Elon Musk, the new would-be owner of Twitter, talked to the corporate’s staff for the primary time at the moment in a Q&A session. The assembly was meant to be a possibility for him to assuage worker considerations after the Tesla CEO publicly criticized the company, its leadership, and the number of spambots on the platform in current weeks. However Musk’s responses on some key matters like layoffs, content material moderation, and distant work have been obscure. They possible did little to fulfill staff nervous about Elon’s management, based on a number of staffers who talked to Recode after the assembly and inside Slack conversations considered by Recode.
“I really like Twitter,” Musk stated at first of the assembly, based on a recording of the assembly obtained by Recode. Musk, who dialed in round 10 minutes late to the videoconference, apparently from his cellphone, added, “Some individuals use their hair to specific themselves, I take advantage of Twitter. I discover it’s the perfect discussion board for speaking with lots of people concurrently, and getting that message on to individuals.”
Within the assembly, Musk appeared to again away from a extra absolutist stance toward “freedom of speech” on the platform. He stated that whereas individuals ought to have a proper to freedom of speech, they don’t essentially have “freedom of attain,” that means that Twitter doesn’t should amplify concepts like Holocaust denial on the platform. Whereas his reply on this subject was extra nuanced than a few of his earlier statements, it nonetheless appears unlikely to totally reply worker questions on how precisely Musk will change the corporate’s strategy to moderating hateful and violent speech.
“There’s freedom of speech or freedom of attain,” Musk stated. “And freedom of speech is one factor, as a result of, like, anybody might simply go into the center of Occasions Sq. proper now and say something they need, they might simply stroll into the center of Occasions Sq. and deny the Holocaust, okay? You’ll be able to’t cease them, they’ll simply try this. However that doesn’t imply you must — that it must be promoted to tens of millions of individuals.”
Within the 45-minute assembly, Musk didn’t go into an excessive amount of element about his tactical plans as Twitter’s proprietor, giving non-committal solutions about whether or not he has plans to put off employees or drive staff who’re working remotely again within the workplace.
Twitter CMO Leslie Berland requested Musk chosen questions that staff had submitted within the days forward of the assembly, lots of which have been vital or pressed for extra particulars about his plans to run the corporate. When requested about how he’s fascinated about layoffs at Twitter, Musk replied vaguely.
“The corporate does must get wholesome. Proper now, the prices exceed the income. In order that’s not an awesome state of affairs to be in,” Musk stated. “And so there must be some rationalization of the headcount and bills to have income be better than the fee. In any other case, Twitter is just not viable.”
“Anybody who is clearly, like, a big contributor, ought to don’t have anything to fret about,” Musk clarified. He equally stated that if an worker is “distinctive” then distant work is ok, however that the “bias may be very a lot towards in-person work.”
Since first placing in his $44 billion bid to buy Twitter in April, Musk has created a flurry of uncertainty concerning the deal, at one level tweeting that it was “on maintain” as a result of his considerations concerning the prevalence of spambots on the platform. The transfer raised questions on whether or not Musk was making an attempt to renegotiate the deal at a cheaper price or making an attempt to again out altogether.
Whereas some staff are excited for Musk’s arrival and hope he can assist the corporate develop its dimension and profitability, the volatility across the deal and Musk’s unclear idea of freedom of speech have left many Twitter staff nervous about how he plans to deal with the platform as soon as he’s in cost.
“He’s demonstrating a harmful lack of know-how about technical, coverage, and operational issues,” stated one Twitter worker after the assembly, who has been granted anonymity over worry of retaliation. “The issue is that that lack might adversely have an effect on the entire world. This isn’t nearly staff. Workers care concerning the affect of their product on the earth.”
Musk, nonetheless, appeared assured in his means to run Twitter. When requested what he has an understanding of and what he must study concerning the firm, Musk stated he will get Twitter as a result of he’s an excellent consumer (Musk is among the platform’s most-followed accounts with 98.3 million followers).
“I actually am going to have a powerful understanding of the product as a result of I take advantage of Twitter on daily basis, virtually,” stated Musk. “What I’ve much less understanding of is, you realize, like, this form of bot spam or multi-user account — principally, something that impacts the monetizable every day consumer numbers might be my greatest concern.”
Musk agreed to return to a different Q&A with Twitter staff if there have been extra questions.