Elon Musk describes himself as a “free speech absolutist”.
15/11/2022, 19:3715/11/2022, 20:59
With this short tweet on Monday, tech billionaire Elon Musk fired a longtime software developer who dared to publicly oppose Twitter’s new owner.
Twitter developer Eric Frohnhoefer contradicts Elon Musk…
… and gets fired right on Twitter.
Shortly thereafter, Eric Frohnhoefer, who was working on Twitter’s Android app, no further access to his company laptop. The 41-year-old software engineer told US media that he had not received any formal notice from the company about his sudden dismissal. By his own admission, Frohnhoefer has been on Twitter for eight years.
“My work laptop just logged me out and now I can’t log in,” wrote the fired software developer.
How it all started
The feud between Musk and Frohnhoefer began when Musk tweeted on Sunday morning that he wanted to “apologize for Twitter being super slow in many countries.” Musk gave a technical explanation for this (too many server requests), which Frohnhoefer and other Twitter programmers disputed. Quoting Musk’s tweet, Frohnhoefer wrote, “I’ve been working on Twitter for Android for ~6 years and I can say this is not true.”
Musk impersonated and replied: “Twitter is super slow on Android. What did you do about it?” As a reminder: Frohnhoefer was working on an Android app. Initially, though, Musk was talking about performance issues in “many countries” in general — not the Android app specifically.
Frohnhoefer Musk answered at length in a series of tweets.
Frohnhoefers explains to Musk why he contradicted him.
They do not believe that the number of requests is the main cause of performance problems, wrote Frohnhoefer. It’s more because the app is bloated with unnecessary features that are rarely used. The team has done a lot to improve performance. It was also found that, for example, more advertising had an effect on load times.
Musk and Frohnhoefer continued to discuss technical details on Monday, and Frohnhoefer corrected Musk several times. Public Exchange a reactions from other software developers suggest that Musk is unfamiliar with Twitter’s technical details.
Finally, another Twitter user joined the discussion, writing that Musk would hardly want an employee “with that attitude” on the team.
Musks replied, “He’s fired.”
On Tuesday Musk deleted the tweet.
Support for Frohnhoefer
Frohnhoefer and other developers on Twitter are clearly upset with Musk for publicly criticizing their work without knowing the technical background.
Some software developers were far less diplomatic than Frohnhoefer. Former Twitter employee Ben Leib responded to Musk’s tweet: “As the former CTO of Twitter’s timeline infrastructure, I can confidently say that this man has no idea what he’s talking about.” Leib, who has worked at Twitter for a decade, confirmed to Bloomberg that he was fired on sunday.
Sasha Solomon, software developer at Twitter, Musk also accusedhaving no idea how Twitter technically works.
Shortly after, Solomon tweeted that she had just been fired.
Other users criticized Frohnhoefer for publicly contradicting Musk. Frohnhoefer could have done it privately. The developer replied, “Maybe he should [Musk] ask questions privately. Maybe use Slack or email.”
Not surprisingly, Musk also responded publicly to the employee’s objection. Musk is known for not shying away from controversy and seeking the limelight.
Musk is rapidly changing Twitter’s corporate culture
Frohnhoefer told the business portal Forbes that he is not biased towards Musk. He was one of the employees who wanted to wait to see how the whole thing developed. But it’s been “downhill” since the new regime, says Frohnhoefer. Employees did not trust the new management and vice versa. This is why Twitter is largely at a standstill.
Before Musk took over Twitter, employees were more open and felt they could criticize, which is clearly not the case now.
Financial service Bloomberg writes that before Musk, it was not common for Twitter employees to publicly criticize management. Employees, on the other hand, criticized them in internal circulars or closed chat groups.
Multiple Twitter employees publicly criticize Elon for making up stories about how Twitter works, and he was fired.
It becomes a wave of mass disobedience as Twitter’s engineers go off in a blaze of glory.
Every time I think this acquisition can’t get any worse, it does. pic.twitter.com/lKFs9Uk0xq
— Dare Obasanjo 🐀 (@Carnage4Life) November 15, 2022
Shortly after taking over Twitter, Musk laid off an estimated half of its 7,000 employees.
Frohnhoefer himself it means everythingthat it was “definitely stupid” to confront Musk like that. But a new door could soon open for him: a Reddit employee immediately offered him: «Eric, this thread is absolutely insane. We’re hiring Android developers on Reddit. We won’t treat you like that.”
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