OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
After Musk’s acquisition was announced on April 25, Twitter employees warned of a ‘mass exodus,’ with one employee at an ‘All Hands’ meeting calling Musk ‘a person with questionable ethics’.
In internal chat rooms, Twitter employees are voicing their fears, a New York Post article shows.
According to one site reliability engineer, it was ‘physically cringy watching Elon talk about free speech.’
‘We’re all going through the five stages of grief in cycles and everyone’s nerves are frazzled,’ a senior staff software engineer allegedly wrote on Twitter’s internal Slack channel.
Now, in undercover footage released by Project Veritas on Monday night, one of Twitter’s senior engineers talks about the factors that led to the tech company’s acquisition by Musk.
The video shows Twitter Sr. Engineer, Siru Murugesan, saying several of his peers have expressed that “this would be my last day if it happens,” referring to Musk’s highly publicized intention to purchase Twitter. In addition, he says, Twitter employees are “stress-eating” and “worried for our jobs.”
The reasons for this attitude at Twitter are more important than soundbites like these.
“Our jobs are at stake; he’s a capitalist and we weren’t really operating as capitalists, more like very socialist,” Murugesan says, then continues, “we’re all like commie as f**k.”
A concern about free speech is also being raised by employees regarding Musk, the probable new owner of Twitter, Murugesan said.
In response to a question about the difference between Twitter’s and Musk’s definitions of free speech, Murugesan gave no room for debate. “Twitter does not believe in free speech,” Murugesan responded to the PV journo.
‘They hate it,’ he exclaimed. ‘Oh my God. I’m at least like okay with it. But some of my colleagues are like super left, left, left, left, left.’
Musk stated in March that he is a “free speech absolutist” when he added, “By free speech, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”
Murugesan also spoke of how Twitter employees resisted Musk’s takeover with all their might.
“We did all we could to like revolt against it. A lot of employees were revolting against it, but at the end of the day, the board of directors have the say.”
He went on to say that the board “… acted on their best interests ‘cause they didn’t want to get sued…. they’re always looking out for themselves at the end of the day.”
Twitter’s office politics influenced Murugesan’s views, and he changed his own opinions as a result. ‘Like I started working at Twitter and became left,’ he stated.
‘I think it’s just like the environment like you’re there and you become like this commie.’
Conservatives, Murugesan stated, were actively censored.
‘Ideologically, it does not make sense like, because we’re actually censoring the right and not the left,’ he said.
‘So, everyone on the right wing will be like, ‘bro, it’s okay to stay, just gotta tolerate it.’ ‘The left will be like, no, I’m not gonna tolerate it. I need it censored or else I’m not gonna be on the platform.
‘So, it does that on the right. It’s true. There is bias. It is what it is today,’ he continued.
He also said that Twitter’s operating procedures were incredibly loose.
‘Essentially like everyone gets to do whatever they want, no one really cares about like [operating expenses], like capitalists, they care about numbers or care about how to make the business more efficient,’ he revealed.
‘But in Twitter, it’s like mental health is everything like if you are not feeling it, you can take a few days off. People have taken months off, they will come back.
‘But you always like, like do your best at any time. And that’s the culture and you know we’ll run the business as much as possible. But at the same time, you know, like the profits weren’t a lot.’
In addition, Murugesan said that many employees actively tried to block the takeover, concerned about Musk’s promise to reinstate people such as Trump.
Many critics warn that the platform will be flooded with hate speech, but advocates of the buyout say it is an essential move for freedom of speech. ‘We did all we could, to like revolt against it,’ claimed Murugesan. ‘A lot of employees revolted against it.
‘But at the end of the day, [the] board of directors have the say, and then they acted on their best interests cause they didn’t wanna get sued.’
If and when Musk’s buyout does go through, it will even the playing field for conservatives whose voices have historically been censored on the platform.