‘The PR speak is not landing’: Twitter employees blast Elon Musk takeover at emergency meeting

Disquiet has swelled inside the Silicon Valley firm since Elon Musk reached a deal to buy the company

Rachel Sharp
Saturday 30 April 2022 21:24
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<p>Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has divided opinion </p>

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has divided opinion

Twitter employees have blasted Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media giant at an emergency company meeting, telling executives that “the PR speak is not landing”.

CEO Parag Agrawal held a company-wide town hall on Friday, heard by Reuters, where concerned staffers questioned whether their jobs would be safe once the Tesla entrepreneur takes control.

Reports of disquiet inside the Silicon Valley firm have swelled ever since Mr Musk reached a deal to buy the company back on Monday.

The world’s richest man agreed to buy Twitter for $44bn – $54.20 cash per share – taking the firm private in a shock deal that has divided opinion across the globe.

Hundreds of thousands of users have already quit the platform in protest while questions are growing over whether Mr Musk will allow banned people – such as Donald Trump – back online.

Mr Musk fuelled speculation that banned accounts could make a return in his statement following the announcement of the deal.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” he said.

It has since emerged, in a report by the Wall Street Journal, that a close associate of Mr Musk has already told far-right activist Charles Johnson that he can get his account back when the Tesla boss takes the helm.

Mr Johnson was banned from Twitter back in 2015 after he fundraised on the site to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist.

When asked when he could expect to return to Twitter, he was reportedly told: “Hopefully soon.”

In the days since the sale was announced, Mr Musk has also hit out at senior Twitter executives on the platform, including sparking a barrage of criticism towards the firm’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde.

In Friday’s meeting, angry staff members spoke out against the sale and demanded answers from the company about how it would respond to an anticipated mass exodus of staff, Reuters reported.

Mr Agrawal sought to reassure staffers that there had been no major exodus so far following the announcement but that the company would be monitoring the situation.

Another employee raised concerns about job security following reports that Mr Musk is already mulling job cuts and salary cuts for executives and board members.

“I’m tired of hearing about shareholder value and fiduciary duty. What are your honest thoughts about the very high likelihood that many employees will not have jobs after the deal closes?” the employee asked.

The CEO reponded that Twitter had always cared about its employees and that he believes the company will “continue to care about its impact on the world and its customers” going forwards.

Despite attempts to quell employee concerns, one employee told Reuters that the workforce doesn’t have faith in the message being pushed by the executives.

“The PR speak is not landing,” they said.

“They told us don’t leak and do a job you are proud of, but there is no clear incentive for employees to do this.”

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