Elon Musk is set to slash Twitter jobs and raise fees, but at least he’s having fun
Elon Musk plans to start charging $19.99 for the new Twitter Blue subscription, raising the price from $4.99. What other changes can we expect?
Less than a week after dropping $44 billion and beginning his reign as the self-described “Chief Twit” of social media giant Twitter, Elon Musk’s early moves, at least the ones we know about, are signaling plans that include mass layoffs and higher fees for premium user services. But so far the Tesla/SpaceX CEO and world’s richest man is delaying any implementation of his oft-promised changes when it comes to easing Twitter’s content moderation policies.
While there remain more questions than answers about potential Twitter course changes, Musk is tweeting quips and jabs aplenty.
And, as observers monitor for signs of revamps while Musk and his team of newly imported executives set up shop at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, Musk took to his new property on Sunday to tweet a link to an ugly, and inaccurate, news report about the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in their San Francisco home.
Who is Alex Spiro and why should you care?
At one point in the lead-up to finally closing the blockbuster Twitter deal last week, Musk had told potential investors he planned to cut the platform’s 7,000 or so employees by 75% once he took control of the company.
He has since retreated from that statement, but Musk’s inner circle met with some of the remaining Twitter executives (CEO Parag Agrawal and a handful of others were terminated almost immediately after the deal closed) to finalize a plan to cut staff roles by 25%, according to The Washington Post.
Chief among those Musk insiders is 39-year-old trial attorney Alex Spiro, who’s earned a national reputation thanks to successfully representing a slew of well-known clients including Jay-Z, Kendall Jenner and Naomi Osaka. Spiro has been doing legal work for Musk for a few years and was part of the team that would have represented Musk in the lawsuit Twitter filed against him before the deal came together.
Spiro, according to the Post, is taking an active role in managing several teams at Twitter, including legal, government relations, policy and marketing, according to four people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them, as well as tweets from some of the people involved.
A Monday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also indicated Musk had dissolved Twitter’s board, leaving himself as sole director of the company.
Twitter will charge more for premium content, and the blue check
About a year ago, Twitter launched its Twitter Blue premium service that, for $4.99 month, offered perks like “undo tweet” and access to some content without the annoyance of paid ads.
According to a report this weekend by tech news website The Verge, Musk and has team have issued a directive to modify Twitter Blue into a more expensive subscription that also verifies users.
The plan is to start charging $19.99 for the new Twitter Blue subscription and, according to The Verge, verified users would then be given 90 days to subscribe or lose their blue checkmark. And, just to keep things moving along, Twitter employees working on the project were told on Sunday that they need to meet a deadline of Nov. 7 to launch the feature or they will be fired, per The Verge.
Elon Musk tweets, then deletes, link to fake news about Paul Pelosi
On Sunday, Musk tweeted a link to an article posted by fringe news outlet the Santa Monica Observer that recycled a baseless claim that the personal life of Paul Pelosi, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, somehow played a role in an intruder’s attack last week in the couple’s San Francisco home, even though there is no evidence to support that claim, per The Associated Press.
Musk later deleted the tweet, which was posted in response to a tweet from Hilary Clinton that had criticized Republicans for generally spreading “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” and said, “It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result.”
In response to Clinton’s tweet, Musk provided a link to the Santa Monica Observer article and added, “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.”
In the meantime, Elon Musk is still having fun with his new Twitter toy
As speculation continues to swirl around Musk and how he intends to mold Twitter, and by default the habits of its 240 million or so daily users, into a more perfect reflection of his vision for the platform, the world’s richest human continues to find plenty of lighter fodder for his frequent postings:
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if Trump is coming back on this platform, Twitter would be minting money!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2022