Twitter owner Elon Musk can add another title to his already long list: Big Brother. On Tuesday, the social media boss showed his employees that he was always watching what they were saying on Twitter’s internal channels, especially if they were talking smack about him.
“I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses. Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere,” Musk tweeted Tuesday around lunchtime.
The Platformer newsletter first reported that various Twitter staffers who criticized their new boss on the company’s internal Slack channels were fired overnight. While the exact number is unknown, it appeared to be around 20 people, according to Platformer. Some employees received emails telling them that they were fired in the middle of the night.
Nick Morgan, a former software engineer at the company who worked as the tech lead of the Tweet Service, posted a screenshot on Tuesday of the midnight email he received from human resources.
“We regret to inform you that your employment is terminated effective immediately,” the email said. “Your recent behavior has violated company policy.”
Morgan, who had been with Twitter for more than 11 years, according to his LinkedIn profile, tweeted that he believed he was fired for “not showing 100% loyalty in slack.” The software engineer added that he had heard of the same thing happening to numerous other former colleagues.
Sasha Solomon, a staff software engineer and co-tech lead of Twitter’s Core API platform team, also said she had been fired for “shitposting.”
“lol just got fired for shitposting. i said it before and i’ll say it again. kiss my ass elon,” Solomon tweeted on Tuesday.
@nickrw, a Twitter engineer, and Jesse Feinman, a senior software engineer, also added their names to the list of people fired for shitposting on Tuesday.
“Same, the best way to go!” Feinman tweeted, adding to Solomon.
The midnight firings come one day after the Twitter owner fired Eric Frohnhoefer, a software engineer who had been at the company for more than eight years, via tweet on Monday. Over the weekend, Musk also fired about 4,400 of Twitter’s 5,500 contract workers.
Frohnhoefer had publicly pushed back against Musk’s explanation over why Twitter was running slow in some countries, stating plainly that his boss was wrong. What ensued was a back-and-forth in which Musk demanded to know what the real problem was and asked Frohnhoefer what he had done to fix Twitter’s speed on Android.
Eventually, a third user commented on the public exchange between Frohnhoefer and Musk, stating “with this kind of attitude, you probably don’t want this guy on your team.” Within a minute, Musk responded, “He’s fired.” The billionaire then deleted the “He’s fired” tweet, even though everyone had seen it.
Notably, @nickrw, the engineer that was fired Tuesday, had also criticized Musk in public, accusing him of not knowing what he was talking about. On Monday, @nickrw slammed Musk for his comments on the platform’s microservices.
“This is what happens when you fire everyone that could give you advice which would, hypothetically, stop you from embarrassing yourself in public,” @nickrw said.
All in all, it seems like Musk is getting closer to ditching email and Slack and running Twitter entirely on Twitter. He’s used the platform to crowdsource complaints, debate changes to product names, and, most recently, fire employees who disagree with him or call him out on his shit. When it comes to employees, though, this probably won’t be the last time we hear about rebellion.
“Tweeps that are still employed, at this time: If your personal situation allows for it, it is your moral duty to disobey. To strike. To protest. To quote tweet Elon when he lies on Twitter,” @nickrw tweeted on Tuesday. “To keep looking after each other.”