Elon Musk has sent a new and cryptic email to his shrinking Twitter workforce.
Sent on Friday and directed at “anyone who actually writes software,” the bizarre demand to line up and present their work to him comes as things are getting desperate at the social media firm. The New York Times has reported 1200 staff are set to walk out.
But Mr Musk remains as bullish as ever with the new owner commenting on Friday that he is considering reinstating former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” he said on Friday.
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The company has been in turmoil since Mr Musk bought it in late October for $66 billion (US$44bn) after spending months trying to wriggle out of the deal.
Following his takeover, up to half the workforce were made redundant, senior executives were sent packing, staff have been reportedly sacked for criticising the new CEO and controversial new features were quickly introduced to users and just as quickly dropped.
Meanwhile, amid the chaos, advertisers are fleeing and US regulators are circling.
Last week, Mr Musk sent the remaining staff an email saying “Twitter 2.0” was going to be “extremely hardcore,” and if they didn’t want to “work long hours at high intensity,” they should indicate they wanted to leave by Thursday.
On Friday morning (US time), Mr Musk sent his rapidly dwindling Twitter workforce another email.
According to website Platformer, the email demanded engineering staff front up that afternoon to its San Francisco headquarters.
“Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2pm (9am, Saturday, AEDT) today.
“Before doing so, please email me a bullet point summary of what your code commits have achieved in the past 6 months,” the email reportedly said.
“These will be short, technical interviews that allow me to better understand the Twitter tech stack.”
Zoe Schiffer, the managing editor of Platformer who broke the news, said staff were told to provide Mr Musk with 10 screenshots of their “most salient lines of code”.
Ms Schiffer pointed out that many engineers have left Twitter since the takeover.
As such there are fewer staff to keep the site ticking over.
Continuing his theme of frowning on staff who work from home, Mr Musk said he could do video calls with engineers who worked remotely but only for those “who cannot physically get to Twitter HQ”.
“If possible, I would encourage you to fly to San Francisco to present in person.”
Mr Musk said he would be in the office until midnight on Friday.
On Thursday, Twitter sent an email to staff saying that the HQ building would be closed on Friday and badges would be suspended.
Musk mulls reinstating Trump account
Also on Friday, Mr Musk said Twitter had reinstated the accounts of comedian Kathy Griffin, author Jordan Petersen and conservative satirical news website the Babylon Bee.
Griffin’s account was suspended from Twitter after she impersonated and mocked Mr Musk on the platform.
He also appears to be mulling letting Donald Trump tweet again.
Mr Musk said that a “Trump decision has not yet been made”.
Trump’s account was “permanently suspended” by Twitter in January 2021 in the wake of the Washington DC insurrection.
“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” said Mr Musk on Friday when he announced the reinstatements.
“Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted (sic) & demonetised, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.
“You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of internet.”
Around 1000 could resign
It’s thought around 1200 of Twitter’s remaining 3250 staff failed to respond to the “extremely hardcore” email sent by Mr Musk last week.
Staff had been directed to click a link to say they agreed to the punishing conditions he laid out for “Twitter 2.0”.
If they didn’t click the link by Thursday, he said they would have effectively resigned and would be given three months redundancy pay.
The ABC reported that a poll on the workplace app Blind revealed that 42 per cent of Twitter workers surveyed were planning to quit, while almost 40 employees indicated plans to leave on a private chat on Signal, and around 360 people had joined a new Slack channel for Twitter workers titled “voluntary-lay-off”.
On Thursday, anti Elon Musk messages were projected on to Twitter’s HQ building including calling him a “supreme parasite,” “petulant pimple,” “dictator’s a**kisser,” and “mediocre manchild”.
On Twitter, Mr Musk responded with a skull and cross bones flag emoji.
He then followed that up with another post stating: “And … we just hit another highest in Twitter usage lol.
“Let that sink in …”