Following the announcement of the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk for $44 billion earlier this week, employees have taken to multiple social media outlets and traditional news publications to voice their opinion about the takeover. Internal messaging has found that many employees have seen the sale as negative, while many users have begun looking for alternative sites similar to Twitter.
The Globe talked with a few current Twitter employees in San Francisco on Thursday about what employees think about the takeover several days in. And they told us that the mood, as well as employees excitement over the sale, has been all over the place.
“It’s pins and needles here right now,” said Twitter employee “David” to the Globe on Thursday. “Employees I knew to be chipper or happy-go-lucky have looked like they have just gotten back from a funeral all week. Others who are usually quiet now have smirks on their faces. It just doesn’t feel the same here.”
When asked if employees are divided on the sale of Twitter to Musk, both employees the Globe talked to audibly laughed.
“You’re right, there is a huge divide here,” explained David. “A lot, and I’ll say the majority, of people here do not want Musk here. I heard every curse word said about him here. We just don’t know what Musk will ultimately do or order, but the fact that he has been mentioning free speech so much has been a red flag for some. We’ve been working hard to cull hate speech through everything from tweet removal to banning people. Most famously we did that against Donald Trump last year. Now we’re worried that Musk may back away from the measures we have in place. He recently tweeted out ‘I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means’ and that has been another red flag to some.”
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
“Some have seen it as good, but others see it as paving the way for hate speech to come back in.”
Many at Twitter don’t know how to feel about sale
“Saanvi,” another Twitter employee who spoke with the Globe, added, “There are also fears of the company moving out of San Francisco. Politicians from Texas, Florida, and Tennessee have already called on our company to move. A few are excited by this, but the majority of people don’t want to leave and said that they’d rather quit. Texas and Florida have a bunch of worrisome laws that would effect employees here or their allies. And Tennessee? Everyone is dismissing that option. This may have just been my group of friends, but when we began reading a blurb about it, all I had to say was ‘Country music capitol’ and everyone just jumped ship at that alone.”
David chimed in, saying “And that’s moving. A lot of employees are currently looking for other jobs right now. I noticed a lot of people just updated their Linkedin accounts in the last few days, while others have said that they will be looking around. No matter what, there will be a brain drain from Twitter.”
“Oh, and crypto,” said Saanvi, “A lot of people are worried about crypto integration or cryptocurrency being more prominent on Twitter. We really don’t want that here. A lot of us think that crypto is a pyramid scheme, so if they try and push it, they could lose even more of us.”
Other employees are happy about it though.
“You won’t find many publicly saying it, but there are some here happy about Musk coming in,” said David. “They think that he will clean up the company and put it on better legs. Some who were seriously into crypto and really big followers of Musk have just been super excited at it all. And it’s weird, because they usually don’t talk too much except about crypto. Their hero is now running the company.”
Others hold a more nuanced view and are refraining from judging just yet.
“I think anyone deserves a chance to prove themselves,” said Saanvi. “My dad got funding for a tech company here in the 90’s after trying at other places who he said didn’t want him because of his caste or how he appeared. That’s more superficial and racist than what is happening here, but Musk is a billionaire and founded Tesla. Do you know how many employees here drive a Tesla? But that’s it. Many here are just waiting to see what exactly happens because he hasn’t made any changes yet.”
“Maybe he will keep hate speech restrictions up. Maybe he will institute some new rules that will quiet naysayers. We just don’t know. Even some who don’t like Musk have said that they’ll stick around to see what he does. Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise us.”
David then summed it up.
“The majority of employees don’t like this, but yeah, a lot of us are staying to see what he will do too. But there is a lot of worry here. The whole atmosphere just changed. It’s still the same building and offices and everything. It’s just all different now.”
When hanging up, Saanvi said just before clicking off her phone, “I really don’t want to move.”