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Twitter’s employees await their fate under Elon Musk

Twitter’s employees await their fate under Elon Musk


With a frozen code base and absent leadership, employees are nervously wondering what Musk will do next.

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Elon Musk shrugging on a background with the Twitter logo
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

On the eve of Elon Musk’s $44 billion, chaotic acquisition of Twitter, the company’s employees are wondering what their new “Chief Twit” has in store for them.

Musk’s takeover is expected to close on Friday, with Twitter going private and delisting from the New York Stock Exchange. Despite a message from CMO Leslie Berland on Wednesday saying they’d “hear from him directly on Friday,” an all-hands with Musk has yet to be scheduled. Meanwhile, Twitter’s current CEO, Parag Agrawal, hasn’t addressed employees in weeks.

While the rank and file waits for more from Musk, the reality of the acquisition is starting to set in. On Thursday afternoon, an internal memo seen by The Verge said that Twitter’s code would be frozen until Tuesday, November 1st at 10AM PT — the same day that many employees will see their current batch of equity and cash compensation vest. Then Musk had some of Twitter’s product leaders meet with employees from Tesla, presumably to help him get a handle on what exactly he is buying. (Bloomberg first reported the meeting.) Later in the day, employees donned costumes and brought their kids to work for a #trickortweet Halloween party at Twitter’s offices.

Since Musk suddenly proclaimed that he actually wanted to buy Twitter again earlier this month, Twitter’s most visible leader internally has been Jay Sullivan, the general manager of consumer and revenue product. He had been holding regular listening sessions with employees, but on Thursday, shortly after employees received a calendar invite for a “quick informal check in” call with him at 7:35PM ET, the meeting was canceled “until further notice” without explanation.

“He has ghosted us”

Many Twitter employees have recently noted the absence of Parag Agrawal, their current CEO, who Musk soured on after the two initially started talking about Musk joining Twitter’s board. “He has been completely absent for weeks,” one current Twitter employee, who requested anonymity to speak without the company’s permission, said of Agrawal. “He has ghosted us,” said another. Both Twitter’s Slack and the Twitter employee-only section of Blind, an anonymous message board for tech workers, are full of similar comments about Agrawal, according to screenshots seen by The Verge.

Now that Musk is going to buy Twitter, he has already started meeting with some leaders across the company. On Wednesday, he showed up at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a literal kitchen sink and held an impromptu discussion at Twitter’s coffee bar. While there, he downplayed a recent report that he would lay off 75 percent of Twitter employees, though many employees are still expecting deep cuts.

The last time Musk addressed Twitter’s rank and file was in June, when he said he wanted the app to become more like WeChat and TikTok. After saying the deal was back on several weeks ago, he tweeted: “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.”

As is fitting for Musk, his takeover has been a messy saga fueled by his penchant for drama. It’s the beginning of a new era for Twitter.