After news broke that Twitter had made an agreement for Elon Musk to buy the social media company, employees were seen reacting in alarm over the impending purchase. But Musk may end up being the innovator that the company needs to return it to a focus on free speech.
After some employees expressed fear over the deal on Monday afternoon, the company’s current slate of chiefs held an “all-hands” meeting to try and answer some questions and put employees more at ease about the situation.
Still, one Twitter employee had the opposite reaction to the alarmists who are worried that Musk will somehow ruin the social media company. An employee on the company’s artificial intelligence team said he hopes his fellow workers will calm down a bit and just wait to see what happens.
In an article published by Insider, the worker — who wished to stay anonymous to avoid being attacked and destroyed by Twitter’s famously woke and militant workers — said that when he gets back to in-person work, he wants to “help calm people down.”
“I plan to return to the office and meet people at work. I’m hoping to take the pulse and help calm people down. It feels like there are a lot of vocal voices that have people worried for good and bad reasons. But I hope we can minimize some of these worries,” he said adding a voice of reason to the din.
He also said that Musk is a “determinate optimist and a hardened pragmatist” and will likely be good for the company.
“Historically, Twitter has been slow. It’s doing fine. But it doesn’t charge forward. I’m not saying that will absolutely happen with Musk, and there are obviously good and bad to the culture he instills, but I think Twitter can learn quite a lot from his willingness to try new things,” the employee exclaimed.
“You need a determinate optimist and a hardened pragmatist to make the world better,” he added.
It remains to be seen if Elon Musk can reverse the deeply ingrained hate for free speech that is almost a decade in the making at Twitter, but if he can’t do it, it seems likely no one can.
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One worry some workers had was that Musk might invite ex-President Donald Trump back to Twitter. During their “all hands” meeting, Agrawal and Taylor said they could not answer that, adding that it is a question only Musk can answer.
Twitter banned Trump in January 2021, with an absurd accusation that he violated the social media giant’s “glorification of violence” policy in the wake of the Capitol incursion. The company said the then-president was permanently suspended “due to the risk of further incitement of violence” — though he never once did such a thing.
However, Trump himself has said he has no desire whatever to return to Twitter.
“You know, Twitter’s become very boring. They’ve gotten rid of a lot of their good voices on Twitter — a lot of their conservative voices,” he added.
While Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Board Chair Bret Taylor couldn’t answer every question or explain every possible scenario, they did try to calm rattled nerves by saying vesting programs and benefits would not change, at least for a year, CNN Business noted.
Agrawal also noted that no layoffs are expected any time soon.
“Between now and closing … we will continue making decisions as we’ve always had, guided by the principles we’ve had,” Agrawal said. “That doesn’t mean things won’t change, things have been changing … I have been talking about driving positive change at the company, and I will continue doing so because it makes us better and it makes us stronger. Once the deal closes, different decisions might be made.”
So, maybe Twitter’s radical, left-wing employees might take some solace in all that.
In any case, Musk has said that he is very interested in making Twitter a place for free speech again, contrary to its last years of heavy censorship.
On Monday, Musk reiterated that pledge, saying, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.” He added that “Twitter has tremendous potential — I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”
🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
Many of Twitter’s hard-core, left-wing employees have been commenting on the impending sale, and acting as if Armageddon has come to the company.
Former board member Bijan Sabet, for instance, took to his Twitter account to say that he wished that the company had rebuffed Musk’s offer:
Fourteen years ago we turned down FB. While I wish the current board voted to remain independent, I still love Twitter the product and community as much as ever.
— Bijan Sabet (@bijan) April 25, 2022
But Twitter’s top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, had an even more overwrought reaction. Gadde, who is reportedly responsible for some of the worst efforts to eliminate free speech on the platform (such as permanently banning Trump), apparently broke down in tears in front of staffers.
That Gadde felt the need to grieve the fact that Twitter is preparing to have free speech return to its service reveals how far this company has drifted away from freedom, liberty and American ideals.
Other employees have been just as shrill and strident over Musk’s possible plans for the company.
For just a few examples:
Cassie Nick Rumbaugh, a data scientist at Twitter, is among the employees and contractors very upset that @elonmusk is now the largest stakeholder in Twitter.
“A prominent transphobe buying a large stake in Twitter is not at all funny,” she says. pic.twitter.com/gFSy52YsTZ
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) April 4, 2022
— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) April 4, 2022
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) April 26, 2022
The problem with @elonmusk is that he has demonstrated a pattern of harmful behavior consistently that disproportionately impacts marginalized people, so maybe let’s not give him any more power than he already stole? https://t.co/NcAxBujS9o
— Jay Holler 🎧 (@jayholler) April 5, 2022
Regardless, the employee recommending calm is right. Time will tell and the employees need to just chill out a bit and wait for some actual developments before they get all churned up.