Fired Up! Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover

Employees and users alike bear the burden of Elon Musk’s “hardcore Twitter,” calling to question whether his success is really worth its cost

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photo by Caitlyn Hale

Fired Up is a monthly column by Lifestyles Editor Sophia Canabal.

Saying “trust the process” is like using a get-out-of-jail-free card: you might be struggling right now, but there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel. But on Oct. 28, when Elon Musk gutted Twitter from the inside out in hopes of renovating the struggling company, “trust the process” is not a good enough explanation. 

Since buying Twitter for $44 billion, Musk has sacrificed his popularity for corporate gain, slashing 75% of Twitter employees almost immediately after and transforming the company into what he calls “hardcore Twitter.” According to Musk, remaining employees can expect to be spending nights sleeping on office floors. Though Musk’s intentions to renovate Twitter are clear, his methods are completely irrational; if you need to sacrifice the lives of your employees to run a successful company, you’re doing something wrong.

Musk gutted Twitter for the sake of efficiency, leaving the company with approximately 3,700 employees and no other chief executives. Currently, all of its offices are closed, and even Twitter HQ’s janitors have walked away from the wreckage, going on strike. Though this takeover might seem shocking, it is nothing new, as Tesla, Musk’s previous billion-dollar acquisition, found itself in the same situation in 2018. Musk claims that the company was “three days away from bankruptcy” before it suddenly found its footing and recovered. Similar to Twitter, Musk slashed hundreds of Tesla employees and all of its chief executives. Though Tesla stocks went from $20 to $400 a week after he acquired it, it shouldn’t take a giant employee purge to do so, because they are what keep its wheels turning. Multi-billion dollar companies might be led by top-floor CEO’s, but without employees, they wouldn’t operate on the scale that they currently do. Considering that Twitter has yet to recover from its employee losses, it’s safe to assume that Musk took “efficiency” too far this time- cutting losses is one thing, annihilating the entire company is another.  

While he views Tesla’s narrow escape as an accomplishment, it should be taken as a warning. Though there isn’t anything suspicious about billionaires wanting to make more money, it seems as if Musk is more concerned with creating a partisan Twitter. Since firing former Twitter CEO Vijaya Gadde, the billionaire has unbanned a slew of controversial accounts, including former President Donald Trump and influencer Jordan Peterson, while also rewriting Twitter’s content policies to purge the app’s “liberal oversight,” as he calls it. If Musk continues to let these policies lax, the app will surely become a breeding ground for hateful speech. And after firing 75% of his employees, he has no one left to help him abate it. 

While Elon Musk’s acquisitions, including Space-X and Tesla, reek of innovation, the treatment that his employees receive is shockingly outdated. While many corporations have continued to allow employees to work from home, cutting back on work days and late-night office hours, Musk has done the opposite, threatening his employees with office sleepovers and ridiculous work hours. His “hardcore Twitter” fantasy isn’t just extreme, it is illogical, and soon, he won’t have any employees left to abuse, let alone a social media platform to run.

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