By Lora Kolodny
New Twitter CEO and sole director Elon Musk sent a companywide email to remaining employees of the social media business on Wednesday, demanding they commit to working “long hours at high intensity” or receive “three months of severance,” if they did not consent to these conditions, or support his vision for “Twitter 2.0.”
The companywide ultimatum, sent around midnight in San Francisco time and shared with CNBC, comes after Musk has already fired key Twitter executives, laid off half of Twitter’s full-time employees, and slashed the number of contractors working with the company without notice. This week, he also fired veteran engineers at Twitter after they criticized him in public, or in the company’s internal Slack channels.
Since Musk took over on Oct. 28, he has announced sweeping changes planned for Twitter. One change that he insisted the company roll out quickly, called Twitter Blue verification, had to be rescinded, however.
The $7.99/month Blue subscription service allowed people to pay for a blue check mark that looked like the mark previously reserved to show an account was verified or official.
A deluge of impersonators bought the paid subscriber checkmarks to pose as legitimate celebrities, brands and politicians, and in some cases, they posted false information about companies.
For example, accounts impersonated the multinational drug company Eli Lilly. One impersonator caused a serious problem when they tweeted, “we are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The tweet remained on the social media platform for hours before it was taken down. The real Eli Lilly account later tweeted: “We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account.”
Eli Lilly’s stock price dropped sharply after the false message was posted, and the company has decided to suspend advertising on Twitter indefinitely.
Musk now plans a revised Twitter Blue Verified release on Nov. 29th.
Here’s the full email that Elon Musk sent to Twitter employees on Wednesday (transcribed by CNBC):
From: Elon Musk
To: Team [at Twitter]
Subj. A Fork in the Road
Date: Nov. 16, 2022 [time stamp removed]
Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.
Twitter will also be much more engineering-driven. Design and product management will still be very important and report to me, but those writing great code will constitute the majority of our team and have the greatest sway.
At its heart, Twitter is a software and servers company, so l think this makes sense.
If you are sure that you want to be part of the new Twitter, please click yes on the link below:
Anyone who has not done so by 5pm ET tomorrow (Thursday) will receive three months of severance.
Whatever decision you make, thank you for your efforts to make Twitter successful.