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Elon Musk news - live: Musk dumps $4bn worth of shares in Tesla shares as personal wealth drops below $200bn

Musk has been criticised for urging “independent-minded voters” to back Republican candidates in this week’s midterm elections.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last month, told his 115m followers that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties”, and that voters should therefore limit a Democratic president by voting for a Republican Congress.

The move appeared to cause a price-drop in Tesla’s stock that caused Mr Musk’s net worth to drop below $200bn.

It is the latest episode in a week of chaos the San-Francisco-based social network, which reportedly may have to rehire some of the staff that it fired last week because it needs their expertise.

Mr Musk decided to lay off almost 50 per cent of Twitter staff, with the company’s employees alerted on their job status by email after barring their entrances to offices and cutting off their access to internal systems overnight.

Key Points

Elon Musk sells $4bn worth of Tesla shares after $44bn Twitter purchase

02:40 , Graeme Massie

The world’s richest person unloaded 19.5 million shares in Tesla worth $3.95m, according to filings with financial regulatory body the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a report.

Elon Musk sells $4bn worth of Tesla shares after $44bn Twitter purchase

Backlash against Elon Musk’s endorsement of Republicans

01:45 , Josh Marcus

Elon Musk has been slammed for telling “independent-minded voters” to turn out for Republican in the midterms.

On Monday morning, a day before the midterm elections on Tuesday, the Twitter owner tweeted that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic”.

“Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!” he added.

Twitter users were quick to criticise Mr Musk.

“I’m an independent, and I’m voting straight blue down the ticket this year… Republicans have gone insane!” William LeGate responded.

Read more from Gustaf Kilander’s full report.

‘Nonsense’: Musk slammed after telling voters to back GOP hours before Election Day

Gigi Hadid deactivates her Twitter page after Elon Musk takeover: ‘A cesspool of hate and bigotry’

00:45 , Josh Marcus

Gigi Hadid has deactivated her Twitter account and slammed the social media platform as “a cesspool of hate and bigotry” in an impassioned post.

The supermodel shared her thoughts about Twitter on her Instagram Story on Saturday. Her post comes amid the company going through many shake-ups since Tesla founder and billionaire Elon Musk took it over in recent weeks.

“I deactivated my Twitter account today. For a long time, but especially with its new leadership, it’s becoming more and more a cesspool of hate and bigotry, and it’s not a place I want to be a part of,” she wrote.

Jenna Amatulli has the full story.

Gigi Hadid deactivates her Twitter page after Elon Musk takeover: ‘Cesspool of hate’

Will Twitter-style layoffs become the ‘new standard’ in tech? One investor thinks so

Tuesday 8 November 2022 23:45 , Josh Marcus

Elon Musk shocked the tech world when he announced plans to lay off nearly 50 per cent of Twitter’s workforce.

Elon Musk will begin massive Twitter layoffs on Friday, say reports

Some, like tech investor David Friedberg, say this is what many in the tech world should expect in the future.

"He shows the entirety of Silicon Valley that you can cut deep and you can turn a profit and you can do it fast," Mr Friedberg told the All-In Podcast this weekend.

"It really kind of sets a new standard that a lot of folks might then end up saying, maybe we should go deeper," he added.

Other companies like Snap and Stripe have also had double-digit per cent layoffs in recent months.

Former Twitter exec ‘really concerned’ mass layoffs could impact site’s handle on misinformation during midterms

Tuesday 8 November 2022 22:45 , Josh Marcus

Twitter’s former director of product management says he’s worried that new owner Elon Musk’s massive layoffs at the company are coming at the exact wrong time, just as the midterm elections take place.

Edward Perez used to oversee the company’s civic integrity team, a 100-person unit that monitored the spread of mis- and disinformation across Twitter.

“I really am concerned that it feels like the drama around corporate takeover is sucking up all the oxygen in the room,” Mr Perez told Wired, adding that he’s worried about “potentially inadequate attention on these election-related issues.”

The Tesla billionaire has pushed through mass layoffs affecting about half of the company.

Elon Musk will begin massive Twitter layoffs on Friday, say reports

Elon Musk posts picture of Nazi soldier

Tuesday 8 November 2022 22:15 , Josh Marcus

Observers have noted that Elon Musk shared a photo of a Nazi soldier in a post making a joke about social media.

On Monday, the new Twitter owner posted a photo of a soldier holding a cage with three carrier pigeons, with a superimposed red icon deonting unread messages, captioned with the phrase, “How times have changed.”

As Tori Otten of The New Republic notes, the meme is based on a picture of a Nazi soldier.

When Mr Musk planned to buy Twitter, observers warned that the billionaire would turn the network into a “supercharged engine of radicalisation.”

Observers fret Musk could turn Twitter into ‘supercharged engine of radicalisation’

Is divided government really a good thing like Elon Musk suggests? Not everyone is buying it.

Tuesday 8 November 2022 21:48 , Josh Marcus

Elon Musk shocked some and thrilled others when he urged his legions of followers to vote for Republicans if they were “independent-minded.”

“Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” the new Twitter boss wrote on the social network.

Many were critical of the billionaire’s endorsement, arguing he was strengthening the increasingly right-wing GOP.

Others took issue with Mr Musk’s basic premise.

New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman argued in a piece on Tuesday that on a purely factual level, divided party government doesn’t necessarily mean better results for the economy or anything else.

“Divided government isn’t a good thing,” he wrote, arguing that relatively prosperous periods under divided government could be explained by larger factors outside of a split Congress.

“Extrapolating from the Clinton years, when partial government paralysis did relatively little harm, is a really bad idea.”

Voices: Elon Musk may be one of the worst people on Earth to fix Twitter’s biggest problem

Tuesday 8 November 2022 20:47 , Josh Marcus

Hellsite. That is the word so often chosen by Twitter users to describe the website where, for their sins, they sink so much time. It is also very close to the word that tech tycoon Elon Musk used on Thursday night when he finally confirmed that he would buy the social network, which he promised not to turn into a “hellscape”.

