Elon Musk has ended remote working for Twitter staff and told them to prepare for ‘difficult times ahead’ in his first email to employees since taking over.
The email, sent late last night, said there was ‘no way to sugarcoat’ the economic outlook.
According to Bloomberg, he said that it will affect an advertising-dependent company like Twitter.
Also in the email, he outlawed remote work, expecting workers in the office for at least 40 hours a week.
The hours are subject to conditions approved by him as the new head of Twitter.
He said: ‘The road ahead is arduous and will require intense work to succeed.’
Policies mentioned in last night’s email are effective immediately. It is the latest warning to workers, days after he sacked almost half of the workforce.
The email, sent late last night, said there was ‘no way to sugarcoat’ the economic outlook. According to Bloomberg, he said that it will affect an advertising-dependent company like Twitter. Pictured: Musk at Twitter HQ
Also in the email, he outlawed remote work, expecting workers in the office for at least 40 hours a week. Pictured: Musk at Twitter
The email is the latest announcement amid a raft of changes under his leadership at Twitter since he became head almost two weeks ago. He last night tweeted: ‘Please note that Twitter will do lots of dumb things in coming months. We will keep what works and change what doesn’t’
Musk’s removal of remote work comes after Twitter established a permanent arrangement with staff members to allow them to work from anywhere.
The new Twitter head is against remote work and is only granting exemptions individually, on a case by case basis.
Billionaire Musk has also taken away ‘days of rest’ from Twitter staff calendars.
This was a monthly, companywide day off that was introduced during the pandemic period.
It comes amid a raft of changes under his leadership at Twitter since he became head almost two weeks ago.
He has sacked nearly half of Twitter’s workforce. Musk has also attached user verification to Twitter Blue and increased the price to $8 a month.
The new boss wants subscriptions to count for half of Twitter’s revenue, according to the email.
He is also working on finding and suspending any verified bots, trolls and spam over the next few days, according to a separate email.
The new Twitter head is against remote work and is only granting exemptions individually, on a case by case basis
It comes weeks after the social media site limited some content moderation tools, days before the midterms in America.
The limiting of content moderation tools likely hampered staff’s ability to stop misinformation, as they were not be able to manually change or punish accounts.
The change came after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member.
Those working in Twitter’s Trust and Safety organization were unable to alter or punish accounts breaking the platform’s rules on misleading information, offensive posts and hate speech.
According to insiders on the matter, they could only penalize people making posts that violate Twitter rules to the extent of real-world harm, according to Bloomberg.
They added that the team were manually enforcing those posts.
At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy (file image)
At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy.
Policy breaches can be detected automatically or flagged by other Twitter users.
However, only Twitter employees can remove or suspend accounts by using the dashboard.
It is alleged that this restriction was put in place as Twitter transitioned to Musk ownership in a bid to stop changes to the app being asked for by employees.
Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees dropped from in the hundreds to just 15.
Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees has dropped from in the hundreds to just 15
Fears grew that it would be harder to apply Twitter policies and filter out misinformation as the US crept ever closer to the midterms on November 8.
Employees on the team have to enforce misinformation and civic integrity policies. These rules were routinely violated by former President Trump in the run up to the 2020 elections and afterward, according to Twitter.
It comes after misinformation messaging on the site during the Brazil presidential election, which finished yesterday and saw left-wing Lula voted back in.
The team had limited access to the internal tools for moderation. Twitter uses automated enforcement technology and third-party contractors.
But high level violations are usually reviewed by those working for Twitter, according to insiders.
What are Twitter’s options when posts violate the rules?
Tweet-level enforcement including:
Labeling a tweet that may include disputed or misleading information
Limiting tweet visibility
Requiring tweet removal
Hiding a violating tweet while awaiting its removal
Direct message level enforcement:
Stopping conversations between a reported violator and the reporter’s account
Placing a direct message behind a notice
Account level enforcement:
Requiring media or profile edits
Placing an account in read-only mode
Verifying account ownership
Dailymail.com has contacted Twitter for comment.
Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity, tweeted about the story: ‘This is exactly what we (or any company) should be doing in the midst of a corporate transition to reduce opportunities for insider risk. We’re still enforcing our Twitter rules at scale.’
It comes in the days since billionaire Musk finalized his deal to privatize the social media platform.
Twitter staff were concerned about other potential changes to the platform, including rolling back data access for researchers and academics and dealing with foreign influence operations.
Musk’s takeover came as there was a spike in hate speech on Twitter. Data from Dataminr revealed that there was a 1,700 percent spike in usage of racial slurs.
It was the equivalent to 215 times every five minutes at its peak and occurred during a period when the Trust team had no access to enforce moderation policies.
In direct response to the slurs, Roth tweeted about the issue.
He said that ‘very few people’ see the content on Twitter and added: ‘We’ve made measurable progress, removing more than 1500 accounts and reducing impressions on this content to nearly zero,’
It was described as a ‘focused, short-term trolling campaign’ by Roth.
Although Musk has said that he has made no changes to content moderation policies, he has said he thinks rules on Twitter are restrictive.
And he described himself as a free-speech absolutist, reportedly questioning policies while speaking to staff.
Musk is set to review the general misinformation policy in place at Twitter.
Twitter’s policy penalizes posts including falsehoods about topics such as election outcomes and Covid.
In direct response to the racial slurs which spiked in number over the weekend on the platform, Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity, pictured, tweeted about the issue. He said that ‘very few people’ see the content on Twitter
According to insiders, Musk wants a more specific policy on misinformation.
The billionaire is also seeking a review of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy.
It is reported that he has asked the team to look into the section on ‘targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.’
But it has not yet been revealed if the policies will be rewritten or restrictions entirely removed under Musk’s request.
It comes after it was revealed that Musk was considering charging a $20 fee for verification per month
The new Twitter CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the social media platform’s engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter’s verification system within a fortnight or face the sack
It comes after it was revealed that Musk was considering charging a $20 fee for verification per month.
He had tweeted: ‘The whole verification process is being revamped right now.’
The new Twitter CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the social media platform’s engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter’s verification system in less than a fortnight or face the sack.
Platformer’s Casey Newton reported that Twitter was leaning towards asking for verified users to pay for the privilege.
Elon Musk tells Stephen King $20-a-month blue tick charge is the ‘only way to defeat bots and trolls’ but hints he may slash fee to $8 after The Shining author said ‘f**k that – they should pay me’
Twitter chief executive Elon Musk hinted he might lower the $20 per month blue tick verification fee during an exchange with horror writer Stephen King, where he offered him a discount.
The billionaire is looking to make good on his promise to make the social media platform turn a profit by introducing a charge for Twitter users wanting to keep their verification badge.
But in a sign that the price might not be a done deal, Musk responded to a tweet from the writer complaining about the new charge.
‘$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me,’ wrote King, author of The Shinning who has 6.9million followers. ‘If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.’
But Musk, noticing the author’s complaints, seemed to be in the mood to haggle.
‘We need to pay the bills somehow! Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?’ he replied.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the discount would apply only to King or to the wider Twitter user base as well, but the comments suggested the $20 figure was not exactly set in stone.
Musk went on to say that he will ‘explain the rationale in longer form’ before the charge is implemented, but added that it is ‘the only way to defeat the bots & trolls’.
When users replied to say King could more than afford the fee, he replied: ‘It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.’
The author, who has previously said he ‘admires Elon Musk’, hasn’t yet responded to the chief executive directly.
This is a breaking news story. More to follow…