Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO, has sparked feelings of “fear” throughout quite a few employees at Twitter, as reported by a recent release from Reuters.
Earlier on this past week, Elon Musk cemented himself as the largest shareholder of Twitter in the wake of a purchase of a 9.2% stake in the social media titan. He has issued a promise to “make significant improvements to Twitter” and has put out polls on his personal Twitter asking his followers about whether or not Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the standard principles of free speech.
After securing his purchase, which ended up giving him a spot on the board of directors for Twitter, quite a few of the employees started to fear possible reforms that Musk may end up bringing to the site. In statements to Reuters, Twitter stated that the company’s board “plays an important advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service” while the overall daily choices are done by the employees and management of the platform.
One employee stated that this distinction was “hard to believe” and stated to the outlet, “If that’s the case, why would Elon want a board seat?”
Reuters went on to state that many other employees still fear that Musk will change Twitter’s “corporate culture” of “inclusivity,” as Musk “has faced widespread criticism for posting memes that mocked transgender people and efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.”
“Some people are dusting off their resumes,” stated another employee to Reuters. “I don’t want to work for somebody [like Musk].”
The employees of Twitter have been the target of quite a bit of mockery for their stance in favor of censorship, even by quite a lot of their peers in the technology world. The vice president of communications for Substack–a platform that supports subscription newsletters–, Lulu Cheng Meservey, recently went out and joked about the subject that Twitter employees should not even try to send in an application to her company if they think that the reforms from Musk will be scary.
“Substack is hiring! If you’re a Twitter employee who’s considering resigning because you’re worried about Elon Musk pushing for less regulated speech… please do not come work here,” she stated in a tweet. “But for everybody else, we really are hiring! Join a talented, determined, passionate, motley team of all backgrounds and beliefs. We debate respectfully, execute maniacally, and live to serve writers and podcasters.”
Overall, this takeover of Twitter by Musk seems to be, at least in part, caused by the platform’s insane censorship. According to Seth Dillon, the CEO of Babylon Bee, Musk talked with the Christian satire site, which was banned from Twitter over a piece that jokingly named Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine as “Man Of The Year,” just before making his 9.2% purchase.
“Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech,” claimed Dillon. “He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.”