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Elon Musk’s First Weekend in Charge of Twitter Was, Predictably, a Total Shitshow

Elon Musk points a finger in the air while speaking.

Elon Musk just finished his first weekend in charge of Twitter and things went about as well as any of us could have predicted—which is to say, not well at all. Not even a little bit well.

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Bigotry on parade

Pretty much immediately after the self-proclaimed “Chief Twit” took over, a surge of racist and anti-LGBTQ+ slurs and memes flooded the site.

“Within hours, Musk’s portrayal of himself as a ‘free speech absolutist’ and his fierce criticism of the company’s previous leaders as overly rigid and suppressive seemed to have encouraged a wide range of anonymous Twitter accounts to act as if his takeover meant the old rules against bigotry no longer applied,” wrote the Washington Post.

Musk, who just recently seemed to realize that his plan to allow all speech not prohibited by the government would be an advertising and political nightmare, has not yet made any changes to Twitter’s community guidelines. The racist posts are likely a mix of attempts to test as well as troll those policies.

From the Post:

Racial slurs were posted rampantly. One single-word tweet, showing a single racial slur in all capital letters, was retweeted more than 700 times and liked more than 5,000 times. It was tweeted Thursday night and remained online more than 16 hours later.

One account, created this month, included a Nazi swastika as its profile picture and retweeted quotes from Musk alongside antisemitic memes. Another tweet, showing a video montage glorifying Nazi Germany with the comment, “I hear that there have been some changes around here,” was liked more than 400 times.

Fired execs

Last week, Musk (at least temporarily) backtracked on his stated plan to layoff 75% of Twitter’s workforce. He did, however, fire a number of top executives—reportedly doing so before November 1st so as to avoid having to pay out scheduled stock grants due on that day. (Musk has denied that he was trying to avoid the payouts.) He also reportedly chose to fire the execs “for cause” so that they wouldn’t get their hefty (like $100 million+ hefty) “golden parachute” severance packages.

It’s not clear what cause Musk is citing for their firing but he has previously accused these executives of misleading him during the drawn-out feud over Musk’s attempts to get out of the $44 billion hostile takeover that he himself forced. He seems to have particular disdain for Twitter’s now-former CEO Parag Agrawal, at whom Musk infamously tweeted a poop emoji during a back-and-forth regarding spam on the site. (Twitter then used that poop emoji tweet against Musk in their lawsuit filed against him, citing it as evidence that he was “creating business risk for Twitter and downward pressure on its share price.”)

Charging verified users

According to a report from The Verge, Musk has a plan to change the recently-introduced Twitter Blue feature to a more expensive subscription that would include account verification for $19.99 a month.

“Employees working on the project were told on Sunday that they need to meet a deadline of November 7th to launch the feature or they will be fired,” writes Alex Heath.

It’s not clear if this is only for new verification applications or if Musk will be charging $20 a month for currently verified users to keep their blue checks, but that could very well be the plan, literally no one knows what’s going on.

Conspiracy theories

Following the recent assault of Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, the far-right developed a vile, homophobic conspiracy theory claiming the man who attacked Pelosi was actually his lover. This is absolutely not based in fact and was apparently the result of some creative “world building” on the “pro-Trump internet,” as NBC News’ Ben Collins breaks it down here:

Despite that conspiracy being absolutely removed from reality, Elon Musk—the wealthiest man in the world and the owner of Twitter—decided to share it with his 112.5 million followers.

Musk has since deleted that tweet, with no acknowledgement or apology for spreading anti-LGBTQ, anti-reality lies.

So yeah, things on Elon Musk’s Twitter are going just about how we probably expected.

(image: Patrick Pleul – Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.