80 level of free speech: Elon Musk fires Twitter employees who publicly criticize him

November 15, 2022  12:08

Twitter owner Elon Musk considers himself a supporter of "absolute freedom of speech". This, of course, is on a theoretical level, but in practice Musk has begun firing employees of Twitter who publicly criticize him on his own social network, which he recently purchased. Even the fact that they are the company's most important engineers does not save these employees.

According to Bloomberg, two such layoffs are currently known, one of which Musk himself announced on Twitter.

Eric Frohnhoefer, who spent eight years working on Twitter’s Android app, was one of the specialists fired for "criticism." On Sunday, he retweeted one of Musk's tweets, noting that Musk had the "wrong" idea about the technical side of the Twitter app. Musk asked to clarify what he meant, but also asked: "Twitter is super slow on Android. What have you done to fix."

In the next few posts, the engineer tried to explain his thoughts. During this time, another user asked him why he wasn't discussing issues with his new boss in private, but instead writing it all on social media. The engineer responded: “Maybe he should have asked the questions in private? Maybe use Slack or email?” On Monday morning, Musk announced in a new tweet that Fraunhofer had been fired.

Also fired was engineer Ben Leib, who had worked at Twitter for more than a decade. He reposted the same technical post by Musk as his colleague Frohnhoefer and commented: "As the former tech lead for timelines infrastructure at Twitter, I can confidently say this man has no idea wtf he's talking about." Ben Leib was fired on Sunday and confirmed this in an interview with Bloomberg.

After acquiring Twitter, Musk fired half of the company's employees, as well as many top executives. In the words of one recently fired professional, the company is now like the sinking Titanic: everyone is looking for lifeboats.

This view is more objective than it might seem at first glance. Things really are not going so well for the company, and even Musk himself does not rule out that the company may go bankrupt.

However, even in this situation and regardless of the fact that Twitter has become a private company, Musk promised that the "exceptional merits" of employees will be rewarded with an exceptional number of company shares.

According to CNBC, the aerospace company SpaceX, which is also headed by Elon Musk, has the same employee incentive model. There, employees are rewarded in the form of stock twice a year, on May 15 and November 15. 

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