According to some American media, hundreds of employees answered “no” to the blackmail of their new boss, who offered to leave or stay to build a “revolutionary 2.0” platform.
Twitter’s future looked uncertain on Friday, November 18, after many of the social network’s influential engineers took Elon Musk at his word, and announced they were leaving rather than staying. “absolutely, unconditionally”. According to former employees and some American media, hundreds of employees responded “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 leave with three months salary. The New York Times advance the number of more than 1,200 new departures since Thursday.
Half of the Californian group’s 7,500 employees were laid off two weeks ago by the multi-billionaire, and around 700 employees resigned during the summer, before the takeover was even confirmed. “My friends are gone, my vision is blurry, the typhoon is coming and there is no financial incentive. What will you do ? Will you sacrifice your time with your children during the holidays for vague promises and (to) enrich a rich man?”summarized Peter Clowes, computer engineer and director at Twitter and “surviving layoffs”according to his LinkedIn profile.
Like many other employees of the Californian group, he detailed his doubts and the reasons for his choice, explaining that he “doesn’t hate Elon Musk”that he understands some of the boss’s decisions and likes them “Seeing Twitter succeed”. But, according to him, only “three engineers at 75” of his team. “If I had stayed, I would have been almost always on duty, with very little indefinite support on complex computer systems in which I had no experience”he says.
Furthermore, “no vision was shared with us. There is no five-year plan like Tesla’s. (…) This is a pure test of loyalty”he explains. “What should Twitter do now?”, Elon Musk tweeted on Friday. The boss of Tesla wanted to buy the California company in the spring, then he didn’t want it anymore in the summer, and was forced to take it at the end of October for 44 billion dollars, to avoid a lawsuit, over excessive debt . . Since the acquisition, he has mobilized teams day and night on controversial projects, which had to be postponed. He launched a massive social plan before having to worry about important people and he made promises to advertisers while threatening them.
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Twitter buildings are closed and inaccessible
Many users of the social network, including former collaborators, journalists and analysts, wonder if the end of Twitter is near. “And…we just hit a new peak in Twitter usage, lol”, for his part quipped Thursday night Elon Musk. He also tweeted a skull and crossbones pirate flag and a meme (parody image), showing a man with a blue bird face, posing in front of a tomb also masked by a blue bird , as if Twitter was gleefully witnessing its own funeral.
On Thursday afternoon, Twitter warned all employees that the company’s buildings are temporarily closed and inaccessible, even with a badge, according to an internal letter published by several American media.
Thursday night, anti-Elon Musk messages were displayed in front of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, right next to the logo, which “Elon Musk, shut up», “Stop toxic Twitter” where “Continue to bankruptcy”, according to photos by Gia Vang, a reporter for the local NBC affiliate. Dozens of current and especially past employees met on Thursday night in a “Spaces”, the platform’s audio lounges, to support each other and share memories. Employees who chose to stay spoke of their unwavering attachment to the social network and their desire to see it survive and even be reborn. “Kudos to all the workers at Twitter. You have created an important place of connection and you deserve better. (…) Thank you”for its part, tweeted the elected Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, while indicating where it can be found on other platforms, in case this is the end of the network of tweets.
Other elected officials and regulators reacted, particularly concerned about the idea that the service’s ability to moderate content was compromised. US senators warn that Elon Musk’s plans “undermine the integrity and security of the platform”. The multi-billionaire “He can’t do what he wants” in Europe, Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, beat franceinfo on Friday. “He knows what the conditions are for the continued operation of Twitter in Europe”he added, emphasizing the need to hire more moderators rather than fire them.
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