Elon Musk warned that filing for bankruptcy was a distinct possibility for his newly acquired company, after he laid off half of the staff, which numbered 7,500 earlier this year, and made changes to the platform that are causing users, brands, and advertisers to fly the coop.
“Sorry that this is my first email to the whole company, but there is no way to sugarcoat the message,” Musk wrote to employees. “Without significant subscription revenue, there is a good chance Twitter will not survive the upcoming economic downturn.”
Musk sold nearly $4 billion worth of Telsa stock since reaching his deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion last month. He told Twitter employees on Thursday that he was selling his other company’s stock in order to “save Twitter.”
On top of mass layoffs and unwelcome platform changes, Musk told employees on Wednesday in an email that he is requiring them to come into the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week, ending the company’s work-from-home policy; he added that he had to personally approve any remote work requests.
Musk also said in the email, “We need roughly half of our revenue to be subscription,” alluding to the new controversial blue checkmark subscription service. The blue checkmark, which used to indicate a user’s verified identity to combat misinformation and scam accounts, now costs $8 per month and can be given to anyone who will pay. It’s unclear whether eventually users will have to show identity verification for a blue checkmark.
In the email, Musk mentioned the growing bot problem: “Over the next few days, the absolute top priority is finding and suspending any verified bots/trolls/spam.”
He echoed this on Twitter: “Going forward, accounts engaged in parody must include ‘parody’ in their name, not just in bio.”
Ironically, it was difficult to even find this tweet from the real Elon Musk’s Twitter account. One must sift through a sea of fake Elon Musks to find the real one, as a number of users are demonstrating the dangerousness of the new blue checkmark’s leniency, pairing his name with a paid-for checkmark.
CNN pointed out that under the new blue checkmark system, Twitter gave Jesus Christ verified status.