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Some Twitter Employees Fearful Of Arrival Of Elon Musk As Biggest Investor

Some Twitter Employees Fearful Of Arrival Of Elon Musk As Biggest Investor
According to Reuters, news of Tesla CEO Elon Musk gaining a board seat at Twitter has some Twitter employees concerned about the social media company's ability to police content.
Within hours of the stunning announcement this week that Musk, a self-described "free speech absolutist," had acquired enough shares to become the largest shareholder in Twitter, political conservatives began calling for Trump's return on social media. Following the Jan. 6 Capitol incident, the former US president was blocked from Facebook and Twitter due to concerns about instigation of violence.
"Now that @ElonMusk is Twitter's largest shareholder, it's time to lift the political censorship. Oh… and BRING BACK TRUMP!," tweeted Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert on Monday.
Despite Twitter's reiteration this week that the board does not make policy decisions, four Twitter employees who spoke with Reuters said they were concerned about Musk's ability to influence the company's policies on abusive users and harmful content.
Employees fear that Musk's ideas on moderation would sabotage years of work to make Twitter a safe place for productive debate, allowing trolls and mob attacks to flourish.
Many people would be upset with U.S. tech giants functioning "as the de facto arbiter of free speech," Trump tweeted after his bans from Facebook and Twitter.
Musk has not stated what he plans to accomplish as a new board member, but his Twitter activity has hinted at his ambitions. Musk polled his 80 million Twitter followers a week before revealing his 9.1% ownership in the company, and the majority of them said no to the site adhering to the idea of free expression.
The employees, who did not want to be identified for fear of retaliation, point to Musk's history of attacking opponents on Twitter. Musk was chastised in 2018 after accusing a British diver of being a paedophile for assisting in the rescue of youngsters trapped in a cave in Thailand.
In 2019, Musk won a defamation lawsuit filed by the diver.
When approached for comment, a Twitter spokesman reiterated Tuesday's statement that the board "plays an essential advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service," but that Twitter's management and employees remain in charge of day-to-day operations and decisions.
"Twitter is committed to impartiality in the development and enforcement of its policies and rules," the spokesperson said.
Some employees who talked with Reuters were sceptical of the company's commitment to this.
"I find it hard to believe (the board) doesn't have influence," said one employee. "If that's the case, why would Elon want a board seat?"
Other staff told Reuters that Musk's involvement may assist speed up the rollout of new features and products, as well as bring a fresh viewpoint as a frequent Twitter user.
There were no comments on the issue from Tesla and Musk.
According to one employee, the board of directors at Twitter is discussed more than at other digital businesses. Because Twitter just has a single class of shares, unlike Meta Platforms Inc, where founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg controls the corporation through a dual class share structure, it is more subject to activists like Musk. According to the employee, Twitter teams frequently ponder how to explain a plan or choice to the board of directors.
Musk posted this image of himself smoking weed on the Joe Rogan podcast on Spotify from 2018 on Thursday, with the caption: "Twitter's next board meeting is going to be lit."
There are currently no plans to restore Trump, according to an employee familiar with the company's operations. There are no intentions to alter any policy changes, according to a Twitter representative.
However, an experienced auto expert who follows Musk's business practises at Tesla believes that such a choice is simply a matter of time.
"If Donald Trump was actually rich, he would have liked to have done the same thing but he couldn't afford it. So Elon is doing what Trump would have liked to have done," said Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid.
"I wouldn't be surprised" if Twitter restores Trump's account now that Elon owns nearly 10% of the company," he said.
Employees believe Musk's engagement will have a long-term impact on Twitter's corporate culture, which they claim now encourages inclusion. Musk has been chastised for tweeting memes mocking transgender people and efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, as well as for comparing some world leaders to Adolf Hitler.
The effusive greeting Musk received from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and cofounder Jack Dorsey scared several employees, prompting them to look for work this week.
"Some people are dusting off their resumes," one person said. "I don’t want to work for somebody (like Musk)."

Christopher J. Mitchell

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