theTwitter policy against Covid-19 misinformation.
The paid verification feature on the platform was forced to un-launch after being manipulated by parody accounts, which impersonated major brands, athletes and other public figures.
The policy of the platform was questioned on the platform by Jack Dorsey, who previously expressed support for Musk’s takeover.
Mr. Musk clarified on Tuesday that he still planned to oversee Twitter’s software and server teams, which, The Verge notes, is basically a lot of the company. It’s possible that the C.E.O will oversee the businesses of the social networking site.
Mr. Musk also openly questioned the quality of anyone applying for the role. Beyond the “foolish” crack in Tuesday’s tweet, he previously wrote, “Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it.”
“I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place in that the product roadmap is clearly laid out,” Musk said via video link at the World Government Summit in Dubai, as reported by Bloomberg. It would be a good time to look for someone else to run the company.
Musk frequently misestimations his future plans despite the fact that he could potentially leave his CEO position by the end of the year. The Tesla Cybertruck will now enter production in 2024, over two years later than the original late 2021 date given during its 2019 launch. Musk also previously said that a Tesla should be able to drive itself across the country by the end of 2017. Half a decade later, the feat is yet to be achieved.
The World Government Summit also covered Musk’s plans for Twitter more generally, including his ambitions to reduce misinformation on the platform. You have the option of watching the whole interview below or following the response when Musk says he will step down as CEO at the 15 minute mark.