June 15, 2024


It's the Technology

Elon Musk tells Twitter staff online harassment is threat to its service


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In his initially tackle to Twitter’s personnel, Elon Musk mentioned Thursday that as well much harassment on the website would threaten the platform’s potential but that information selections also must be governed by whether posts are entertaining.

In the virtual city corridor, Musk stated that people required to “like” becoming on Twitter, and if they were being “harassed or uncomfortable,” the item would eliminate so numerous buyers that it would flip into a area of interest services.

His remark appeared to be an attempt to address issues that Musk, a self-described cost-free-speech absolutist whose own followers are regarded to harass folks, would flip Twitter into a free-for-all of misinformation and hate.

Throughout a June 16 conference call attained by The Washington Article, Elon Musk mentioned it was imperative for the corporation to stop harassment on its companies. (Movie: The Washington Put up/Elizabeth Dwoskin)

Far from assuaging the company’s 7,500 typically remote workforce, the meeting with Musk appeared to rile them anew, reported two workers who spoke on the issue of anonymity to explain the inside response. Twitter’s interior Slack channels lit up with anger and disappointment at Musk’s answers to employees’ issues, such as a recommendation that he planned to lay off underperformers.

The town corridor took location soon after months of interior outcry from Twitter workers, who have continuously expressed issues about the $44 billion offer to get the organization. Musk has known as out unique Twitter executives on his have feed on the platform, criticized products and written content moderation decisions, and charged the company with not currently being forthright about the volume of spam and bots on the provider.

In reversal, Twitter ideas to comply with Musk’s requires for info

Staff had submitted issues Wednesday night, and they were posed to Musk by Twitter chief marketing and advertising officer Leslie Berland. Musk beamed in by videoconference from a properly furnished home. The Washington Write-up was capable to keep an eye on the dwell stream’s audio.

The concerns bundled whether or not he would lay persons off, whether or not his political views would notify his management of the enterprise, and what he would do to get back trust. He was also questioned to share his views on policing written content that is unsafe but not illegal, these types of as misinformation. But if anyone requested Musk whether or not he would reinstate the account of previous president Donald Trump or other banned people today, Berland did not choose to pose it Thursday. Musk said past month that he would.

On layoffs, Musk stated he considered in running firms as a “meritocracy,” saying: “If anyone is having things finished, excellent, I appreciate them. If they’re not, why are they at the enterprise?”

When asked how Twitter team and Elon Musk could make each and every others’ belief, the billionaire Tesla CEO reported, “Believe in is as believe in does.” (Movie: The Washington Post/Elizabeth Dwoskin)

He also reiterated his problems about spam and bots, and described himself as a political reasonable who experienced typically voted for Democrats. At one more place, he indicated that he considered in the promotion organization design, which he had derided in the earlier.

On destructive material, Musk explained that individuals should really be capable to convey “extreme” sights so lengthy as what they say does not violate the law — a issue he has created publicly just before. But he also appeared to sidestep questions about how this kind of content material really should be moderated, declaring that “The common is much more than not offending people. The standard should really be that they must be entertained.”

Musk also employed the town corridor to subject concerns about why he was obtaining Twitter and his ambitions for the organization. He mentioned he was acquiring Twitter for the reason that he enjoys the services, and that he made use of Twitter to stay clear of what he known as the “negative lens” of the mainstream media by addressing followers right. He spoke about his targets for the corporation in highly abstract terms, declaring that he waned to assure that Twitter has “meaningfully improved the power and longevity of civilization.” At a person stage he mused about aliens.

For the duration of a June 16 town corridor with Twitter staff, Elon Musk said Twitter users ought to not be offended but “quite entertained.” (Online video: The Washington Publish/Elizabeth Dwoskin)

Musk’s opportunity acquisition of Twitter has plunged the social network into disaster. The company’s inventory has fallen more than 25 % considering that he agreed to buy it at $54.20 for every share. Musk has been capricious in his method to the offer, critiquing the platform from his popular Twitter account. In one tweet, he proclaimed the deal was “on maintain,” and he has usually criticized the company’s information and product-relevant selections. He has frequently said Twitter is failing to disclose enough details about the volume of spam and bot accounts on its provider.

With every single new battle, Twitter’s stock price has fallen, causing Wall Road to speculate that Musk may possibly not go as a result of with the offer — and even further battering interior morale. This week, firm employees discovered that an once-a-year companywide retreat, prepared for Disneyland, would be scrapped amid cost-reducing actions.

Even ahead of the city hall, professionals have been questioned to press very low performers to leave, 1 supervisor explained, talking on issue of anonymity to talk about inner programs. And the company’s internal message boards on Slack have hosted an unpleasant mixture of stress, anger and silence as employees weigh their urge to speak out versus a increasing problem of retaliation for doing so at a enterprise that previously encouraged open dialogue.

After protracted negotiations, Twitter now plans to share reams of real-time interior info, known as the “firehose,” with Musk. His team has indicated to associates that the data could supply key clues to support him recognize the bot problem. But Twitter staff say that the firehose does not have info that will adjust the company’s latest bot estimates and that Musk’s bot argument is a tactic to reduced the purchase cost.

The enterprise held past city halls, in which workers could query executives and board customers, through the contentious negotiation with the billionaire.

Executives have deflected some of these queries in the previous, indicating that only Musk would have the responses.

Also on Thursday, SpaceX employees posted an open up letter to the company’s inside conversation process expressing that Musk’s actions on Twitter was a “distraction and embarassment” to staff members, in accordance to a duplicate shared with The Post.

Will Oremus contributed to this report.


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