There’s little evidence that Musk is the man to solve the site’s many problems. For one thing, his record on supporting free speech is questionable, from allegedly firing whistleblowers and union organisers to reportedly asking the Chinese government to censor social media posts on its behalf. There was also the time he tried to pay a teenager to stop tweeting publicly available information about the movements of his private jet.

Worse, Musk has a long history of courting and inflaming exactly the type of vicious controversy that makes Twitter so hellish. He regularly makes drive-by interventions into hot-button issues such as trans rights and the Canadian trucker protests, firing off “jokes” or flip one-liners that bait partisans into reacting while declining to offer any serious articulation of his actual views.

Catch up on the Twitter story with this Voices column from Io Dodds.

Elon Musk may be one of the worst people on Earth to fix Twitter’s biggest problem

Elon Musk says Twitter is ‘the worst’ amid increasing criticism – but it is also ‘the best’

Tuesday 8 November 2022 20:26 , Josh Marcus

Elon Musk has said that Twitter is the “worst”, but also the “best”, amid increasing criticism of his brief time owning it.

Mr Musk has faced criticism and a number of scandals in the time he has been owning and running the company, despite doing so for little over a week.

It wasn’t clear whether Mr Musk’s comments were describing the company, the site that it operates, or both.

“Twitter is the worst! But also the best,” he wrote on Twitter.

Andrew Griffin has the full story for The Independent.

Elon Musk says Twitter is ‘the worst’ amid increasing criticism

Fans react to Ryan Reynolds joining Tumblr amid Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover

Tuesday 8 November 2022 20:00 , Adam Smith

Fans have shared their amused reactions to Ryan Reynolds joining Tumblr amid Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.

On Thursday, the 46-year-old actor shared his first Tumblr post, which included a meme from his hit film, Deadpool. In the days since, he has posted a handful of GIFs of himself on the platform, prompting mixed responses from fans to his page.

While some people claimed that Tumblr isn’t necessarily a place for celebrities, like Twitter has been, others welcomed Reynolds to the platform and encouraged him to share posts similar to what normal Tumblr bloggers would.

“I think the key to celebrities who survive Tumblr is that they understand we’re not here to follow them, they’re here to hang out with us,” one person wrote. “We’re here building a fort out of scraps of stuff we found in a dumpster and if Ryan Reynolds would like to sit down in the mud and contribute, he is welcome to. But the fort comes first.”

“You know maybe, we should let Ryan Reynolds stay - the guy has his likes and following hidden like a true Tumblrina,” another added.

Fans react to Ryan Reynolds joining Tumblr amid Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover

Elon Musk slammed after telling voters to back GOP

Tuesday 8 November 2022 19:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk has been slammed for telling “independent-minded voters” to turn out for Republican in the midterms.

On Monday morning, a day before the midterm elections on Tuesday, the Twitter owner tweeted that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic”.

“Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!” he added.

Twitter users were quick to criticise Mr Musk.

“I’m an independent, and I’m voting straight blue down the ticket this year… Republicans have gone insane!” William LeGate responded.

‘Nonsense’: Musk slammed after telling voters to back GOP hours before Election Day

MEPs want to grill Elon Musk about Twitter

Tuesday 8 November 2022 18:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk could be asked to appear before the European Parliament to answer questions about his takeover of Twitter.

MEPs from the liberal Renew group have written to the EU legislature’s president asking her to invite the billionaire to attend a scrutiny session.

Dita Charanzová, the group’s top MEP on the European Parliament’s internal market committee, said Twitter could not be left to become a “dystopian hellscape” and that EU laws had to be followed.

Mr Musk has said he will focus on promoting free speech on the platform, though he has said he will respect local regulations.

“The bird might be free, but European values and laws must still apply to Twitter,” said Sophie in ‘t Veld, Renew’s top MEP on the civil liberties and home affairs committee.

MEPs want Elon Musk to come to European Parliament for Twitter grilling

Government to consult tech giants over Ireland job losses

Tuesday 8 November 2022 17:00 , Adam Smith

The Taoiseach has said the Government is to consult tech giants whose Ireland-based employees are at risk of redundancy.

Micheal Martin said there are issues within the digital sector and he is concerned over the potential job losses in the state.

He made the comments as Tanaiste Leo Varadkar meets officials from the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) over job losses at Twitter.

Government to consult tech giants over Ireland job losses

Twitter users falsely tweet that Donald Trump is dead to test Musk-era content moderation

Tuesday 8 November 2022 16:00 , Adam Smith

Tweets falsely suggesting that Donald Trump has died are testing the content moderation of Elon Musk’s Twitter.

Huge number of users started posting tweets that suggested the former president had died in a protest against the new administration of Twitter.

As soon as Elon Musk announced he intended to buy the social network, questions arose of what kinds of content he would allow to be posted. He repeatedly indicated that he would be more permissive about the what could be said on the social network, describing himself as a free speech champion.

In response, some users have decided to test the moderation on the social network by posting false stories about Donald Trump, and see whether they would be taken down. They were led by Tim Heidecker, a comedian who encouraged others to share the false posts.

Tweets claiming that Donald Trump has died test Elon Musk’s Twitter

"Twitter is the worst! But also the best.”

Tuesday 8 November 2022 15:51 , Adam Smith

Eric Idle slams Elon Musk’s Twitter verification plans which he says he stole from Monty Python

Tuesday 8 November 2022 15:30 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk’s plans to charge $8 for verification have been slammed by Eric Idle after the Tesla billionaire claimed he got the idea from the Monty Python comedy group.

Twitter’s new owner has come under fire for his plans to charge for a blue tick on the social media platform after completing his $44bn takeover.

Mr Musk took to Twitter earlier this week and joked about his inspiration for it and posted video of a Monty Python sketch to emphasize his point.

