Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is stirring “fear” among some Twitter employees, according to a new report from Reuters.
Earlier this week, Elon Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder after he purchased a 9.2% stake in the social media firm. He has promised to “make significant improvements to Twitter” and has polled his followers on whether or not Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the principles of free speech.
In the wake of his purchase — after which he received a position on Twitter’s board of directors — many employees are wary of reforms that Musk may bring to the site. Twitter told Reuters that the company’s board “plays an important advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service” while daily decisions are made by Twitter’s management and employees.
One employee found this distinction “hard to believe” and told Reuters, “If that’s the case, why would Elon want a board seat?”
Reuters added that other employees fear Musk will alter Twitter’s “corporate culture” of “inclusivity,” as Musk “has faced widespread criticism for posting memes that mocked transgender people and efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19.”
“Some people are dusting off their resumes,” another employee told the outlet. “I don’t want to work for somebody [like Musk].”
Twitter employees have been the subject of mockery for their favorable view toward censorship — even by others in the technology world. Lulu Cheng Meservey — the vice president of communications for Substack, a platform that supports subscription newsletters — recently jested that Twitter employees should not bother applying to her company if they worry about Musk’s reforms.
“Substack is hiring! If you’re a Twitter employee who’s considering resigning because you’re worried about Elon Musk pushing for less regulated speech… please do not come work here,” she tweeted. “But for everybody else, we really are hiring! Join a talented, determined, passionate, motley team of all backgrounds and beliefs. We debate respectfully, execute maniacally, and live to serve writers and podcasters.”
Indeed, Musk’s takeover of Twitter appears to be at least partially motivated by the company’s censorship. According to Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon, Musk consulted with the Christian satire site — which was suspended from Twitter for an article that jokingly named Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Rachel Levine as “Man of the Year” — before purchasing his stake.
“Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech,” Dillon reported. “He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter. Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.”