Elon Musk has responded to a video that appears to show Twitter employees concerned about his takeover of the company.
In what appeared to be leaked video of internal Slack conversations, Twitter employees raised a number of concerns about Mr Musk’s direction for the company. Staffers appear to have raised concerns about Mr Musk’s comments on trans people and his other positions.
Mr Musk responded with just one word: “interesting”. He gave no indication of his stance on the questions asked or whether he intended to reply to the staff.
Musk’s comments come amid another controversy over employees speaking out at another of his companies, SpaceX. This week, employees are said to have written to management expressing concerns about Mr Musk’s “embarrassing” behavior – and at least some of those employees have reportedly since left the company.
The Twitter talks came as Mr Musk held a live conversation with Twitter employees about his plans to acquire the company. He met with employees virtually to convince them of his plans, in a conversation that suggested he might fire some employees and that there will be changes to the types of tweets promoted by the platform.
“Trust is like trust. I tend to be very literal in what I say… You don’t (have to) read between the lines. You can just read the lines,” Mr Musk said, according to a tweet from Nola Weinstein, Twitter’s global head of brand experiences and engagement.
Ms. Weinstein did not immediately respond to a message for further comment, and subsequently deleted all of her tweets about the meeting. Twitter declined to comment.
According to multiple news reports, Mr Musk also addressed potential layoffs at the company, saying that at the moment “costs outweigh revenues. It’s not a great situation.”
He also addressed growth, saying he’d like to see Twitter reach a billion users – about four times its current user base – and anonymity, where he’d previously caused a stir when he said he wanted “all the people” in verify service.
At the meeting, he clarified that this doesn’t mean everyone on Twitter uses their real name as they do on Facebook, as pseudonyms could allow people to freely express their political views, according to the New York Times.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced the all-hands meeting in an email on Monday, saying they could submit questions in advance.
The meeting is a “clear step in the right direction toward the chances of an agreement, and a smart strategic move given that Twitter staff have been left in the dark over the past few months and have many questions during this volatile period of uncertainty,” he said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.
One of Mr Musk’s key points at the meeting was making Twitter “so compelling you can’t live without it,” Ms Weinstein tweeted.
Mr Musk, who has more than 98 million followers on Twitter and is one of the platform’s most prolific users, also said some people “use their hair to express themselves, I use Twitter,” according to Ms Weinstein.
According to multiple reports, Mr Musk also praised Chinese apps like TikTok, which he says is good at keeping people engaged and not “boring,” and WeChat, which he says could be a good model of what Twitter could be .
Mr Musk inked a deal to acquire Twitter in April but has since clashed repeatedly with the company over the number of bots, or fake accounts, that exist on the social media platform.
Mr Musk said he would put the deal on hold on May 13, although it seems unlikely he can do that alone. He said he needs more data from the company about those bot accounts, even though Twitter has been leaking his bot estimates — and his admission that they may be underestimated — to investors for years.
Twitter staffers might have other reasons to be nervous about Mr Musk’s imminent takeover. The irascible billionaire has taken a slew of criticism at the company, from its moderation and security policies, which he describes as a threat to “freedom of expression,” to its anonymous user accounts, which he would like to delete, to banning former President Donald Trump from the he promised to undo.
Mr Musk has also targeted Twitter’s work-from-home policy after once calling for the company’s headquarters to be turned into a “homeless shelter” because, he said, so few employees actually worked there.
The comment also served as a thinly veiled blow to San Francisco, which has a large homeless population. He said during Thursday’s meeting that, according to Ms. Weinstein, he strongly prefers to work in person.
Additional coverage from the Associated Press
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/news/interesting-elon-musk-responds-as-leaked-chats-appear-to-show-twitter-staff-concerned-about-takeover-41763702.html ‘Interesting’: Elon Musk responds as leaked chats show Twitter officials worried about takeover