“To all complainers, please continue complaining, but it will cost $8,” he tweeted. “Totally stole idea of charging for insults & arguments from Monty Python tbh.”

In the video, a man goes to a clinic where people pay for confrontations with a professional arguer.

Idle, a member of the famed troupe who did not appear in the sketch, tweeted his disapproval.

“So you’re allowed to steal, but you wish to charge us to verify who we are? Good luck with that then,” Idle wrote.

Eric Idle slams Twitter verification plans Elon Musk said he stole from Monty Python

Elon Musk’s past tweets reveal clues about Twitter’s new owner

Tuesday 8 November 2022 15:00 , Adam Smith

He may be good with rockets and electric cars, but don't turn to Elon Musk for public health predictions.

“Probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April,” the world's richest man tweeted about COVID-19 in March 2020, just as the pandemic was ramping up.

It's one of many tweets that offer a glimpse into the mind of Twitter's new owner and moderator in chief. Playful, aggressive and sometimes reckless, Musk's past tweets show how he has used social media to tout his businesses, punch back at critics and burnish his brand as a brash billionaire who is unafraid to speak his mind.

Elon Musk’s past tweets reveal clues about Twitter’s new owner

Twitter will want to settle with UK staff, lawyer suggests

Tuesday 8 November 2022 14:30 , Adam Smith

An employment lawyer has suggested that Twitter failed to comply with its duty to collectively consult with staff before firing half its workers.

“Most of the affected staff are based in California, where Twitter has its HQ but it looks likely that some UK staff in London and Manchester will be affected. Staff will be asking whether Elon Musk can terminate the employment of half the workforce overnight. Based on the limited information available to us at the moment, it looks like the dismissals in the UK will be both substantively and procedurally unfair, giving rise to claims of unfair dismissal”, said Joseph Lappin, Head of Employment and Partner at UK law firm Stewarts.

“We think Twitter will want to settle with staff who are dismissed in the UK by offering them severance packages which might ‘buy out’ their unfair dismissal and related employment claims. However, Elon Musk might find not all staff will agree to any proposed severance terms. The PR fall out looks to be potentially devastating for Twitter and staff will want to make the most of the public support they appear to have. The hashtag #oneteam in support of staff finding out that they have lost their jobs is, ironically, trending on Twitter.”

Tuesday 8 November 2022 14:00 , Adam Smith

Reports that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was banned from Twitter under Elon Musk’s new rules appear to be false, The Independent has found.

Numerous Twitter users and some news outlets shared claims on Monday that the 33-year-old actor was among the celebrities who had their accounts suspended for impersonating Mr Musk.

The rumour appeared to have begun with a tweet from ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic, the musical parody artist whom Radcliffe is portraying in a new Hollywood biopic, who said: “Oh no, they suspended @danielradcliffe’s Twitter account! Wasn’t it obvious he was doing a PARODY???”

But according to the Internet Archive, the account @danielradcliffe had already become inactive some time between September 2009 and August 2011, when the Archive’s automated checks began being redirecting to Twitter’s “account suspended” page.

Indeed, Radcliffe is well-known for not using social media, saying in 2020: “I considered getting a Twitter, and I 100 per cent know that if I did, you all would be waking up to stories of, like, ‘Dan Radcliffe gets into fight with random person on Twitter’.”

Claims that Daniel Radcliffe was suspended from Twitter untrue despite Musk crackdown

Twitter’s head of safety talks about the future of verification

Tuesday 8 November 2022 13:30 , Adam Smith

Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety, has given some insight into how verification will develop.

“For years, Verification on Twitter has been tricky because it’s a signal both of authenticity (you are who you say you are) and notability (you’re ‘important’ by some standard). Notability is inherently difficult to determine in a fair way globally. I support getting rid of it”, he tweeted.

“Proof-of-humanness is more straightforward. Most spam-fighting is a numbers game: Your objective is to raise the costs on spammers until their losses exceed their gains. When you do that, the spammers go away, and you win. $8 per account raises the costs of spam A LOT.

“It’s not just the $8, though — this kind of in-app purchase requires bad actors to get through not only Twitter’s defenses, but also those of mobile device manufacturers and payment processors. That’s not impossible for a sophisticated adversary — but it’s hard to do at scale.”

Elon Musk shares meme featuring Nazi soldier

Tuesday 8 November 2022 13:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, has come under fire for sharing a meme featuring a Nazi soldier as a joke about technological progress.

The Tesla and SpaceX billionaire tweeted a black and white photo of a solider carrying a cage full of carrier pigeons on his back, with the caption "3 unread messages" and a red notification badge superimposed onto the cage as if it were a smartphone app.

"How times have changed," commented Mr Musk, adding: "Back when birds were real..."

But hawk-eyed Twitter users soon pointed out that the photo actually shows a member of the army of Nazi Germany, known as the Wehrmacht, during the invasion of France in May 1940, when portable radios were not yet ubiquitous in war.

The same photo with slightly different colour grading is described on Getty Images as "German Wehrmacht Soldier With Carrier Pigeons".

Elon Musk under fire for tweeting meme featuring Nazi soldier

Twitter is increasing in users

Tuesday 8 November 2022 12:30 , Adam Smith

Twitter’s monetizable daily user (mDAU) growth has accelerated to more than 20 percent, while “Twitter’s largest market, the US, is growing even more quickly,” since Elon Musk took over.

Twitter has reportedly added more than 15 million mDAUs, “crossing the quarter billion mark” since the end of the second quarter

Verified users might keep their blue tick

Tuesday 8 November 2022 12:01 , Adam Smith

An internal Twitter FAQ for use with conversations with advertisers gives more insight into how Twitter could be changing.

The new Twitter Blue subscription, documents obtained by The Verge suggests, that paid verification “will not affect existing verified accounts at this time” and that “large brand advertisers who are already verified will now have an additional ‘Official’ label beneath their name upon Twitter Blue’s relaunch this week.”

