Twitter employees split over Elon Musk
When Twitter employees felt confused after the news that Elon Musk had reached a deal to buy the company, the message from management was: Sit back.
According to Financial Timesafter information Musk will buy back Twitter for $44 billion, employees had an emergency meeting via online format. They were told by the leadership that everyone should sit still, “there will be no layoffs at this time”, the staffing issue will not change at least until the agreement is completed later this year.
Despite the reassurance, Twitter employees still feel divided and apprehensive. Some argue that the billionaire’s influence will help bring social media into a new era, away from the scrutiny of Wall Street. However, many others worry about what could happen on the platform, as malicious content will become more difficult to control.
“This is a really uncomfortable and uncertain time,” Edward Perez, a project leader in Twitter’s Health and Social group, wrote on his personal page. “Most of us deeply believe that Twitter is not only a technology platform, but also has a deep responsibility to society. I hope the new owners will guide that.”
According to some sources, very few Twitter employees think that the company they are working for has been bought by Musk, even initially thinking that the US billionaire is just trying to attract attention. But when the acquisition was announced, they expressed their disappointment on a private channel.
“That man just needs to leave us alone,” said a senior Twitter employee. “Someone tell me I’m going to get rich or get fired soon,” another wrote.
Before that, Twitter staff also expressed worried, especially the content censorship issue of the platform. Share with Reuters, these people argue that Musk may be able to influence future company policies, especially regarding abusive and harmful content. This could undermine Twitter’s years of efforts at being a sane platform.
Once the deal is completed, the current board will be dissolved, an inside source said. Musk will decide on the new governance structure, choose who to be the CEO, senior director, etc., and there is no discussion about new personnel at this time.
While many employees are worried, others are said to be delighted that Twitter has gone from a public company to a private enterprise. This is a beneficial shift because social is no longer judged by Wall Street based on growth rate and ad revenue. At that time, social networks will have better progress.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey also posted a message on Twitter: “Elon Musk is the only solution I believe in”.
Last year, Dorsey also said his biggest regret is Twitter becoming a public company. “Twitter as owned by Wall Street and its advertisers. Taking it back from Wall Street is the right first step,” he tweeted.
“Twitter has always been under huge growth pressure. So moving to the new state will make the company more comfortable,” Bruce Daisley, former head of Twitter Europe, told Financial Times.
Musk’s plan met with opposition
Musk currently outlines a number of plans for Twitter, including turning the platform into a “free speech square”. However, this statement made many people unhappy.
“A lot of what Musk says is what Twitter is doing, including making algorithms open source. However, he doesn’t understand their intricacies, or can’t,” a former Twitter executive said.
Some Twitter employees expressed anger at the US billionaire’s “oversimplified” requests. “Musk often has very difficult goals, most of which will be unsolvable for many years. Like he’s been aiming for Tesla cars to achieve Level 4 self-driving capabilities for several years, but in the past eight years he has can do?”, a Twitter employee asked on the privacy platform Blind.
Others fear Musk will discourage employees and leave them. “If we are negatively impacted by change and pressure from the leadership, we will lose a lot of great talent and all motivation to work at Twitter will be gone,” another person stated.
According to sources, many companies are targeting Twitter’s talent pool, including direct competitors like Reddit and Microsoft. “I received about 20 emails inviting me to work in just one day,” Hana Thier, a senior software engineer at Twitter, wrote on her personal page on April 26.
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