A business event called #OneTeam brought together hundreds of Twitter workers in Houston, Texas, in January 2020. Twitter’s CEO at the time, Jack Dorsey, announced his special visitor during the ceremony.
Then, Elon Musk himself emerged on the enormous screens above the stage, waving and smiling. As a whole, the crowd roared its approval and pumped its hands in the air. ‘We love you,’ someone from staff exclaimed.
Twitter Employees Search for Answers as Musk Takeover Becomes
Today on Twitter, unexpected news regarding Musk lands in different ways. After the world’s richest man announced earlier this month that he intended to buy Twitter, remove its content moderation measures, and change the publicly traded firm into a private one, employees have stated they have largely ceased applauding him.
Twitter stated on Monday that they have agreed to Musk’s bid to purchase the firm for roughly $44 billion. Even as Twitter was closing in to a deal with Musk on Monday morning, employees claimed they were angry that they had heard little from management about what it meant for them as the takeover struggle played out over the past two weeks.
Parag Agrawal, CEO of the company, was questioned. They Tweeted queries directly to Musk. Some employees even contacted Charles Schwab, the brokerage firm in charge of their stock options, to get answers to their questions about how a sale of the company would affect them personally.
Twitter employees who asked to remain anonymous because they were not permitted to speak publicly claimed they were not given many answers before Musk’s bid was successful, despite the fact that it was becoming evident that they could soon be reporting to Musk.
Agrawal informed staff on Monday that he would be holding a meeting later that day to address their concerns. “I know this is a huge change and you’re undoubtedly contemplating what this means for you and the future of Twitter,” he wrote in an email to staff.
The Radio Silence That Pervaded the Week of Negotiations is Par for the Course in Hostile Takeover Situations.
The staff is typically kept in the dark as the board of directors meets with consultants such as bankers, attorneys, and costly public relations firms. Twitter has marketed itself as the global town square, so for its employees, it has been particularly galling to learn about the company’s current state mostly through Twitter, the service they created.
Twitter’s more than 7,000 employees are used to upheaval as a result of years of leadership squabbles, demands for change from activist investors, and the boundary-testing tweets of former President Donald Trump.
Several employees, however, have complained that the takeover bid by the unpredictable billionaire has impacted them more than previous company problems. Workers expressed concerns that Musk’s erratic managerial style and abrupt proclamations will upset Twitter’s culture and ruin the years of work put into cleaning up the toxic parts of the network.
Musk, though, has supporters among Twitter’s rank-and-file, and his proposal has been welcomed by certain staff members. When asked if they were excited about Musk, approximately ten people responded with a “Yes” emoji in an internal Slack conversation seen by The New York Times. Twitter’s official spokesperson remained silent.
According to David Larcker, a professor of accounting and corporate governance at Stanford University, most of Twitter’s value lies in the people who construct and operate the service. A potential snag is if the company ends up being vastly different from what they were led to believe they were working for. Working with him is “really awkward,” he admitted.
Some of Musk’s Ambitions have Been Made Obvious in SEC Filings, Tweets, And Public Statements:
The corporation must abandon practically all of its moderation measures that prohibit content like violent threats, harassment, and spam. Facebook needs to be more open about the formula it uses to prioritise certain tweets in users’ newsfeeds.
And, it must transition into a private corporation. Since 2008, when Twitter hired its 25th employee with the express purpose of reducing abuse on the network, it has been steadily increasing its content moderation procedures. Hundreds of people work on the moderation and safety teams.
Six employees spoke out about how many people at Twitter care deeply about the company’s mission to promote healthy dialogue even if they don’t work on content moderation themselves and have urged executives to take stronger action against hate speech and disinformation.
The suggestion Musk made to return to Twitter’s more relaxed, early policies was seen as a criticism of their efforts. Internal texts obtained by the Times show that some staff have complained that the company has moved too far to the left, making it difficult for those who support Musk’s goals to speak up.
About half (44%) of Twitter employees who responded to an anonymous survey on the workplace evaluation app Blind indicated they did not have an opinion on Musk. Two-thirds of respondents liked Musk, while the same number disliked him.
Twitter’s leadership and staff may eventually agree with Musk’s proposed algorithm tweaks, but getting there may take years. Musk’s patience may be put to the test if this happens.
Twitter Employees have Legitimate Fears About their Financial Security in the Wake of Musk’s Acquisition.
It’s common for workers at Twitter to receive half or more of their salary in the form of shares in the company. Workers were concerned about selling their shares at Musk’s price of $54.20 because they would lose out on the stock’s future growth potential.
Twitter’s general counsel, Sean Edgett, reassured staff that any potential acquirer would be obligated to preserve employee equity “as is” or provide similar compensation, such as a cash reward, to ease their financial concerns.
When Edgett spoke out before the contract with Musk was disclosed, he emphasised that his advice should not be interpreted as knowing anything about the negotiations. Messages he sent to staff were read by the Times, and he explained that the purpose of the memos was to “give some piece of mind and explain how these things generally function,” not because the company expected a particular conclusion.
As a Result of its Hiring Frenzy,
Twitter will spend $630 million on stock-based compensation in 2021, a 33% increase over 2020. In its earnings report from February, Twitter estimated that it would spend between $900 million and $925 million on stock-based compensation.
Nevertheless, internal records documenting the company’s hiring efforts that were accessed by the Times show that Musk’s campaign has begun to undermine Twitter’s efforts to recruit new staff.
The memos claim that potential new workers have voiced doubts about Musk’s plans to overhaul Twitter’s content filtering. Prospective employees have expressed concern that their offer letter stock grants may lose value rapidly if Musk is successful in taking Twitter private.
If current employees leave, as some have warned they will if Musk takes over, Twitter’s recruiting problem might inflate even further. Some of the staff members approached Agrawal with concerns about Musk’s leadership, including fears of layoffs and the possible revocation of their work permits.
According to internal documents acquired by the Times, hiring managers have been encouraged to keep track of how many candidates decline job offers due to concerns about Musk.