Well, at least this guy isn’t running Twitter

Tuesday 8 November 2022 22:42 , Josh Marcus

Palmer Luckey, the creator of Oculus, has created a virtual reality headset that intentionally kills people.

Named ‘NerveGear’, the system aims to closely tie people’s virtual life to their real one – by bringing them both to an end at the same time.

If someone dies in a virtual reality game or experience while wearing the headset, then they will be killed in real life at the same time, Mr Luckey said.

Andrew Griffin has the full story.

Oculus creator makes virtual reality headset that intentionally kills people

Twitter Blue lacks users

Tuesday 8 November 2022 11:30 , Adam Smith

The current Twitter Blue only has around 100,000 active subscribers, it has been reported, and Elon Musk’s new plans could see it lose more money.

Mr Musk’s idea is that users of Twitter Blue will only see half as many ads.

Estimates indicatethat Twitter will lose about $6 in ad revenue per user per month in the United States by making that change.

With Apple and Google’s share of the $8 monthly subscription, as the platforms take a tithe for being on the iOS and Android stores, Twitter would likely lose money on Blue if Mr Musk’s plan goes through.

Twitter splits in two

Tuesday 8 November 2022 11:00 , Adam Smith

Twitter’s employees have been split into two groups: those on projects Elon Musk finds interesting, and everything else.

“The couple of teams that are on his pet projects are doing 20-hour days,” one employee said.

“But the majority of the company is kind of just sitting around. No chain of command, no priorities, no organization chart, and in many cases, no idea who your manager or team is.”

Elon Musk fired people at Twitter after one sentence

Tuesday 8 November 2022 10:30 , Adam Smith

Some managers were asked to submit to Elon Musk’s team two sentences about the people they were managing: one sentence explaining what the employee did, and another justifying why they should keep working at Twitter, Casey Newton reports.

“You were like, this better be a fucking good sentence,” one person claimed.

Self-proclaimed ‘socialist’ to ‘red pill’ anti-lockdown crusader: What are Elon Musk’s politics?

Tuesday 8 November 2022 10:00 , Adam Smith

“I prefer to stay out of politics." Those were Elon Musk’s words when the tech exec was forced to respond to a claim by Texas governor Greg Abbott that he supported the state’s anti-abortion laws.

If so, Mr Musk has a funny way of showing it. Over his decade-plus of public fame as the chief executive of Tesla, SpaceX, and now Twitter, the South-African-born tycoon has attacked everyone and everything, from Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders through individual regulatory officials to Covid rules, trade unions, and "pronouns".

In November, the day before the US midterms, he urged his 115m Twitter followers to vote Republicans into Congress in order to balance against a Democratic presidency and “curb [its] worst excesses”.

It came after his announcement in June that he had voted Republican for the first time ever in a special congressional election in Texas, as well as suggesting that he would support the Florida’s GOP governor, Ron DeSantis, should he run for the White House.

Yet despite these outright shows of support, Mr Musk still claims to be an independent who is willing to vote for either party when the occasion demands it.

What are Elon Musk’s political beliefs?

What is Mastodon?

Tuesday 8 November 2022 09:30 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has pushed users to alternative platforms, including a perculiar one called Mastodon.

The social media site has reportedly gained over 230,000 in the wake of Mr Musk’s buyout, with a total of 655,000 users.

However, Mastodon is not as simple to use as Twitter - despite looking superficially similar - and users may need some guidance in getting the most out of the site.

What is Mastodon, which Twitter users are fleeing to after Elon Musk takeover

Elon Musk rejects billionaire Mark Cuban’s advice on Twitter subscription plan

Tuesday 8 November 2022 09:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk has rejected a suggestion from fellow billionaire Mark Cuban to offer free Twitter subscriptions to some users.

Mr Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, ventured that an $8 verification fee could be waived for the “most accurate” users of a new Notes feature, that allows people to flag and respond to inaccurate posts on the platform.

“You might consider proactively offering your $8 verification program for free to those you deem the most accurate Notes contributors. Won’t be easy to confirm accuracy. But if AI can try to model out bias, maybe it can model in accuracy?”

Mr Musk knocked back the idea outright, replying: “$8 for all.”

“Your business. Your decision,” Mr Cuban responded.

Elon Musk rejects billionaire Mark Cuban’s advice on Twitter subscription plan

Tesla stock sinks to a new low

Tuesday 8 November 2022 08:30 , Adam Smith

Tesla stock sank to hit a new 52-week low on Monday as chief executive Elon Musk’s rocky start to his Twitter regime appeared to spook investors.

Shares in the electric vehicle maker plunged more than 4 per cent to $196.66 on Monday after Mr Musk tweeted that “independent-minded” voters should support Republicans in Tuesday’s midterms.

The stock had recovering slightly to $198.40 by 3.40pm, but was still among the worst performers on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes on Monday.

The company has seen its value fall by 14 per cent since Mr Musk completed the $44bn acquisition of Twitter on 28 October.

Tesla stock plunges to new 52-week low as Elon Musk’s Twitter woes mount

Elon Musk mocks Twitter competitor Mastodon

Tuesday 8 November 2022 08:00 , Vishwam Sankaran

Elon Musk has mocked Mastodon, the alternative site many are embracing as they look to move away from Twitter.

Many high-profile users have signed up to use Mastodon, an open-source alternative to Twitter, since Elon Musk’s takeover.

Mr Musk appeared to mock those switching over to the alternative platform, referring to the site as “Masterbatedone” in now-deleted posts.

You can read more on this here.

Amnesty International condemns Twitter's mass layoff

Tuesday 8 November 2022 07:30 , Vishwam Sankaran

Human rights non-governmental organisation Amnesty International expressed concern over Twitter laying off its “entire human rights team and AI ethics team”.

Amnesty International - Technology, a global collective of advocates, hackers, researchers and technologists defending digital rights, said Twitter has failed to address hateful and abusive speech on the microblogging platform.

