Twitter Incorporated employees are facing the whiplash of public discussion from the social network’s potential owner, a transition in leadership, and a recruiting freeze. On top of all that, some will be assigned new roles as the corporation turns away from its riskier ventures.
Executives warned workers of plans to draw back funding for some long-term aspirations, including audio spaces, newsletters, and communities, in favor of focusing on more immediate demands, like user growth and customization initiatives, according to people familiar with the subject. That implies many staff will be shuffled within the company’s consumer goods department, the people said.
Jay Sullivan, who took up product leadership earlier in the month when Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal sacked the division’s prior chief, is leading the restructuring. Workers speculate about layoffs, albeit none are scheduled, according to the company.
“We are making some modifications to our consumer product team structure and roadmap to better focus on areas that will have the greatest positive impact on the public conversation,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement.
Teams inside Twitter continue to develop an edit button functionality, a person familiar with the situation said. The intention is to implement the upgrade later this year, allowing users to alter a tweet inside a time-limited window of sending it. The tweet’s earlier history will also be available for viewing, the individual said.
It may be months until Twitter is under the hands of its eventual owner, Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The world’s richest man agreed to acquire Twitter for $54.20 a share in late April, a figure that values the firm at about $44 billion, although the deal has not yet concluded. Employees are struggling with reconciling what might be the best financial outcome for stockholders, including them, with the chaos of working through the wait.
Musk’s continuous tweeting, including taunting of Twitter staff, has confused the experience. Workers’ comments in internal Slack channels suggest Musk has alienated some of them by attacking Twitter’s regulations around speech while abuse and calling out the company’s senior lawyer, Vijaya Gadde, who is very well internally.
Musk gave workers even more reason for anxiety this week after he purportedly sent an email to personnel at Elon with a subject line: “Working remotely is no longer acceptable” [sic]. He claimed that “anyone who intends to conduct telework must be in the workplace for a minimum (and I repeat *least*) of forty hours per week or exit Tesla. This is less than we require of factory workers.” Such a strategy would run opposite to Twitter’s present posture, which is one of the most renowned big tech companies to enable most workers to work from home permanently.
In one internal chat immediately before the Tweet board accepted the acquisition, an employee questioned if anyone was “excited about the notion of having Elon on board?” The query elicited 446 replies from dozens of employees over three days, many of them critical, according to posts examined by Bloomberg. Some remarked that Musk didn’t seem to appreciate the issues Twitter has a surrounding speech or developing a social network more generally. Others were pleased about Musk or at least felt his bid was a better alternative than keeping the existing course or selling to private equity.
Twitter managers have used recent worker meetings to highlight that the company’s board does have a fiduciary duty to achieve the best possible result for shareholders. In a recent post, an employee stated that Musk “means putting the douche in the trustee.”
News reports on May 18 from Insider that Musk resolved a sexual harassment lawsuit with a current SpaceX employee worth $250,000 led to a new generation of internal posts.
“Is there going to be enough response from Twitter management around Elon Musk’s alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault here?” one employee questioned on Slack. “As a woman working at Twitter, I find this radio silence quite disheartening.” Twitter’s leaders have yet to address the news article with employees, according to two people.
When Musk wrote a recent tweet on former CEO Jack Dorsey quitting the company’s board, he included a sexual joke that also evidently criticized the latest harassment report. Dorsey answered with a tweet of his own that featured a horse emoji, apparently a response to a reported detail that Tesla offered to buy the victim a pony in exchange for a sensual massage. That debate also made it to Tweet internal message boards. “Would anyone feel so proud?” a Twitter staffer posted, mockingly.
In addition to the uncertainty over the reorganization and the reaction to Musk’s unexpected tweeting, the staff is also battling with the hiring freeze and other cutting costs measures Twitter had implemented to sustain the firm amid a challenging period for the larger economy. Those reductions included repealing offers that were already given to some prospective new workers.
In one instance, a worker expecting to join the Tweets office in Mexico City from of the Bay Area discovered just four days before his launch date that his new job had been recalled. That sent him racing to get his old job back, and quickly tarnished his impression on the organization he was enthused about.