Elon Musk’s bid for Twitter sparks fear and anger for employees

As news of Elon Musk’s hostile takeover bid spread all over Twitter on Thursday, employees expressed concern that their workplaces could suffer under the scorching tech mogul, as well as fatigue due to the company’s uncertain future.

In recent weeks, Musk has ridiculed Twitter on the social network, reducing key company decisions to polls of his nearly 80 million followers — and disrupting the company’s “Focus Week,” when he scaled back unnecessary meetings to give employees time to focus on their projects, with news take it on Thursday.

That afternoon, CEO Parag Agrawal held a company-wide meeting to reassure his workforce of 7,500 full-time employees by saying that one man can’t change a culture and that it was up to the company to set strategy, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. On his identity to discuss sensitive matters.

The reputation that Musk has built for himself, in part through his Twitter trolling, is emerging as a burden on the social media company’s employees. Twitter is known for its liberal workforce and flexible work environment. On the other hand, Musk appears to be making fun of gender pronouns, and he has spread the coronavirus misinformationHis company, Tesla, has been the target of multiple lawsuits over allegations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment.

On Thursday, several employees tweeted their displeasure with Musk.

Employee dissatisfaction could be a factor in the decision facing Twitter’s board of directors as it weighs Musk’s bid, valuing the company at $43 billion, and takes it separately. In addition to evaluating the financial details of Musk’s offer, board members will likely consider Musk’s potential leadership pieces as the company grapples with significant business and political challenges.

Billionaire Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, on April 13 offered to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Reuters)

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Twitter’s Agrawal, who took over as CEO only in December, ended up in an uncomfortable position to respond to staff criticism of Musk at an umbrella meeting on Thursday. He has taken up a wide range of questions from Twitter staffers about Musk’s bid to buy the company, including how he treats people of color at his company Tesla and the billionaire’s strong support for free speech on social media. Others asked for employee representation on the board of directors and what would happen to Twitter employees’ restricted stock units if the company was taken private, People said.

Some walked away frustrated by Agrawal’s assertions, saying they felt like hollow words.

One said, “People are obviously frustrated because the staff seems to be just an afterthought.”

Twitter employees faced a tumultuous month as Musk first took a huge stake in the company, then agreed to join the board of directors, and then left before he joined. The news that Musk had made an offer to take the company private, on Thursday, caused a tremble in the workforce, which was already concerned about his leadership style.

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“Musk taking over Twitter would be a nightmare for many employees who worked under the Dorsey and Twitter system,” said Daniel Ives, managing director and senior equity research analyst at financial services firm Wedbush Securities, referring to Jack Dorsey, the company’s former CEO. “I expect a torrent of resumes, if Musk eventually takes over Twitter. And I think there’s a big shake-up going to happen there one way or the other.”

Twitter declined to comment. Musk did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier Thursday during a TED Talk in Vancouver, Musk said he would err on the side of free speech. “I think we want to be very reluctant to delete things and… just be very careful with permanent bans,” he said, adding that he prefers timeouts.

Last week, Musk revealed that he had bought more than 9 percent of the shares in Twitter, and the next day, Agrawal announced that Musk would join the board of directors. On Sunday evening, Agrawal issued a later announcement saying that Musk had refused the seat.

Even before his takeover bid, some Twitter employees resist Last week to support Musk’s involvement with the company because they said his values ​​appeared to contradict the company, according to internal letters seen by The Washington Post. Several employees have indicated in internal letters that Musk, who sees himself as a champion of free speech, has Back To express contempt use gender pronouns.

“We know it has caused harm to workers, the transgender community, women and others who have less influence in the world,” one employee asked. “How are we going to reconcile this decision with our values? Is innovation outperforming humanity?”

When Musk was still on the board, Agrawal said he would hold a town hall with Musk so employees could ask them questions.

Adding to Twitter’s staff panic on Thursday, the takeover offer came in the middle of the company’s “focus week,” when it cuts down on unnecessary meetings to give employees time to focus on their projects, after a “day off” on Monday when everyone gets shut down.