It said Twitter must have “operational structures” in place to address harmful and abusive conduct on its platform, Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

However, the NGO said, it is “hard to see” how Twitter can uphold this responsibility following its recent mass layoffs.

“Advertisers also must respect rights. They must carefully weigh Twitter’s human rights record and the impact of Twitter’s recent staff cuts, when deciding whether to advertise on the platform,” it said.

Whoopi Goldberg quits Twitter over Elon Musk takeover

Tuesday 8 November 2022 07:05 , Vishwam Sankaran

American actor and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg becomes one of the latest in a string of celebrities to announce she is abandoning Twitter since Elon Musk’s takeover.

“It’s been a little over a week since Elon Musk took over Twitter and this place is a mess,” Ms Goldberg said.

“I’m getting off today because I just feel like it’s so messy, and I’m tired of now having certain kinds of attitudes blocked now getting back on. So I’m gonna get out, and if it settles down enough and I feel more comfortable maybe I’ll come back. But as of tonight, I’m done with Twitter,” she added.

The talk show host cited Mr Musk’s firing and rehiring of Twitter staff as well as the barring of comedian Kathy Griffin’s account as some of the other reasons why she decided to quit the platform.

“Some speech is not OK free speech. So everybody has to agree on that, but if people keep saying ‘You hurt my free speech’ it’s going to be a problem. You know what? This is our problem. But it ain’t my problem today because I’m out,” Ms Goldberg said.

ICYMI: Musk tells Twitter to vote Republican months after saying platform must be 'politically neutral'

Tuesday 8 November 2022 06:45 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk urged voters to back Republican candidates ahead of the US midterm elections months after saying that the social media platform must remain “politically neutral.”

“For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally,” the multibillionaire had tweeted in April, months before taking over the company in October.

On Monday, he tweeted, urging “independent-minded voters” to vote for Republican candidates.

“Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” Mr Musk said.

You can read more on this here.

Twitter suspends account of US political organisation director hours before midterm

Tuesday 8 November 2022 06:25 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter has suspended the account of Stephanie Doute, the executive director of the California League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan voter education organisation, hours before the US midterm elections with “no explanation.”

“On Election Day eve, Twitter has suspended @sdoute, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of California @LWVC on the eve of midterm elections,” The League of Women Voters of San Francisco tweeted.

“No warning. No explanation. No way to appeal. What is next?,” it said.

Some Twitter staff are reportedly working ‘20-hour days’ on Musk’s ‘pet projects’

Tuesday 8 November 2022 06:02 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter’s staff working on the platform’s revamped Twitter Blue subscription service – a project new boss Elon Musk is deeply involved in – are reportedly working “20 hour days.”

“The couple of teams that are on his pet projects are doing 20-hour days,” an employee told Platformer.

One of the company’s staff had earlier tweeted that she slept at her office to meet deadlines.

“When your team is pushing round the clock to make deadlines sometimes you sleep where you work,” Esther Crawford, who is in charge of early-stage products at the company, said last week.

Elon Musk faces 'larger problems' with Twitter Blue roll out - report

Tuesday 8 November 2022 05:40 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter Blue, one of Elon Musk’s pet projects since taking over Twitter to revamp the platform’s subscription service, reportedly faces several “larger problems” going ahead.

Twitter Blue currently has over 100,000 active subscribers and it will be an uphill task to expand the revamped version of the service for widespread rollout, according to Platformer.

The new version will reportedly be 37.5 percent more expensive and it is unclear how the social media company would persuade users to pay and subscribe to the service.

Twitter may likely “lose money” on this service if current plans to reduce ad load by half for its subscribers are enacted, the report noted.

Mr Musk is also reportedly helming heavy control over teams working on the launch of Twitter Blue.

“There is one decision-maker and that is me,” Musk told workers, according to Platformer.

Some verified users report they cannot change their names on Twitter

Tuesday 8 November 2022 05:15 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter’s policy states that account names must indicate a parody account. It banned impersonating profiles from the platform unless they explicitly mentioned they were parody accounts.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Mr Musk tweeted yesterday.

But The Verge reported that several of its staff with verified accounts have not been able to change their screen names on Twitter to mark themselves as parody.

Many remaining staff didn’t know who their new managers were days after mass layoff - report

Tuesday 8 November 2022 04:50 , Vishwam Sankaran

After thousands of Twitter’s employees were laid off last week, many of the remaining staff reportedly did not know who their managers were for days.

Remaining managers are also bracing for a steeper workload, Platformer reported, citing sources close to the matter.

Some of the remaining employees are reportedly “just sitting around.”

“No chain of command, no priorities, no organisation chart, and in many cases, no idea who your manager or team is,” one employee told Platformer.

Mastadon chief calls Elon Musk 'not entirely comprehensible' - report

Tuesday 8 November 2022 04:30 , Vishwam Sankaran

Eugen Rochko, the founder and chief of Twitter rival Mastodon, said in an interview on Sunday that Elon Musk was “not entirely comprehensible” about his takeover of the microblogging platform.

Mr Rochko called the Tesla titan’s purchase of the platform an “impulse decision that he soon regretted,” adding that the multibillionaire must now “deal with the fallout.”

The Mastodon chief also criticised Musk’s stance on free speech on Twitter.

“So allowing free speech by just allowing all speech is not actually leading to free speech, it just leads to a cesspit of hate,” he told Time Magazine.

Elon Musk discusses putting all of Twitter behind paywall — report

Tuesday 8 November 2022 04:10 , Vishwam Sankaran

Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk has reportedly discussed the possibility of eventually putting all of Twitter behind a paywall.

Platformer reported citing sources familiar with the matter that the Tesla chief and investor David Sacks discussed the idea of charging most, or all users, a subscription fee to use Twitter.

Under one such plan that was reportedly discussed, Twitter might allow everyone to use the microblogging platform for a limited amount of time every month but require a subscription for continued browsing.

