L’The future of Twitter looked uncertain on Friday after the departure of several engineers from the influential social network who refused to give their all “absolutely, unconditionally”, to the new terms dictated by Elon Musk.
According to former employees and some American media, hundreds of employees answered “no” to the ultimatum of the new owner and boss, who gave them a choice between working tirelessly “to build a revolutionary Twitter 2.0” or departure. with three months salary.
Half of the California group’s 7,500 employees were already dismissed by the multi-billionaire two weeks ago, and about 700 employees resigned during the summer, before it was even confirmed that the acquisition would take place.
“My friends are gone, the vision is blurry, the storm is coming and there is no financial incentive. What are you going to do? Are you going to sacrifice your time with your children during the holidays for vague promises and (to ) make someone rich. richer?”, summarized Peter Clowes, computer engineer and director at Twitter and “survivor of layoffs”, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Like many other employees of the Californian group, he detailed his doubts about the social network, explaining that he does not “hate Elon Musk” and wants to “see Twitter succeed”.
But according to him, there are only “three engineers out of the 75” in his team. “If I had stayed, I would have been almost always on duty, with very little unspecified support on complex computer systems in which I had no experience,” he said.
In addition, “no vision was shared with us. There was no five-year plan like Tesla’s. (…) It was a pure test of honesty”, he explained.
“What should Twitter do now?” Elon Musk tweeted on Friday morning, seemingly impervious to the chaos around him.
He then announced that some suspended user accounts had been restored to the platform, but that he “hasn’t made a decision about (Donald) Trump yet.”
“The policy of the new Twitter is freedom of expression, but not the freedom to reach” the public, he tweeted again, promising to demote “hate tweets” in the future.
On Friday night, he launched a new poll: “Readmit former President Trump? Yes/No”, accompanied by a tweet: “Vox populi, Vox Dei” (“The voice of the people is the voice of God”).
Meanwhile, many users of the social network, including former employees, journalists and analysts, have wondered if the end of Twitter is not near.
Because the eccentric entrepreneur mobilized teams day and night on controversial projects, then postponed. He launched a massive social plan before important people had to be remembered. He made promises to advertisers while scaring the runaways.
According to a former company engineer, the risk of breakdowns increases due to the increasing difficulty in delivering technical skills, even though there are still qualified people and strong safety systems.
“And… we just hit a new peak in Twitter usage, lol,” Elon Musk quipped Thursday night, after a series of humorous tweets including a skull and crossbones pirate flag.
“Stop toxic Twitter”
On Thursday afternoon, Twitter warned all employees that the company’s buildings were temporarily closed and inaccessible, even with a badge, until Monday.
But on Friday, Elon Musk wrote to developers asking them to come “to the tenth floor at 2 pm” after emailing him a recap of their recent work, according to an unnamed source.
Other employees, who refused the ultimatum, lost access to their laptops.
The multibillionaire wanted to buy the California company in the spring, then he no longer wanted it in the summer, and was forced to take it for 44 billion dollars at the end of October, to avoid a lawsuit, by putting it in big debt
Since then, it has further divided the die-hards, those who want to believe in the brilliant engineer, and those who dedicate him to hatred.
“It feels like the sky is falling on us right now, but maybe it’s not, maybe it’s a transition to something else,” said John Wihbey, a media professor at Northeastern. University.
“But if he continues all this madness and alienates the rest of the important engineers, he could drive the network over the cliff,” he acknowledges.
Thursday night, anti-Elon Musk messages were displayed in front of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, including “Elon Musk, shut up”, “Stop toxic Twitter” or “Forward to bankruptcy”, from photo by NBC reporter Gia Vang.
19/11/2022 05:08:44 – San Francisco (AFP) – © 2022 AFP