Billionaire vows to ‘revamp’ verification process as he continues overhaulElon Musk fires entire Twitter board of directors to take sole control
Elon Musk has installed himself as Twitter’s sole director, clearing out the company’s entire board as he prepares for sweeping changes at the social media company after his $44bn (£38bn) takeover.
Mr Musk dissolved Twitter’s board, which included chairman Bret Taylor and eight other board members, according to a US regulatory filing.
The decision to remove the company’s entire board came as Mr Musk ordered Twitter staff to “work 24/7” on plans to charge celebrities and influencers $20 per month to keep their “blue tick” status symbol on Twitter.
Mr Musk removed board members including Baroness Lane-Fox, the British technologist and founder of Lastminute.com; and Patrick Pichette, Google’s former chief finance officer.
Last week, Baroness Lane-Fox praised Twitter executives, including former chief executive Parag Agrawal, who had been sacked by Mr Musk. “Thank you for leading with incredible integrity and care,” she said.
The new owner has told the social media platform’s engineers to rework the company’s subscription product, Twitter Blue, within a week or face the sack. He has asked for changes to how Twitter verifies its users.
The Tesla chief executive said on Sunday: “The whole verification process is being revamped right now.”
Staff were reported to have worked throughout the weekend to get the product ready. Mr Musk was said to have told engineers the subscription service needed to be ready by Nov 7, or they could be fired.
Twitter could begin charging users up to $20 per month, four times the present $4.99 cost of its optional subscription service, technology news site The Verge reported. The Financial Times quoted two staff members who said coders had been told to work “24/7” to complete the changes.
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
The major change in how Twitter operates comes just three days after Mr Musk acquired Twitter in a $44bn deal, sacked its senior executives and installed himself as self-described “chief twit”.
Twitter users who have a blue-check mark next to their name have gone through a verification process. The symbol, originally free-of-charge, is used by celebrities, influencers, journalists and brands to show they are the genuine account holder.
But Twitter is now planning to charge extra for the blue tick mark. Under the current plan, Twitter users will have 90 days to sign up for the new subscription service or lose their verification.
In a post on Twitter Jason Calacanis, a venture capital investor and a friend of Mr Musk, posted a poll asking users how much they were prepared to pay for Twitter.
Mr Calacanis is one of several allies advising Mr Musk, who have installed themselves in Twitter’s headquarters and have been dictating immediate changes to how the company operates.
Mr Musk had previously said he wanted 50pc of Twitter’s revenues to come from products other than advertising, which currently makes up the bulk of the social network’s income.
Separately, Mr Musk launched a poll on Twitter asking his followers if the company should “bring back Vine”. Vine was a popular video sharing app, similar to China’s TikTok, which was acquired by Twitter and ultimately shut down.
Vine allowed users to post six second videos and at one stage had 200 million users. It was acquired by Twitter in 2013 and shut down three years later.
Mr Musk is understood to be planning to unblock previously banned Twitter accounts, which could include former US president Donald Trump, who was barred from the site for inciting violence following the Jan 6 2021 riots on Capitol Hill.
On Saturday, he said the company had not yet made any changes to Twitter’s moderation policies.
He said on Friday Twitter would form a “content moderation council” with diverse political views to device on reinstating blocked accounts. He has previously said he wants to boost free speech on Twitter.
Over the weekend, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, said the site had been targeted by a misinformation campaign to encourage users to send hateful posts.
Mr Roth said: “We’ve seen a small number of accounts post a ton of Tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms. To give you a sense of scale: more than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts.”
He said most of these accounts were “inauthentic” and part of a “trolling campaign”.
Mr Musk Tweeted he supported Mr Roth and said he had “high integrity”.