Revealed: Elon Musk’s skill at magic tricks

Tuesday 8 November 2022 03:53 , Io Dodds

One amazing nugget from early Twitter investor Chris Sacca: Elon Musk is a skilled magician.

While criticising Mr Musk’s decisions so far, and arguing that the Tesla and SpaceX mogul needs people around him who are willing to tell him the truth, Mr Sacca paused to express his overall admiration for Mr Musk.

“I've known Elon a long time... I've had fun nights out with him (did you know he is a skilled close-up magician?), and I've learned a lot from him. He's given me solid advice multiple times, and he has personally accelerated my ambitions to unf*** the planet.”

A skilled close-up magician? I’m not sure why, but somehow this makes complete sense.

Don’t believe all you read on Twitter

Tuesday 8 November 2022 03:24 , Io Dodds

Here’s my full story on Daniel Radcliffe’s non-suspension from Twitter.

Numerous Twitter users and some news outlets shared claims on Monday that the 33-year-old actor was among the celebrities who had their accounts suspended for impersonating Mr Musk.

The rumour appeared to have begun with a tweet from ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic, the musical parody artist whom Radcliffe is portraying in a new Hollywood biopic, who said: “Oh no, they suspended @danielradcliffe’s Twitter account! Wasn’t it obvious he was doing a PARODY???”

But according to the Internet Archive, the account @danielradcliffe had already become inactive some time between September 2009 and August 201.

What does Elon Musk really believe?

Tuesday 8 November 2022 03:01 , Io Dodds

Perhaps now is a good time to consider the exact nature of Elon Musk’s political beliefs.

The 51-year-old mogul has often been coy and contradictory about his politics, donating to both Republicans and Democrats while variously declaring himself a “moderate”, a “socialist”, and “socially liberal and fiscally conservative”.

His recent support for Republican candidates marks his most forthright political messaging so far, but he stopped short of presenting himself as a doctrinaire conservative.

And, if you dig deeply enough, you can find a clear strain of technocratic utopianism – apparently influenced by his famous love of science fiction – running through his statements.

Check out my long read about Elon Musk’s political beliefs here.

Investor warns that layoffs could backfire

Tuesday 8 November 2022 01:50 , Io Dodds

In his lengthy Twitter thread, early investor Chris Sacca issued a stark warning to Elon Musk about his massive layoffs, which have reportedly cut around 50 per cent of Twitter’s 7,400-strong staff.

”Every day it's looking more like an uphill battle,” he said. “So much product and policy talent was pushed out the company door, and, my god, you just can't fire that many engineers, operations [staff], and SREs and expect the site to stay healthy.”

”SREs” refers to “site reliability engineers”, a specialised cadre of employees that keep online services ticking away even under sustained high traffic or unusual circumstances.

Last week, the cloud computing economist Corey Quinn raised similar fears, saying Mr Musk’s reported plans to cut cloud spending by $1bn could lead Twitter to suffer outages or even permanent data loss.

“Most client requests are of the form ’help us predict and control our spend’,” he said. “Occasionally it's ’lower the bill.’ Almost never is it ’lower the bill by X dollars.’

“That happens as a side-effect of the others; pursuing it as the defined goal is courting disaster... very quickly you're not cutting fat, but muscle and bone.”

Musk ‘alone and winging it’, says early Twitter investor

Tuesday 8 November 2022 01:19 , Io Dodds

One of Twitter’s earliest investors has said that Elon Musk needs people around him to “speak some truth to power” and say no to his worst ideas.

Chris Sacca, who invested $25,000 in Twitter back in 2006 and was its 102nd ever user, said on Monday that he feared Mr Musk was “straight-up alone right now and winging this” due to being surrounded by yes-men.

“I've known Elon a long time. I've admired his thinking and ambition. His ability to note and question the assumptions implicit in the rest of our thinking is a rare type of genius I've only seen in the greatest minds. His success to date is not an accident,” Mr Sacca said.

”But I've recently watched those around him become increasingly sycophantic and opportunistic. Simply put, agreeing with him is easier...

“This guy is alone. He has plenty of ’pals’ and is the life of parties and dinners. But the hard truth is that he is straight-up alone right now and winging this. If you're trying to make sense of anything, that context might help...

“Yet, I really want this thing to work. The only way I see that happening is if anyone around Elon can speak some truth to power and complement his bold and ambitious instincts with desperately needed nuance.”

Ice-T delivers his verdict

Tuesday 8 November 2022 00:35 , Io Dodds

The rapper and movie star Ice T is unimpressed by Mr Musk’s takeover.

“Musk spent $44bn and I can still block him... lol... I'll probably get banned for that tweet,” he said on Monday afternoon.

You can’t win ‘em all, I guess.

Tesla shareholder slams Musk as a ‘part-time CEO'

Tuesday 8 November 2022 00:09 , Io Dodds

Even as he fends off lawsuits over his firing of Twitter employees, Mr Musk is facing a separate legal challenge in his role as chief executive of Tesla.

According to Reuters, a Tesla shareholder named Richard Tornetta is seeking to rescind Mr Musk’s record 2018 pay package, which awarded him a combined $56bn.

The suit accuses Mr Musk of being a “part-time CEO”, noting that he only worked for the electric car maker on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while working for his rocket company SpaceX on Mondays and Thursdays.

That was before Mr Musk also became chief executive of Twitter, a major social network with around 450 monthly users that has made an overall loss in all but two of the last 11 years.

The trial begins on Monday 14 November.

Fact check: Daniel Radcliffe not banned from Twitter

Monday 7 November 2022 23:25 , Io Dodds

Reports that Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was banned from Twitter under Elon Musk’s new rules appear to be false.

Numerous Twitter users appeared to take it literally when ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic, the musical parody artist whom Mr Radcliffe is portraying in a new Hollywood biopic, tweeted on Monday: “Oh no, they suspended @danielradcliffe's Twitter account! Wasn't it obvious he was doing a PARODY???”

It is true that there is an account on Twitter called @danielradcliffe, which has been suspended.

