The world’s richest man has marked a month since taking the helm at Twitter.
After spending months embroiled in an unsuccessful legal battle to get out of his initial proposal to buy Twitter, Musk made his first splashy entrance into the company’s offices on October 26, carrying a sink. In a video of the incident shared on Twitter, he wrote: “Entering Twitter HQ — let that sink in!”

Since then, the billionaire has seemingly left no stone unturned during his whirlwind first month as “Chief Twit”.

Here is a look at the range of ways Musk (who is still, simultaneously, CEO of his other companies Tesla and SpaceX) has already left his mark on one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

Musk clears out C-suite, then cuts approximately half of Twitter’s staff

Almost immediately after Musk completed his drama-plagued $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, he fired former CEO Parag Agrawal and other executives. He then made himself the CEO and sole director of the platform, per a securities filing.
The dramatic leadership shakeup, however, was only the first taste of the major staffing overhaul to come. Musk began wide-ranging layoffs across the company, reducing its overall headcount by roughly 50 per cent in the span of a couple of days.

On the eve of November 3 and into November 4 (US time), numerous now-former Twitter employees began posting on the platform that they had been locked out of their company email accounts as the job cuts began to play out in a very dramatic, public manner.

The layoffs impacted departments including ethical AI, marketing and communication, search, public policy, and more. As the workers said goodbye to their colleagues online (many sharing blue hearts and salute emojis to signal they had lost their jobs at Twitter), Musk remained largely silent, at least on the job cuts.

FILE - Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition on March 9, 2020, in Washington. Twitter's new owner and Tesla CEO Musk has sold nearly $4 billion worth of Tesla shares, according to regulatory filings. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Musk publicly fired a software engineer who had survived the initial round of cuts, but who then questioned Musk on Twitter. (AP)

Musk gives ultimatum to remaining employees: Do ‘extremely hardcore’ work or leave

In a late-night internal email after the mass staff cuts, Musk asked Twitter’s remaining employees to commit to “extremely hardcore” work or else leave the company with severance pay.

“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 in the memo sent out on November 16.

“This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

In the memo, Musk goes on to outline how Twitter will be “much more engineering-driven” and then gives staff an ultimatum. “

If you are sure that you want to be part of the new Twitter, please click yes on the link below”, directing staff to what appears to be an online form.

Musk said any employee who had not done so by 5PM ET on the following day would receive three months’ severance.

Elon Musk has gutted the executive team at Twitter, and is planning mass layoffs at the company.
Elon Musk gutted the executive team at Twitter, before announcing mass layoffs. (AP)

Advertisers flee and Musk decries ‘massive drop in revenue’

Since Musk’s takeover, a handful of brands — ranging from General Mills to the North Face to the Volkswagen Group — confirmed a pause in advertising on the social network as civil society organisations raised new concern over the direction of the company under Musk.

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists,” he said in a tweet on November 4.

“Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.”

An ongoing saga over blue check marks kicks off

Another aspect of Twitter that Musk quickly upended is one of the platform’s most familiar features for its users: the verified blue check marks that had long been used to confirm the authenticity of government officials, journalists, and other public figures.

“Twitter’s current lords and peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshitt,” Musk tweeted on November 1.

“Power to the people! Blue for (US)$8/month.”

The update, as outlined on Apple’s App Store at the time, stated that users would now have to pay US$7.99 ($11.84) per month for the company’s Twitter Blue subscription to receive a check mark on the platform, “just like the celebrities, companies, and politicians you already follow”.

Chaos ensued. In one viral example, a fake account, which featured a newly purchased blue check mark, purporting to be pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly tweeted that a critical diabetes drug would now be free.

In the wake of the mayhem, Musk ultimately announced that it would delay the rollout of the subscription service until the end of the month.

“Punting relaunch of Blue Verified to November 29th to make sure that it is rock solid,” Musk tweeted on November 15.

Twitter restores some previously banned accounts, including Donald Trump’s

The move came shortly after Twitter restored the accounts of several other controversial, previously banned or suspended users, including conservative Canadian podcaster Jordan Peterson, right-leaning satire website Babylon Bee, comedian Kathy Griffin and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Ahead of restoring Trump’s Twitter account, Musk posted a poll asking the platform’s users if Trump should be reinstated — where a slim majority (51.8 per cent) voted in favour of it.

“The people have spoken. Trump will be reinstated,” Musk tweeted.

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei.” (Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”).

Trump has previously said he would remain on his own platform, Truth Social, instead of rejoining Twitter, and has yet to tweet since his account came back online.

But a change in his approach could hold major political implications as Trump has said he will seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

Donald Trump will be 78 on election day in 2024.
Trump has previously said he would remain on his own platform, Truth Social, instead of rejoining Twitter. (AP)

Musk goes onto to grant ‘amnesty’ to most previously banned accounts

After conducting yet another Twitter poll, Musk said on November 24 that he will begin restoring most previously banned accounts on Twitter starting next week. This would mark his most far-reaching move yet to undo the social media platform’s policy of permanently suspending users who repeatedly violated its rules.

The Thanksgiving Day announcement came after most respondents voted in favour of his poll over whether to offer “general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam”.

Once again, Musk tweeted that “the people have spoken”.

His recent decisions to reinstate previously banned accounts, based on the results of his polls on the platform, is notably at odds with how Musk previously said he would handle such choices.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be aboard for Blue Origin's first human space flight.

World’s richest people revealed

“No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” Musk added

It is not immediately clear if that council was ever created, convened, or involved in the decision-making behind bringing back Trump and formerly banned accounts.

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