Not everyone is thrilled that Elon Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder this week. Some Twitter employees are fearful of what the outspoken Tesla CEO will do to the social media company now that he is on the board. Some Twitter employees are even considering quitting.
On Monday, it was revealed that Musk purchased approximately 73.5 million shares of Twitter for about $2.9 billion – providing him with a 9.2% stake in the social media behemoth. Twitter’s stock went from $39 to over $47 since the announcement. Musk bought the stock at an average price of $36.16 per share.
“Musk is looking at an on-paper profit of roughly $1.1 billion on his $2.6 billion investment. That equates to a return of about 40%,” according to CNN.
Musk received warm welcomes from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and cofounder Jack Dorsey.
“I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,” Dorsey tweeted. “Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.”
Agrawal wrote on Twitter, “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board. He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!”
Musk thanked Dorsey, and added, “Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!”
— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)
One of the Twitter improvements that Musk may be hinting at is an edit button. On April 4, Musk asked his over 80 million Twitter followers if the social media platform should add an edit button. More than 4.4 million people responded to the poll, and more than 73% said they wanted an edit button.
The official Twitter Communications account responded by saying the social media platform has “been working on an edit feature since last year,” adding, “No, we didn’t get the idea from a poll.”
However, some Twitter employees are concerned that Musk will influence the direction of the microblogging social network, according to a story from Reuters titled: “Elon Musk’s arrival stirs fears among some Twitter employees.”
“With Musk on the board, the employees said his views on moderation could weaken years-long efforts to make Twitter a place of healthy discourse, and might allow trolling and mob attacks to flourish,” the report claimed.
Musk declared last month, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.” He asked his followers, “Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Over 70% said Twitter did not promote free speech and practiced big tech censorship.
There are some who are worried that Musk – a self-described “free speech absolutist” – will attempt to reinstate former President Donald Trump’s banned Twitter account.
A Twitter employee told Reuters that the company has no plans to reinstate Trump.
A Twitter spokesperson advised that board members play an “important advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service,” but daily operations and decisions are made by Twitter’s management and employees.
“Twitter is committed to impartiality in the development and enforcement of its policies and rules,” the spokesperson said.
However, one employee skeptically asked, “I find it hard to believe (the board) doesn’t have influence. If that’s the case, why would Elon want a board seat?”
“Longer term, employees said Musk’s involvement may change Twitter’s corporate culture, which they say currently values inclusivity,” the report noted.
“Some people are dusting off their resumes,” an unnamed Twitter worker said. “I don’t want to work for somebody [like Musk].”
Twitter employees who contributed to the report requested to be anonymous for fear of retribution from Musk.
The report also noted that some employees were excited because they believe Musk’s involvement “could help quicken the pace of new feature and product launches, and provide a fresh perspective as an active user of Twitter.”
Early Thursday morning, Musk tweeted out a meme of his infamous 2018 appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast of him smoking marijuana with the caption: “Twitter’s next board meeting is going to be lit.”
— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)
Much like Musk’s somewhat frigid reception by some Twitter employees, there was a similar negative reaction by a handful of big tech employees at Spotify after Joe Rogan joined the streaming giant.