But Mr Radcliffe is well-known for never using social media, including Twitter. “I considered getting a Twitter,” he said in 2020, “and I 100 per cent know that if I did, you all would be waking up to stories of, like, ‘Dan Radcliffe gets into fight with random person on Twitter’.”

Moreover, according to the Internet Archive, the @danielradcliffe account became inactive some time between September 2009 and August 2011, when the Archive’s automated web checks began redirecting to Twitter’s “account suspended” page.

In other words, @danielradcliffe never was the real Mr Radcliffe and was probably suspended years ago, while Mr Yankovic appears to have been making a joke.

All of this could have been avoided if Twitter, at any point in the last 16 years, had been transparent enough to add information to suspended users' profiles showing how and why they were banned. Alas, it’s hard to imagine such a feature being prioritised now that half the company’s employees have been laid off.

Elon Musk’s Nazi soldier meme, explained

Monday 7 November 2022 22:49 , Io Dodds

Here’s my full story on Mr Musk’s odd meme featuring a Nazi soldier.

This is actually not the only time in the last few days when Mr Musk received Nazi-related criticism. He also appears to have deleted a tweet in which he responded positively to a user who posted an apparent quote by Voltaire.

As it turns out, this quote actually originated with an American neo-Nazi and convicted possessor of child sexual abuse images, who has written of his frustration that Voltaire gets credit for his views.

Twitter user growth at ‘all time high’ since Musk buyout

Monday 7 November 2022 22:16 , Io Dodds

New users are flocking to Twitter in unprecedented numbers following Mr Musk’s takeover of the company, according to a new report in The Verge.

Journalist Alex Heath obtained an internal company document claiming that the social network’s growth in daily active users has hit “all time highs” since Mr Musk’s takeover, accelerating to more than 20 per cent.

That means an extra 15 million people have joined since late October, causing the site’s overall suer numbers to “cross the quarter billion mark” since June.

The document is an FAQ given to Twitter’s sales team for their converations with advertisers, many of whom have paused their spending or are considering doing so due to concerns about Mr Musk’s leadership. Hence, this might only represent the rosiest possible interpretation of Twitter’s data.

A third party report from the bot monitoring firm Bot Sentinel suggested that more than a million accounts may have been deactivated or suspened since Mr Musk’s takeover, although it could not tell how many of these accounts were automated.

Twitter’s advertiser FAQ also says that “levels of hate speech remain within historical norms, representing 0.2 per cent to 0.45 per cent of tweets per day among hundreds of millions.”

However, Twitter has never released public statistics for the prevalence of hate speech on its service, so we have no way to compare that with the past.

Tesla stock plunges to 52-week low

Monday 7 November 2022 21:31 , Io Dodds

Shares in Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla have plunged to their lowest point in more than a year amid the ongoing chaos at Twitter.

Having started the day priced at $208.79, Tesla’s stock dropped by about 6 per cent to $197.14 by the close of trading on Monday – the lowest price since May 2021.

“Fundamentally, the weakness in Tesla stock has to be blamed on Twitter,” wrote the financial magazine Barron’s on Monday. “More specifically, the weakness has to be blamed on Elon Musk, who now runs both companies.”

Read the full story here from my colleague Bevan Hurley.

Elon under fire for sharing Nazi soldier meme

Monday 7 November 2022 20:39 , Io Dodds

The meme tweeted by Elon Musk this morning might have struck some as innocuous, featuring a black and white photo of a soldier with a cage full of carrier pigeons and the caption “3 unread messages”.

However, hawk-eyed Twitter users quickly pointed out that the soldier in question is actually a member of the army of Nazi Germany, know as the Wehrmacht.

According to Getty Images, the photo shows a Nazi soldier during the German invasion of France in May 1940, when portable radios were not yet carried by all soldiers.

Musk urges independents to vote GOP

Monday 7 November 2022 19:47 , Io Dodds

Elon Musk has been criticised for urging “independent-minded voters” to back Republican candidates in this week’s midterm elections.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last month, told his 115m followers that “shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties”, and that voters should therefore limit a Democratic president by voting for a Republican Congress.

In April, he said that Twitter “must be politically neutral” in order “to deserve public trust”.

My colleague Gustaf Kilander in Washington, DC has the full story.

Elon Musk’s cohort does not understand free speech

Monday 7 November 2022 19:00 , Adam Smith

David Sacks, the founding chief operating officer and product leader of PayPal, who worked with Elon Musk, has claimed impersonation is free speech.

“Impersonation is not free speech. Fraud is not protected by the First Amendment”, he tweeted.

Ari Cohn, a prominent free speech lawyer, offered a rebuttal: “Impersonating someone on Twitter isn’t fraud. You should feel bad about this deeply uninformed tweet.”

He continued: “Furthermore, parody is protected by the First Amendment, and none of the exceptions you think you know anything about say otherwise. Stick to venture capitalizing. Leave the law to people who know what they are talking about.”

Whoopi Goldberg says ‘I’m out'

Monday 7 November 2022 18:38 , Io Dodds

The actress and TV host Whoopi Goldberg has said she’ll be staying off Twitter after Elon Musk’s takeover.

“So it has been a little over a week since Elon Musk took over Twitter and the place, it’s a mess,” said Ms Goldberg on her TV show The View on Monday morning.

“I’m getting off. I’m getting off today because I just feel like, you know, it’s so messy... I’m going to get out, and if it settles down and I feel more comfortable, maybe I’ll come back. But as of tonight, I’m done with Twitter."

Ms Goldberg has around 1.6m followers on Twitter, although she does not tweet very often.

Monday 7 November 2022 18:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk is doubling down on his claim that ‘activists’ are ruining Twitter’s advertising aims.

“Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” tweeted Mr Musk on Friday.

Lou Paskalis, the MMA global president, explained to Mr Musk the concerns of some advertisers - especially in the wake of his firings. Mr Musk then blocked Mr Paskalis; he was unblocked sometime later.

