Elon Musk begins to change Twitter as new owner

Less than 24 hours later completing its acquisition of Twitter for $44 billionElon Musk has decided to change his homepage.

He requested that logged out users visiting Twitter.com being redirected to the Explore page which displays trending tweets and news, according to employees familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission. Previously, visiting the Twitter homepage while offline only showed a sign-up form, encouraging the creation of an account to view tweets. Musk’s directive, which was implemented Friday night, required the vice president’s involvement to undo a code freeze put in place to prevent rogue employees from making changes during the takeover process.

Although Musk didn’t broadly explain the reason for the change, for employees who watched him, the message was clear: no more holy cows. Inside the old Twitter, such a decision would have been disputed between the teams for weeks. But this was the new Twitter. As one former senior executive told me, “It’s definitely a way to make it clear that you’re in charge now.”

“It’s definitely a way to make it clear that you’re in charge now”

Changing Twitter’s homepage is an example of how Musk, less than three days after his reign as “Chief Twit”, began to rapidly change the company from the inside. Even as it prepares to lay off a significant portion of employees in the coming days, it has accelerated changes on Twitter itself, such as ordering that its paid subscription feature, Super Follows, be renamed “Followings” in a rushed update. to the Twitter mobile application. He also discussed using Starlink, his satellite internet service at SpaceX, to make Twitter available in countries where it is currently difficult to access.

Employees tasked with carrying out Musk’s duties worked late into the night and on weekends while their managers compiled lists of team members to be fired. When Musk fired ex-CEO Parag Agrawal and other top executives last week, he did it “for cause” in an effort to avoid paying the tens of millions in stock they would otherwise receive, said a person familiar with the situation. Now, employees fear the layoffs will begin before Nov. 1, when a significant percentage of them are expected to receive stock awards paid in cash at $54.20 per share. (information reported for the first time that Musk fired Twitter executives for cause.)

Meanwhile, Musk relies on those around him to help him better understand what he just bought. He was locked in an isolated area of ​​Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters with a fleet of Teslas parked outside and new security guards guarding the entrance. Dozens of people from his family office, other businesses and social circles have been added to Twitter’s employee directory and given corporate email addresses, according to employees and internal correspondence seen by The edge.

They include Alex Spiro, Musk’s personal attorney who acts as Twitter’s de facto general counsel; Andrew Musk, his relative who works for his brain interface startup Neuralink; Jehn Balajadia, COO of The Boring Company; David Sacks, an influential political donor and member of the “PayPal Mafia”; Jason Calacanis, a VC and longtime friend of Musk; and Sriram Krishnan, former Twitter product manager and current VC at Andreessen Horowitz, who is also friends with Musk. (The New York Times first reported that some of these people were meeting with Twitter employees.)

Kayvon Beykpour, the former Twitter product manager who was dismissed by Agrawal in May, was also seen in the office last Friday, sparking rumors that he may return. Complicating this idea is the fact that Twitter’s current chief product officer, Jay Sullivan, is still with the company.

“Twitter will be laser-focused on identity and security in the coming weeks”

Saturday, Calacanis, who co-hosts the popular All-in podcast that Musk was the guest of earlier this year, tweeted that he had met with Yoel Roth, Twitter’s chief security officer, and “was impressed with his dedication and perspective on security matters.” The tweet quoted a Roth’s thread detailing how the company banned accounts involved in a “trolling campaign” of tweeting racial slurs. “Twitter will be focused on identity and safety in the weeks ahead,” Calacanis continued in another tweet.

Musk’s first task was to figure out who he wanted to keep in Twitter’s engineering organization. On Friday, engineers were asked to print out their recent code contributions from the past 30 to 60 days and bring them for review by engineers at Musk and Tesla. They were then quickly told to shred their printouts and show the code on their computers instead, because first reported by Platform Casey Newton. Some engineers were glued to a Twitter account which tracks the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet, expecting him and Tesla engineers to visit the company’s New York office on Monday to continue code reviews.

Officials were told that the purpose of the reviews was for Musk to see who can work at the speed and efficiency he demands, and that he wants to weed out engineering leads who don’t regularly write reviews. coded. “Software managers have to write great software or it’s like being a cavalry captain who can’t ride a horse!” he tweeted in May.

Twitter’s communications department, which has stopped responding to press inquiries since Musk’s takeover, did not respond to a request for comment on the story.

Do you know more about what’s going on inside Twitter? If so, I would like to discuss confidentially. You can reach me by e-mail: alex.heath@theverge.com or via the contact form on my Linktree. Next, we can configure a secure thread on Signal.

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