News Updates

‘Inside Elon Musk’s Twitter,’ by Zoë Schiffer, Casey Newton, and Alex Heath

— Genevieve Smith, features director, New York

It’s not that Twitter was in such great shape before Elon Musk’s seemingly impulsive announcement that he planned to buy the platform last spring. According to the more than two dozen current and recently departed employees interviewed for our new cover story, the company was unprofitable, inefficient, and a somewhat frustrating place to work. Some of that inefficiency had grown out of a genuine effort by its employees to do right by its users. When Twitter first hit its stride a decade ago, it was seen as a democratizing force giving voice to the voiceless during the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street. But over time, the company had to contend with all the gnarly blowback of handing everyone the microphone (the former president is a prime example), so systems meant to keep the worst abuse off of the platform had to be devised. “Freeing” Twitter from all that was one of Musk’s main objectives when he finally took over at the end of October, and as this richly reported account of his first 90 days (produced in collaboration with tech site The Verge) attests, it has been just as chaotic and freewheeling as you might expect.
Extremely Hardcore Twitter’s staff spent years trying to protect the platform against impulsive ranting billionaires — then one made himself the CEO.
Illustration: Kagan McLeod
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