Twitter ablaze after Elon Musk’s mass firings


Graphic by Julianne Cruz

Overall, the growing disdain towards Twitter will only lead to more problems in the future if Musk continues to run the company in this way.

Lydia Seo, Opinions Writer

On October 27, 2022, Elon Musk acquired Twitter for the high price of 44 billion dollars. Shortly after becoming the CEO, Musk published a tweet publicizing his vision for Twitter as, “a common digital town square,” and  his hopes to, “build something extraordinary.” However, the slew of drastic actions and policies that Musk has enacted thus far have plunged the company into chaos. Despite his efforts to improve Twitter as both a company and social media platform, Elon Musk’s decisions threaten all hardworking, dedicated employees, and the success of Twitter as a whole. 

Of the many changes Elon Musk has made to Twitter, one of the most notable, and cruel, was the reduction of Twitter’s staff. Little more than a week after his acquisition of the esteemed company, Musk conducted a mass lay off, getting rid of almost half of Twitter’s 7,500 person workforce in an effort to reduce the cost of management. After this, Musk posed an absurd ultimatum to the remaining employees, saying that if they did not commit to long, intense hours they would be expected to resign. This unreasonable declaration caused various employees to leave the company, rightfully standing by their workers rights. Forcing employees to choose between their well-being and their income reveals Musk’s careless and tyrannical nature, foreshadowing a dismal future for the company and its employees. 

Some argue that the mass lay-offs were reasonable, and that ultimately, workers were given a choice between whether they would stay, or work under the new conditions. As freshman Emily Liu put it, “he knows people will have, like, families and stuff, so he’s kind of just giving them a choice.” However, there are many employees who do not have a choice, and are not in a stable enough situation that they can freely quit their jobs. The 300 Twitter employees working on visas were essentially being forced to work under the new conditions, with their only alternative being departure from the US. Clearly, Musk is not concerned with the economic and personal well-being of his employees, despite all they bring to the company. 

On top of this, his disposal of Twitter’s misinformation moderation team, human rights team, and teams regulating machine language ethics, transparency and accountability, showcase Musk’s disregard for maintaining an ethical platform. Instead, his actions display his greed and negligence; Musk’s elimination of these vital groups has ruined years of progress made by Disinformation researchers. 

While Musk was attempting to make improvements, his plans backfired. The hasty disposal of various of the company’s integral departments caused the platform to decline significantly in quality, as the lack of moderation coupled with Musk’s “free speech” ideology have caused the amount of hate speech on the platform to skyrocket, according to the New York Times. Even worse, the chief information security officer, chief privacy officer, chief compliance officer and head of trust and safety also resigned, leaving Twitter incredibly vulnerable to cyber attacks and security  breaches. Advertisers have taken note of this deterioration. According to a recent article from Media Matters, 50 of Twitter’s 100 top advertisers have suspended advertising on the platform, causing Twitter to lose more of its money – ironic considering Musks original motivation behind the mass layoffs was increased revenue 

Even so, Elon Musk continues to lay off employees, one of which includes former Twitter engineer Eric Frohnhoefer. Frohnhoefer was unceremoniously fired after tweeting about solutions to Twitter’s lack of overseas functionality, an issue that Musk himself had previously highlighted and apologized for in a tweet. This is simply one case out of many in which Musk conveys his inability to withstand constructive criticism. Rather than create a cohesive company environment, he’s made it clear that anyone who expresses alternate opinions will be punished. These firings completely contradict Musk’s hopeful vision of “free speech, ” as freshman Anya Kleinman said, “the reason he supposedly purchased Twitter was to basically amplify people’s right to free speech on social media platforms, but he’s violating that within his own company.” 

Elon Musk’s actions have ultimately culminated in a strong distrust between Twitter’s management and its employees. This newly dysfunctional relationship, characterized by a lack of communication and cooperation, is the first step towards Twitter’s downfall.  The unjust treatment of employees, and consequent lack of them has had detrimental impacts on Twitter’s success – with Elon Musk as the root cause. Overall, the growing disdain towards Twitter will only lead to more problems in the future if Musk continues to run the company in this way.