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In his first emails to Twitter staff, Musk talks about ending remote work and battling verified spam

More than 10 days after taking over Twitter, Elon Musk addressed the company's employees for the first time in a series of emails. He talked about ending remote work and making the fight against spam a priority.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the new CEO asked workers to be ready for “difficult times ahead.” At the same time, he asked them to mandatorily work from the office unless an employee received a personal exemption. The report also said that the employees will have to put in at least 40 hours per week working from the office and these policies are effective immediately.

This is not really surprising as, during a Q&A with Twitter staff in June, Musk said only "exceptional" employees would be able to work remotely. Around the same time, he ended the remote work policy for Tesla employees and asked them to spend at least 40 hours a week in the office.

During the first few days after taking control of Twitter, Musk fired top executives, tweeted about introducing new verification and subscription plans and laid off half the staff. But he just recently got time to address the remaining employees. All this while, the staff was living in uncertainty about the direction of the company and how their roles would change.

The billionaire has set aggressive product deadlines after promising to bring a ton of features through a bunch of tweets. Now deleted tweets from employees suggested that they had to sleep at the office to meet some of these new product deadlines.

Earlier this month, Musk also eliminated company-wide rest days that were introduced during the pandemic. In 2020, Twitter was one of the first companies to allow employees to work remotely forever.

The Bloomberg report also noted that, in a separate email, Musk asked Twitter staff to make it a priority to battle verified spam, bots and impersonation. After he announced the plans to introduce new verification through a paid program, a bunch of legacy verified accounts changed their profile to imitate Musk. In response, he said that any verified account indulging in impersonation will be banned.

On Thursday, the social network debuted its new Twitter Blue program for $8 a month, allowing people to buy verified check marks. Soon after the rollout, a bunch of accounts started impersonating brands, athletes and officials across the world. In the terms of the new subscription plan, Twitter has specified that new accounts can't sign up for this offering yet. The company has taken this step to possibly reduce spam. It is also preventing existing verified accounts from changing their display names.

"Twitter Blue subscribers will be unable to change their display name after receiving a blue checkmark. We will be implementing a new process soon for any display name changes," the terms read.

So overall, the company has had a messy start to the Musk era, with an extremely rough rollout to an ambitious subscription program.