The Twitter profile page of Elon Musk is seen on an Apple iPhone mobile phone.
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Musk, who is CEO of automaker Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX, completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Oct. 28 and immediately left his mark there. He immediately fired the company’s CEO, CFO, policy and legal team, and dissolved Twitter’s board of directors.
According to internal records seen by CNBC, employees from other Musk companies are now allowed to work at Twitter, including more than 50 from Tesla, two from the Boring Company (which builds underground tunnels) and one from Neuralink (which develops the brain). -computer interface).
Some of Musk’s friends, advisers and supporters, including his family office chief Jared Birchall, angel investor Jason Kalakanis and PayPal founder, chief operating officer and venture capitalist David Sachs, are also participating. So are two people with the last name Musk, James and Andrew Musk, who worked at Palantir and Neuralink, respectively.
Among the dozens that Elon Musk brought in specifically from Tesla were: Director of Software Development Ashok Eluswamy, Director of Autopilot and TeslaBot Engineering Milan Kovacs, Senior Director of Software Development Maha Virduhagiri, Senior Technical Manager of the Program Pete Shevets and Jake Nokan, who is part of Tesla’s surveillance division as a senior manager of security intelligence.
Used to work for Nocon Uber and Nisos, a security company that had a multimillion-dollar contract with Tesla to detect insider threats and monitor critics of the company.
At Twitter, Musk relies on his deputies and loyalists to decide who and what to cut or leave on the social network.
He also wants them to learn everything about Twitter as quickly as possible, from source code to content moderation and data privacy requirements, so he can redesign the platform.
Musk has declared himself an absolutist of free speech, but must balance his wishes with the laws and realities of business. He said in an open letter to advertisers last week when he took over the company, “Twitter clearly cannot become a free-for-all hellscape where you can say anything without consequence.”
It was not immediately clear how Tesla employees are expected to split their schedules between the automaker and Twitter.
Typically, when Tesla employees work for Elon Musk’s other ventures, typically SpaceX or the Boring Company, they may be paid by the other venture as a consultant. Some of Musk’s employees work full-time in more than one of his businesses. For example, Tesla’s vice president of materials, Charlie Koeman also at the same time vice president of SpaceX.
In another case, two Tesla employees told CNBC that Tesla workers are being pressured to help with projects at its other companies without extra pay because it’s good for their careers or because the work is seen as helping with a deal or project with a related party.
Tesla is facing more scrutiny than ever before over the technology created and maintained by its Autopilot team, namely its driver assistance systems sold as Autopilot, FSD and FSD Beta.
The SEC, DOJ and California DMV are investigating whether Tesla or Musk broke the law and misled consumers about Tesla’s driver assistance systems, which are still under development and do not make the company’s cars self-driving.
Meanwhile, the federal motor vehicle safety agency, NHTSA, continues to investigate whether defects in Tesla’s driver assistance systems may have contributed to or caused the collisions. How Tesla marketed these systems on social media, including Twitter, is part of at least one NHTSA investigation.
Several Twitter employees told CNBC over the weekend that Tesla employees currently at Twitter participated in code reviews at the social network, even though their skills with Autopilot and other Tesla software and hardware do not directly match the languages and systems used. to create and maintain a social network. Those employees asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the press about internal affairs and fear retaliation.
For example, most engineers at car companies, even technologically advanced Tesla, do not have experience developing and operating search engines and platforms that are widely available to the public.
Twitter has multiple codebases with millions of lines of code each and many 10 or even 100 queries per second (QPS) systems underlying it. At Tesla, Python is one of the preferred scripting languages, and at Twitter, programmers have used Scala extensively.
Twitter is also more subject to international regulations regarding hate speech and data privacy, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Twitter employees who were there before Musk took over were asked to show his teams all the technical documentation, justify their work and that of their teams, and explain their value to the company. The threat of dismissal loomed if they didn’t impress.
Employees said they were concerned about being fired without cause or warning, not being fired with severance pay. Some are concerned that they won’t be able to reap the benefits of stock options that are scheduled to vest in the first week of November, according to filings seen by CNBC.
Twitter employees, meanwhile, said they have yet to receive concrete plans from Musk and his team and are largely unaware of potential staff cuts in their teams, budgets and long-term strategies.
However, Musk has set near-impossible deadlines for some items on the list.
One of the upcoming projects is a redesign of the company’s subscription software, dubbed Twitter Blue, and the company’s verification system (sometimes known as “blue checks” because of how they are labeled on the service). Employees say Musk wants the job done by the first week of November. This was previously reported by The Verge that Musk wants to charge $20 per user per month and put verification tags only on accounts of users who are paid subscribers and remove verification from accounts that don’t pay for Twitter Blue.
Twitter managers ordered some employees to work 12-hour days, seven days a week, to meet Musk’s tight deadlines, according to an internal communication. Sprint orders came without any discussion about overtime pay or working hours or job security. Completing the task by the early November deadline is seen as crucial to their careers at Twitter.
In an atmosphere of fear and distrust, many Twitter employees stopped communicating with each other on internal systems about workplace issues. Some of Twitter’s Slack channels have gone almost silent, several employees told CNBC.
Meanwhile, Musk and his inner circle have been uploading archived messages into the systems, ostensibly looking for people to lay off and cut budgets or projects.
On Sunday night, in a show of unfettered access to the company’s internal information, CEO Elon Musk (who calls himself Chief Twit but is officially the chief executive officer and sole director) posted a screenshot to his 112 million Twitter followers.
The screenshot shows comments made by Twitter’s head of security and integrity, Joel Roth, in May 2022. At the time, Musk tried to back out of a deal to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.
In court and publicly, Musk has vociferously accused Twitter of falsifying metrics, specifically downplaying the amount of spam, fake accounts, and malicious bots that exist on the platform.
In internal messages that Musk released, Roth wrote disparagingly of a business associate named Amir, and noted that if Amir continued to tell him or others about goals and key results, Twitter would “literally do what Elon accuses us of this.”
musk claimed on Twitter that “Wachtell & Twitter’s management deliberately withheld this evidence from the court.” He also appeared to threaten further legal action, writing: “Stay tuned, more to come…”
Representatives for Twitter, Tesla and the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz did not immediately respond to requests for comment.