Twitter engineer says layoffs created chaos and Elon Musk works within the workplace with 2 bodyguards
Elon Musk became CEO of Twitter in October and made drastic changes in a matter of months. He fired scores of employees, including top executives and the team responsible for monitoring the service for inappropriate and abusive content or accounts. Employees who stayed with the company had to meet crazy schedules and, in some cases, cater to Musk’s whims, such as his desire to give his own tweets more visibility.
Twitter has experienced frequent technical glitches in recent weeks and has become a breeding ground for fake accounts and bots. The platform is also increasingly becoming the home of trolling and hateful content and “no one cares,” an engineer at the company told the BBC.
“For someone inside, it’s like a building with all parts on fire,” an unidentified BBC Twitter worker said as part of an investigation released on Monday.
The employee revealed that the San Francisco-based social media company is in a state of chaos and many of the people responsible for creating and maintaining its security features, which curbed 60% of Twitter’s trolling, have been fired.
“From the outside the facade looks good, but I can see that nothing is working. All the plumbing is broken, all the faucets, everything,” the clerk said. Because Twitter is understaffed, employees from other teams are forced to do extra work that isn’t their responsibility.
“A completely new person, without the expertise, is doing what more than 20 people used to do,” the BBC official said. “That leaves room for a lot more risk, a lot more opportunity for things to go wrong.”
Even on the content security front, many features designed to protect users no longer work the way they did before Musk became the “chief chump” because nobody’s assigned to them.
Lisa Jennings Young was Twitter’s head of content design and responsible for rolling out security features that protected users from hateful content when she was fired after Musk’s acquisition. Her team members, who have all been fired since Musk’s takeover, had developed the “Nudge” feature, which warns users if their posts contain trigger words or hateful language.
“Overall 60% of users deleted or edited their reply when given the nudge a chance,” Jennings Young told the BBC. But now things are different.
“Right now there’s nobody around to work on it,” she said.
Amid the disorderly environment, the Twitter worker who said the company was “on fire” told the BBC that when Musk is in the office he always has two bodyguards with him like in a “Hollywood movie”. They accompany him everywhere – even to the toilet.
Twitter did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment. Musk and Twitter did not respond to the BBC’s investigation, but Musk tweeted a response to the original story.
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The BBC investigation is the latest to shed light on Twitter’s internal workings since Musk bought the platform for $44 billion last year. Employees have said that Twitter’s culture has taken a hit since the acquisition, as the office turned into a “ghost town” and internal communications were absent. They’ve also complained about long hours and the elimination of office perks as part of Musk’s efforts to make the social media company profitable.
Twitter’s revenue reportedly fell 35% in the fourth quarter, and on one day in January, the service had 500 fewer advertisers than on the same day last year.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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