As Elon Musk nears an Oct. 28 deadline to acquire Twitter, employees of the beleaguered social media platform are slamming the billionaire for plans to possibly lay off up to 75% of staff when he takes over.
A draft of an open letter seen – and published — by Time while it was still circulating among staff, insisted that, “A threat to workers at Twitter is a threat to Twitter’s future.”
“These threats have an impact on us as workers and demonstrate a fundamental disconnect with the realities of operating Twitter. They threaten our livelihoods, access to essential healthcare, and the ability for visa holders to stay in the country they work in. We cannot do our work in an environment of constant harassment and threats. Without our work, there is no Twitter,” the draft letter says.
Elon Musk May Gut 75% Of Twitter Workforce – Report
“Elon Musk’s plan to lay off 75% of Twitter workers will hurt Twitter’s ability to serve the public conversation,” it added. “A threat of this magnitude is reckless, undermines our users’ and customers’ trust in our platform, and is a transparent act of worker intimidation.”
The letter asks Musk to “explicitly commit” to preserve benefits and demands “leadership to establish and ensure fair severance policies for all workers before and after any change in ownership.”
The company and its staff have been living under a cloud of stress and uncertainty since last spring when Musk disclosed a big stake in Twitter, moved the join the board then walked that back and opted to buy it instead for $44 billion, or $52.20 a share.
He pressured the company into a fast deal. But soon after, with the market tanking, he began to undermine management, business and morale with tweets and insults, declared the deal “on hold,” then unilaterally terminated it in July. His big argument has been that Twitter underreports the number of fake, or bot, accounts on its platform.
Twitter sued and the two sides were originally headed to trial Oct. 17. Musk’s case seemed weak, in part because had expressly waived the right to due diligence in the merger agreement – a decision that remains hard to understand. He flip-flopped again last month and offered to buy Twitter at the originally agreed upon price. A Delaware Chancery Court judge stayed the trial and gave him until this Friday to close the deal for real or said she’d set a new trial date.
A Musk-owned Twitter will be private and carry a heavy debt load, a reason to cut costs where he can. He has said he’d like to move away from advertising, which makes up almost all of the company’s revenue. The Tesla founder also wants the service to be a real “town square” and has indicated it’s likely to police content less than it does now, and may well re-platform former President Donald Trump and others.
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