The billionaire and CEO of Tesla has become the owner of Twitter, which he is about to start shaping in his own way.
Everyone is curious to know what he plans to do with the social network, considered the town square where trendsetters and opinion makers meet.
Many also fear that there is a change coming in the content moderation policy. They fear, in particular, the return to the platform of hateful, racist and bullying posts and also a proliferation of misinformation.
The billionaire CEO of Tesla himself has just promoted false information. He questioned the police account, according to which, Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked by a fan of conspiracy theories and close to the racist far-right QAnon movement.
To support his point, Musk accompanied his post with a link to the Santa Monica Observer, a media known to convey false information.
He later deleted his post.
Fears related to the moderation of content are not the only concerns around the social network. Twitter employees fear measures of austerity, which would manifest themselves into a drastic reduction in the workforce.
Their fears were confirmed by media reports on October 29.
Musk Denies Job Cuts
According to the New York Times, Musk has ordered managers to draw up lists of employees who will be laid off. The newspaper, which cites unnamed sources, says the layoffs will take place before November 1, when employees are due to receive their stock grants, which constitute part of their pay.
If the employees are laid off before November 1, Musk will not have to pay the grants. He will only pay them cash, as outlined in the deal to acquire the platform for $44 billion that he signed with the firm.
But a day after this article, Musk issued a scathing denial.
“@elonmusk is making sure to fire people at Twitter before part of their year-end compensation *kicks in on Tuesday,* ” a journalist from Propublica posted on Twitter on October 30, with an excerpt of the New York Times report.
Musk didn’t hesitate to comment.
“This is false,” the billionaire said, without providing additional details.
Rumors of massive job cuts at Twitter have been circulating for several weeks. The Washington Post reported that Musk planned to cut 75% of the workforce, which would amount to 5,625 jobs, given that Twitter employs 7,500 people.
So far, Musk has officially only fired four top executives.
He fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, as well as Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and trust, a source told TheStreet. Sean Edgett, the general counsel, was also fired, according to the New York Times. The sources told the newspaper that Edgett was escorted out of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters after being fired.
Gadde was in the line of fire as she oversaw Twitter’s content policy. And it was her team which had recommended, according to the press, the suspension of the account of former President Donald Trump after the events of January 6, 2021 on Capitol Hill.
Segal recounted, in a series of posts, the challenges working at Twitter during the past six months, as Musk had originally made his unsolicited bid for the microblogging website in April.
“The past 6 months have pulled on every mental muscle I’ve developed in 48 years,” he tweeted on October 29. “You learn so much when times are challenging and unpredictable, when we are tired or feel our integrity questioned. Our team remained kind, respectful, and steadfast. They’re lifelong friends.”
In addition to the dismissal of these top executives, Musk also announced the establishment of a council which will examine what to do with banned accounts like Trump’s, and decide which posts will be acceptable on the platform.