Inside Twitter HQ panic over Musk takeover – fear of layoffs and return of Trump

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TWITTER employees are feeling every emotion toward their new boss Elon Musk.

Musk’s purchase of the social media platform for $44billion dollars has been a two-week saga of negotiations and public feedback.

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Elon Musk bought about 10% of Twitter on April 4 and made an offer to buy the rest on April 14Credit: AFP – Getty
Twitter's board said it will take about six months for the deal to finalize

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Twitter’s board said it will take about six months for the deal to finalizeCredit: AFP or licensors
Donald Trump has said he would not return to Twitter even if he were unbanned

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Donald Trump has said he would not return to Twitter even if he were unbannedCredit: AFP – Getty

Musk brings an unmistakable touch to each of his companies – he’s hardly the predictable, corporate boss as seen on television.

He’s always been a charismatic leader – when he was removed as CEO of X.com in 2000, his detractors felt it was necessary to take action while Musk was on his honeymoon for fear of him charming the board into keeping him on.

Some 20-plus years later, the top layer of Musk’s portfolio has four multi-billion dollar companies and one trillion-dollar company – he’s the CEO or sole owner of all of them.

Twitter employees are reacting to the news that Musk will be the company’s new owner.

A reporter for The New York Times posted a thread of employee reactions, which quoted a source saying “I feel like I’m going to throw up..I really don’t wanna work for a company that is owned by Elon Musk”.

But others are responding more positively, telling The Washington Post “Elon did not tie up 20 percent of his net worth to destroy Twitter”.

As the richest man in the world, it’s hard to challenge Musk’s ownership savvy – but he’s also touching on delicate nerves for Twitter employees: his lax approach toward moderation and what that attitude will do to the company culture.

Donald Trump’s permanently banned Twitter account is a microcosm of what is on the line for the company.

The Twitter team has spent years designing moderation tactics that were eventually applied against the President of the United States – to undo that and reinstate Trump would tear down some of the barriers Twitter imposed on itself and signal a culture change.

CEO Parag Agrawal told employees “once the deal closes, we will know what direction the platform will go,” on the matter.

Relatedly, employees are facing a potential relocation.

Twitter is headquartered in San Francisco and has a generous work from home policy – Musk could take the company to Texas as he did with Tesla, and he’s publicly antagonized the relaxed work from home policy.

And upper management is not immune to changes that Musk will bring.

Prior to the full acquisition going through, when it looked unsure if he could buy the remaining 90% of Twitter, Musk wrote a scathing review of the above-the-line folks at the app.

“If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder,” Musk said in an April 14 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Agrawal assured there would no layoffs at this moment, but the CEO has a parachute – a stipulation says that if Agrawal is terminated within 12 months of the regime change, he’ll receive a $42million dollar buyout.

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Overall, Musk’s acquisition is one of the most expensive transactions of all time – and some are finding ways to have fun with that fact.

“At press time, Musk was rumored to be securing enough money to rewrite history and make himself a founding father of the United States,” The Hard Times quipped.

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