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On Thursday, another worker described Musk’s behavior as bullying in a tweet. “The ‘Titter’ is trending right now because he’s decided – like a playground serving his followers – to joke around on his Twitter account,” the employee wrote. “And we all know the joke isn’t really the point. Humiliation is.”

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Tesla’s factory in the Gulf region has been the subject of accusations of worker mistreatment, labor rights abuse, racism and sexual harassment. The plant, which hosts more than 20,000 workers, according to Tesla, is the company’s busiest, as it builds its Model 3, Y, S and X cars.

The California workplace regulator sued Tesla in February alleging rampant racial discrimination, saying it had received hundreds of complaints from workers regarding its plant in Fremont, California. In a separate lawsuit, Tesla was ordered to pay millions to a former elevator worker who alleged a hostile work environment and racial harassment. Several women have filed sexual harassment complaints against Tesla alleging that they have been subjected to obscene comments, harassment, inappropriate touching and discrimination in its facilities.

Tesla has denied promoting a culture of racism and harassment, and has sought to transfer some cases to arbitration so matters can be dealt with out of court.

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The Fremont plant also became the subject of controversy in early 2020, when Musk defiantly reopened the plant despite county-wide in-place protection orders that would have prevented workers from working. Musk promised workers to stay home if they felt uncomfortable. The Post later reported that some workers received termination notices despite the policy.

Tesla employees who spoke with The Post on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said they feared going public, in part because a fellow employee was fired this year after videos of the company’s “full self-driving” program were posted on YouTube. These clips were later analyzed by The Post.

“these [workers] said one of the workers at the Tesla factory, who said they feared angering Musk himself. He rules with an authoritarian fist.

In addition to being the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, Musk also founded The Boring Co. and Neuralink, which seeks to implant computer chips into people’s brains.

If the acquisition succeeds, Musk will inherit a company that has been racing to grow its user base and revenue after years of lackluster financial performance. Twitter is the smaller counterpart to social media rivals like Facebook and TikTok – both of which have amassed over a billion users – and has had problems with declining user growth and monetization concerns. Twitter has an estimated 217 million daily users by comparison.

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Twitter is known to be slow in launching new products and features. After activist investor Elliot Management It took In 2020, Twitter has set several ambitious goals for users and revenue growth by the end of 2023.

The company has recently gone through a major change in leadership. In December, Agrawal, who had spent four years as chief technology officer, succeeded Dorsey as CEO. Dorsey has also served as CEO of both Twitter and online payments company Square, which has drawn criticism from investors that his time was too divided.

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“Can you anticipate a scenario where if he takes over, he will make changes to the management team?” asked Mark Shmlick, managing director of the research firm AllianceBernstein. “It sure does look that way but [it’s] It’s hard to say.”

Twitter is investing in new products such as the Twitter Spaces audio chatroom feature, which was supposed to rival the start-up club. Musk has already hinted that he thinks changes could be made to Twitter Blue, the company’s new subscription Services It gives paid customers special features including the freedom to cancel tweets.

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Conflicts with employees can arise if Musk takes matters into his own hands and actively says, “Stop what you’re doing right now. That’s what I want you to focus on,” Shmulek said.

Stimulating even more employee anxiety is the possibility that Musk will change the way the company handles political content that might violate its rules on hate speech, harassment and threats.

In the past, Twitter was willing to go beyond its social media peers to punish political leaders for violating its terms. Twitter also took the unprecedented step of banning former President Donald Trump permanently for his role in fanning the rioters who stormed the US Capitol last year, prompting a backlash from conservatives that the company was stifling their views.

On Thursday at a TED conference, Musk said that freedom of speech means allowing others to express opinions you disagree with.

“It’s annoying when someone you don’t like says something you don’t like,” he said. “This is a sign of a healthy and active state of freedom of expression.”

The chief technology officer said in a letter to Twitter’s chairman, Brett Taylor, that he believed the company had “the potential to be a platform for freedom of expression around the world” – something he deemed critical to a well-functioning democracy.

He believes that “the company will not thrive and will not serve this societal necessity in its current form. Twitter needs to transform into a private company.”

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