Musk fires and mocks Twitter employees who criticize him

Elon Musk has dismissed other Twitter employees who criticized him. Those who stay have until Thursday night to commit to overtime and a “hardcore” culture – or walk away with a severance package.

11/16/2022, 4:54 p.m11/16/2022, 7:15 p.m

Oliver Wietlisbach

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The head limp continues on Twitter. About two dozen employees who criticized Elon Musk in internal company chats or publicly on Twitter were fired on Tuesday. The “New York Times” and other American media are reporting the same. Tech billionaire Musk, who bought the platform three weeks ago for roughly $44 billion, indirectly confirmed the layoffs with a mocking tweet about former employees. “I want to apologize for firing these geniuses.

In a way, Musk is saying goodbye to those who were laid off.

In a way, Musk is saying goodbye to those who were laid off.

In another tweet, he mocked a former employee with words he claimedthe software developer’s Twitter posts about it being caused by a “tragic case of Tourette’s in adults”.

According to American media, the latest layoffs do not only concern employees who have publicly opposed Musk on Twitter. Apparently that was enough to express oneself critically within society or share a critical tweet.

According to the “New York Times”, Musk has assigned a team to monitor employees who are rebellious on company chats. Musk’s team is also said to be scouring employee tweets for criticism of the new boss and creating lists of names that disagree with him. Those found were immediately released on Tuesday. The NYT received the termination emails and some of them were posted on Twitter. The reason for the dismissal in the emails was “violation of company guidelines”.

Twitter fires recalcitrant employees with this email


In this context, it’s important to understand that Twitter has long cultivated a culture of internal dissent, writes American tech journalist Casey Newton, who closely follows the chaos on Twitter. He and other US media, citing Twitter employees, say that before Musk’s time, it was part of the company’s culture that you could criticize executives in internal chats or emails, as long as the criticism was expressed only internally.

“The internal code of conduct has not changed since taking over Elon,” writes Newton. So the fact that a person is fired for internal criticism comes “out of the blue.” employees should have it reported“that about 20 people have been fired so far because of their posts on Slack”, i.e. because of their comments in internal employee chats.

“The top priority right now is to set up a task force to find out who is mean to me. Satirical website The Onion pokes fun at Musk.

Musk issues an ultimatum: overtime and “hardcore” culture or quit

In a midnight email, Musk gave Twitter’s remaining employees an ultimatum: commit to an “extremely tough” culture at Twitter or be fired with three months’ severance pay.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Musk had asked Twitter employees to sign an online form by Thursday evening (local time) committing to “long, high-intensity work hours.” “Only exceptional performance will be evaluated as satisfactory,” reads the memo to employees, obtained by the Washington Post.

Musk also wants to encourage remaining employees to perform at their best with the prospect of stock. In the letter, seen by the NYT on Monday, he wrote that “extraordinary stock will be awarded for exceptional performance.”

Twitter lays off thousands of content reviewers

Before the recent layoffs, Twitter laid off an estimated half of its 7,000 permanent employees and most recently about 5,000 temporary workers without notice. The latter work primarily as content moderators and data analysts.

A fired data analyst told the NYT that she suddenly lost access to Twitter’s internal system on Sunday. Additionally, her company email has been deactivated. A few hours later, she was informed by email that the next day would be her last day on the job. As a contractually limited employee, she does not receive any severance pay. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay the rent or take care of my kids,” she told the NYT.

On a “collision course” with the EU

According to the Financial Times, the EU wants to take a closer look at Twitter. Brussels fears further problems with fake profiles and fake news if Twitter lays off thousands of contract workers who specialize in monitoring political disinformation. So Twitter is on a “collision course” with the EU.

In extreme cases, Brussels can ban Twitter in Europe or regularly fine it until the company complies with a new EU law against hate speech, disinformation and war propaganda.

A Twitter developer disagrees with Musk and is fired

The latest layoffs follow a tweet in which Musk wrote on Sunday that Twitter was “super slow in many countries” because the app was sending too many server requests. The longtime app developer responded to Musk on Twitter saying his reasoning was “wrong.” Musk then asked him to fix it, publicly asking, “Twitter is super slow on Android. What did you do with it?”

The app developer justified his objection and explained several other causes of performance issues. As a result, the two publicly exchanged several messages about technical details, and the software developer corrected Musk several times.

Musk tweeted on Monday that the app’s developer had been fired. He later deletes the tweet.

The app's developer publicly disagrees with Musk and is fired.

The app’s developer publicly disagrees with Musk and is fired.

The app developer also confirmed his eviction on Twitter. He had received no formal notice of his sudden dismissal until Musk’s resignation tweet. About five hours after the tweet, his company laptop automatically logged him out and he could no longer log in, he told Forbes on Monday.

If Musk really got it wrong when talking to the app developer, it wouldn’t be the first time. On Sunday, for example, he wrote that Twitter drives by far the most visitors to other sites. Twitter’s own fact-checking tool highlights the fact that Facebook is funneling far more visitors to other websites.

Musk's Twitter fact-checker corrects.

Musk’s Twitter fact-checker corrects.

According to CNN, Musk currently runs Twitter with the help of his friends Jason Calacanis and David Sacks, his personal lawyer Alex Spiro, and several software engineers he hired from some of his other companies, including Tesla.

Twitter, which no longer has a communications department, is silent on all of this.

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