Seriously, every day Elon is throwing out new ideas for what’s coming next at Twitter, some of which probably will eventuate, and others that’ll get lost in the shuffle. And there’s certainly a lot of shuffling going on at Twitter HQ.
Here’s the Elon Musk/Twitter update for today:
More Job Cuts
Over the weekend, Musk’s transition team reportedly cut 4,400 of the company’s 5,500 contract staff.
Twitter users local contractors for various tasks, including content moderation and site management, but these are not employees, as such, so they were not included in the original staff cull, which saw Musk cut half of Twitter’s employees last week (before asking some of them to come back).
According to reports, many of these contractors were not told that their contracts would be canceled, they found out after finding that their access to Twitter’s systems had been shut off.
The impacts that these latest cuts will have isn’t clear, but it seems as though Twitter’s moderation, and even day-to-day upkeep, could start to deteriorate as a result.
Musk has been up-front about the need to cut costs, with Twitter, apparently, losing $4 million a day when he initially took over at the app. Job cuts will certainly address this, at least in part, but you would have to also expect that losing so many staff and contractors (now up to around 8k roles in total) will have to have some impact on the service.
If things start falling apart in the next few weeks, this could be why.
In summary, staff relations at Twitter are seemingly not going great at the moment.
As has been well documented, Elon’s $8 checkmark program has, this far, been pretty messy, leading to a range of impersonations, misrepresentations, and potentially defamation, amid confusion over the new blue ticks, and what they actually mean.
The ensuing chaos has even leading to major stock impacts for some big-name companies.
As a result, Twitter's now taken a step back, with the new program removed from live deployment late last week. Musk has admitted that it ‘needs some tweaks’, but he does expect the $8 checkmarks to be made available again by the end of this week.
Though likely with one significant update:
Rolling out soon, Twitter will enable organizations to identify which other Twitter accounts are actually associated with them— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 13, 2022
So the new process, which is seemingly designed to address the aforementioned issues with impersonation, will enable Twitter to provide an official linkage between, say, a media organization and their actual staff in the app, with maybe a new variation of the ‘official’ gray tick, that will be displayed in addition to the blue checkmark.
How exactly that will work isn’t clear, but the idea is that this will provide more granularity to verification – so the blue checkmark is not viewed as a signal of authority, as such, but as a marker of verified identity in association with a brand.
In other words, imposters won’t so easily be able to dupe people with parody accounts, because they won’t have this extra seal of approval - whatever it may be - which would confirm that this is a representative of said organization.
Which makes some sense, but probably just sticking with the original blue tick system, and reviewing the guidelines for that, would have been easier.
But then, I guess, you wouldn’t be able to charge $8 to bring in some quick cash – and for context, 140,000 people reportedly signed up to the new $8 checkmark program in the days that it was available last week.
We’ll no doubt hear more about the next iteration of Twitter verification soon.
Twitter x LinkedIn
This is a more left-field option, but Elon Musk also says that people will soon be able to list their employment and education history on Twitter, expanding Twitter search into a whole new element.
Musk noted this in response to a user question about employment history and resumes, which Musk said would be ‘coming soon’ to the app.
That could add more credibility, or not, to what a user is saying. For example, if somebody’s commenting on climate change, and you check their Twitter resume and find that they have no history of climate research experience, maybe that lessens the value of their input.
Or maybe they just make it up. I don’t know, but it looks like Musk is trying to branch out into new areas, which may be aligned with his broader view of identity verification. Or it could be another opportunity to make money via job listings in the app.
Those are the big notes from Musk’s various comments and updates over the weekend, aside from his ongoing provocation of conflict between ‘the people’ and the ‘media elite’.
As Twitter pursues the goal of elevating citizen journalism, media elite will try everything to stop that from happening— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 11, 2022
I’m not exactly sure where this stems from, as the negative coverage around Musk’s Twitter takeover thus far has related to staff cuts, and the way in which they were handled, verification changes, and the rushed nature of the new $8 checkmark program, and problems at the app, which Musk himself said just last week could go bankrupt at some stage.
It seems like those issues have all been reported pretty accurately, even if they’re not flattering to Musk. But maybe I’m missing something – or maybe, Musk just benefits from inciting class warfare that pits his supporters against his perceived enemies.