Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has left software engineers either sacked or on the brink of resigning as many fear the social media platform may fray so badly it could actually crash. The Tesla boss and the world’s richest man made a grand entrance into San Francisco’s Twitter HQ after he secured the site – and ever since he has been trying new things in a bid to put his stamp on the site. This includes calling upon his workers to up their hours with “higher intensity” or leave – with many choosing to leave the brand as a result.
And recently the billionaire ended a very public argument with nearly two dozen coders over his retooling of the microblogging platform earlier this week by ordering them fired. Hundreds of engineers and other workers then quit after he demanded they pledge to “extremely hardcore” work by Thursday evening or resign with severance pay.
The newest departures mean the platform is losing workers just at it gears up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which opens Sunday. It’s one of Twitter’s busiest events, when tweet surges heavily stress its systems.
“It does look like he’s going to blow up Twitter,” said Robert Graham, a veteran cybersecurity entrepreneur. “I can’t see how the lights won’t go out at any moment” — although many recently departed Twitter employees predicted a more gradual demise.
Hundreds of employees signaled they were leaving ahead of Thursday’s deadline, posting farewell messages, a salute emoji or other familiar symbols on the company’s internal Slack messaging board, according to employees who still have access. Dozens also took publicly to Twitter to announce their departure.
In a move that is also infuriating the platform’s users, Mr Musk posted a poll on Saturday on the reinstatement of former US President Donald Trump’s account.
On Friday, the new Twitter owner said a decision had not been made yet on whether to allow Mr Trump back on the social media platform.
Mr Musk announced that other controversial figures Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson and Babylon Bee would have their accounts reinstated.
He posted: “New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.
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He posted the series of Tweets after stating: “Freedom Fridays …”
Comedian Griffin was banned earlier this month from Twitter under a prohibition of “parody” accounts after changing her account name to match that of the Tesla chief executive.
Right wing author and psychologist Dr Peterson was suspended by Twitter in July after he posted about transgender actor Elliot Page, which the site ruled had violated its rules on “hateful content”.
The account of Christian satirical news site Babylon Bee was suspended for the same reason after it posted in March: “The Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year is Rachel Levine,” referring to the US Assistant Health Secretary, who openly identifies as a trangender woman.
Mr Trump’s account was permanently suspended following the Capitol Hill riots in January 2021.