However, Elon Musk has still said he has claims against the activists.

What is Mastodon?

Monday 7 November 2022 17:30 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has pushed users to alternative platforms, including a perculiar one called Mastodon.

The social media site has reportedly gained over 230,000 in the wake of Mr Musk’s buyout, with a total of 655,000 users.

However, Mastodon is not as simple to use as Twitter - despite looking superficially similar - and users may need some guidance in getting the most out of the site.

What is Mastodon, which Twitter users are fleeing to after Elon Musk takeover

Elon Musk fired Twitter’s human rights team

Monday 7 November 2022 17:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk ‘s job cuts hit Twitter’s entire human rights team.

The mass layoffs came as Mr Musk admitted that “a number of major advertisers have stopped spending on Twitter” since his takeover, with firms such as GM, Audi and General Mills pausing their advertising after the takeover.

Shannon Raj Singh, the former human rights counsel at the company, took to Twitter on Friday to confirm that she and her team had been ousted.

“Yesterday was my last day at Twitter: the entire Human Rights team has been cut from the company,” she wrote.

Elon Musk fires Twitter’s human rights team as part of sweeping layoffs at platform

Monday 7 November 2022 16:30 , Adam Smith

Irish premier Micheal Martin has criticised the way in which staff were let go at Twitter, saying that it was “not acceptable” and was “fairly unprecedented”.

“We are concerned, and our concern is there for the employees of Twitter,” the Taoiseach told reporters in Co Tipperary.

Twitter is letting a significant number of staff go – reported to be as high as half its workforce – as part of tech billionaire Elon Musk’s dramatic takeover of the social media giant.

“There seems to be a fairly unprecedented approach being adopted here to a global workforce and that’s manifesting itself in Ireland.

“What I would say is no matter who you are or what sector you are in, one must always treat people with dignity and respect, and the employees at Twitter deserve to be treated with respect.”

Twitter staff cuts are ‘not acceptable’, says Irish premier

Elon Musk mocks Mastodon

Monday 7 November 2022 16:10 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk has seemingly mocked Mastodon, the alternative site that many have embraced as they look to move away from Twitter.

Many high-profile users have already left the site, or threatened to leave. Some of them have moved onto Mastodon, an open source alternative to Twitter that has seen vast numbers of registrations in recent days.

But Mr Musk appeared to mock those who were switching over, referring to the site as “Masterbatedone”. He highlighted posts by US economist Paul Krugman, who appeared to have encountered technical problems when he signed up to the service.

Elon Musk mocks people signing up to Twitter alternative

Twitter may have to delay verification changes

Monday 7 November 2022 16:00 , Adam Smith

Twitter will delay the rollout of their new system of verification check marks to subscribers of its $7.99 per month subscription service until after the US midterm elections on Tuesday, according to report by The New York Times.

The Times cites an internal post and two people with knowledge of the decision. The Independent has contacted Twitter for confirmation of the report.

The news comes just a day after the announcement of the new service in which users can pay to have a verification check mark on their profile.

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk announced the initiative this week via the platform — one of many sweeping changes he is making to the social media site.

Twitter to delay rollout of paid blue checkmarks until after midterm, report says

Monday 7 November 2022 15:30 , Adam Smith

Kathy Griffin has trolled Elon Musk by returning to Twitter via her dead mother’s account after being suspended.

The comedian was barred from the social media site for turning her user profile into a parody of its new owner.

Griffin’s account was soon removed, with Musk writing: “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”

However, Musk soon received a tweet from the account Griffin’s mother Maggie used before her death, which had not been active since 2019.

“I’m back from the grave to say… #FreeKathy,” she wrote, later clarifying in a separate tweet: “Oh by the way this is KG. I’m tweeting from my dead mother’s account.”

Kathy Griffin trolls Elon Musk by defying Twitter ban using dead mum’s account

Twitter’s search tool could be improved

Monday 7 November 2022 15:00 , Adam Smith

Mr Musk has also said that he wants to improve Twitter’s search tool.

“Search within Twitter reminds me of Infoseek in ‘98! That will also get a lot better pronto”, he said.

Other changes to Twitter in the short-term include a paywalled video player, rolling out a Verified badge for anyone subscribing to Twitter Blue, and paid-for DMs into celebrities accounts.

Elon Musk clamps down on parody accounts

Monday 7 November 2022 14:30 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk is now banning anyone that is parodying him - unless they make it clear its a parody.

“Comedy is now legal on Twitter”, the billionaire said two days ago. It now seems he has changed his view.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” the multibillionaire tweeted on Monday.

The Tesla chief’s tweet comes as several users impersonated him on the microblogging platform this weekend, including actor Valerie Bertinelli who changed her profile name to “Elon Musk” shortly after the company rolled out its new controversial paid-verification system.

“The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. Scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there!” Ms Bartinelli wrote.

Twitter accounts impersonating others to be banned without warning, Elon Musk says

Twitter may have to rehire its staff

Monday 7 November 2022 14:00 , Adam Smith

Elon Musk may have to u-turn on firing employees, Bloomberg reports.

“Some of those who are being asked to return were laid off by mistake, according to two people familiar with the moves”, the publication states, citing people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity.

“Others were let go before management realized that their work and experience may be necessary to build the new features Musk envisions, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information.”

Jack Dorsey apologises to staff for layoffs

Sunday 6 November 2022 06:26 , Maroosha Muzaffar

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey broke his silence over the mass layoffs at the social media giant after Elon Musk takeover and apologised to staff for layoffs.

He wrote in a series of tweets: “Folks at Twitter past and present are strong and resilient. They will always find a way no matter how difficult the moment. I realise many are angry with me. I own the responsibility for why everyone is in this situation: I grew the company size too quickly. I apologise for that.”

He added: “I am grateful for, and love, everyone who has ever worked on Twitter. I don’t expect that to be mutual in this moment...or ever…and I understand.”