Timeline: Elon Musk’s turbulent Twitter reign


lon Musk has said he will abide by a Twitter poll that has seen users vote for him to step down as the head of the social media platform.

It comes only two months after the billionaire completed his takeover of the site, but it has been one of the most controversial periods in the company’s history.

Here is a look back at Mr Musk’s tenure so far.

– October 27: Mr Musk tweets a video of himself walking into Twitter HQ carrying a sink with the caption “let that sink in” as he takes control of the company after a protracted and often tense takeover process. Then, in his first act as owner, Mr Musk sacks several top executives.

– November 4: Twitter begins laying off more than half its global workforce by sending out blanket emails to staff as part of what the company calls necessary cost-cutting – legal action from staff around the world follows claiming breaches of employment law.

– November 9: After Mr Musk promised an overhaul of verification on the site, Twitter starts adding grey “Official” badges to prominent accounts, only for these to then disappear hours later.

– November 10: Twitter Blue, the updated paid-for subscription which allows anyone to buy a blue tick verified badge for their account, starts rolling out in select countries.

– November 11: Twitter Blue’s rollout is paused after a number of incidents of impersonation, with bad actors posing as verified public figures and tweeting offensive and inappropriate content. Mr Musk later says it will return once improvements have been made.

– November 16: In an email to the company’s remaining staff, the billionaire tells workers they must agree to be more “hardcore” and work longer, more intense hours in order to build “Twitter 2.0”. Mr Musk says staff who do not agree to this ultimatum will be let go.

– November 18: More Twitter staff flee the company as the “hardcore” work deadline passes and the company temporarily closes its offices around the world as concerns surface about the site’s ability to stay online amid the exodus.

– November 20: The Twitter boss reinstates the account of former US president Donald Trump after asking Twitter users to vote on the issue. Mr Trump had been banned since a pro-Trump mob attacked the US Capitol on January 6 2021 as Congress was poised to certify Joe Biden’s election victory.

– November 24: Mr Musk says he is granting an “amnesty” to other previously suspended accounts after hosting a Twitter poll on the issue, allowing them to return to the site, something online safety experts say would lead to new waves of abuse and harassment on the platform.

– November 29: It is discovered that Twitter has quietly ended the enforcement of its rules which prevented the spread of misinformation around Covid-19 and vaccines.

– November 30: Amid rising concerns around Twitter’s content moderation approach, EU officials warn Mr Musk that Twitter must comply with its new online safety rules or face being banned.

– December 1: Mr Musk says he has “resolved” a “misunderstanding” with Apple after he had claimed the iPhone maker was threatening to remove Twitter from its App Store. He had also criticised the company’s app store fees and accused the company of hating free speech.

– December 2: Kanye West, who had been reinstated to Twitter as part of Mr Musk’s amnesty, is suspended again for posting antisemitic content.

– December 9: Elton John says he is leaving Twitter over concerns about misinformation being allowed to flourish under Mr Musk’s free speech rules.

– December 12: Twitter Blue relaunches with a higher monthly price for iPhone users as Mr Musk looks to offset Apple’s App Store developer fees. The grey “Official” badges also make another return.

– December 13: Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, an advisory group of nearly 100 independent civil, human rights and other organisations that helps the firm combat harmful content on the site, is dissolved.

– December 16: Twitter suspends the accounts of a number of journalists who had written about Mr Musk and his banning of an account that used publicly available information to track the flights made by his private jet.

– December 18: The site says it will no longer allow links to certain other social media platforms to be posted – including Facebook and Instagram, as well as possible rivals such as Mastodon. However, tweets about the new policy and a webpage linked to it are later deleted and Mr Musk apologises.

– December 19: Mr Musk says he will abide by a new poll in which he asks if he should step down as the head of Twitter. He warns users that they should be be careful what they wish for. That poll saw 57.5% of people say he should leave his role, with more than 17.5 million votes cast.

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