Elon Musk will let Twitter employees ask him anything after they worry he will make ‘awful changes to company culture’

One Twitter employee who formerly worked at Tesla reportedly said they were ‘extremely unnerved right now, because I’ve seen what he can do firsthand’

Adam Smith
Friday 08 April 2022 12:09 BST
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter is planning an ask-me-anything session with employees after the appointment of Elon Musk to its board, a new report claims.

The announcement comes from chief executive Parag Agrawal. “We say that Twitter is what’s happening and what people are talking about right now. Often, we [at] Twitter are what’s happening and what people are talking about. That has certainly been the case this week,” Mr Agrawal wrote in a email to all employees on Thursday.

“Following our board announcement, many of you have had different types of questions about Elon Musk, and I want to welcome you to ask those questions to him.”

Twitter confirmed the session to the Washington Post, which reported on the story, but declined to comment further.

The news comes as internal debate within the company has sparked from the appointment of Mr Musk to Twitter’s board, after the Tesla executive purchased nearly 10 per cent of the company.

“Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!” Mr Musk wrote.

He had also made numerous tweets beforehand to stoke debate about the need for more content moderation on Twitter and promote himself as a champion of free speech, saying that he was “worried about de facto bias in ‘the Twitter algorithm’ having a major effect on public discourse” and that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy”. Mr Musk also claimed that Twitter serves as the “de facto public town square”.

Experts questioned these statements after pointing out that Mr Musk fired Tesla employees for criticising the company’s self-driving technology.

“Quick question: If an employee tweeted some of the things Elon tweets, they’d likely be the subject” of an HR investigation, one employee reportedly said in one of Twitter’s Slack channel. “Are board members held to the same standard?”

Another said: We know that he has caused harm to workers, the trans community, women, and others with less power in the world … How are we going to reconcile this decision with our values? Does innovation trump humanity?”

Yet another, who apparently worked at Tesla before joining Twitter, said he “witnessed the awful changes in company culture that followed” when Mr Musk became chief executive and that they were “extremely unnerved right now, because I’ve seen what he can do firsthand.”

It is unclear what, if any, changes might come about with Elon Musk on Twitter’s board. The billionaire has had a tumultuous relationship with the platform, using it to allegedly manipulate the stock price of Tesla, inflate the worth of cryptocurrencies, argue with his ex-wife and musician Grimes, and baselessly accuse Vernon Unsworth of paedophilia.

In changes that may affect regular users, Mr Musk tweeted a poll asking whether they wanted an edit button on the platform. Later, in what Twitter insists is a coincidence, the company said it could be bringing out the feature after working on it “since last year”.

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