Elon Musk causes scandal again by publicly criticizing Twitter executives

Anger is brewing among many Twitter employees, worried about soon being led by Elon Musk, who has criticized and publicly mocked the executives of the Californian company he intends to buy.

After supporting a derogatory tweet about Vijaya Gadde, the social network lawyer in charge of regulations and security, the multi-billionaire and boss of Tesla also split, on Wednesday, a meme (parody image) to flouting the platform’s rules on content moderation and who is responsible.

“Harassment is not management”responded Dick Costolo, who ran Twitter from 2010 to 2015.

Elon Musk decided to acquire Twitter, in particular because he believes the network does not sufficiently respect freedom of expression, but its absolutist vision worries defenders of online freedoms, who advocate discussions without hate or misinformation.

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According to the news site PoliticoVijaya Gadde broke down in tears during an online meeting with his teams, gathered to discuss the change of ownership. “She expressed in detail her pride in the work of her colleagues and encouraged employees to continue their good work”says the article.

Online reviews

The initial tweet about him referred to Twitter’s decision to block the sharing of an article from the New York Post, a conservative American daily, during the presidential campaign because it violated its rules. The case had angered elected Republicans and the platform had relaxed the sanction.

“Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was, of course, incredibly inappropriate”said Elon Musk in commentary to this message.

“Creating memes targeting executives like Vijaya Gadde, who has a long career of striking the right balance between safety and free speech, is completely unacceptable”was indignant Alex Stamos, of the prestigious Stanford University, and former head of security at Facebook. “Heads of Elon’s other companies need to tell him he’s overstepping his bounds. »

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UltraViolet, a women’s rights NGO, called on the Californian group’s board of directors to backtrack on the agreement with the richest man in the world. “Elon Musk’s harassment of Vijaya Gadde is clear and unmistakable proof that his governance will open the doors wide to harassment and abuse, specifically against women and people of color”said Bridget Todd, director of communications, in a press release.

The takeover agreement signed by Elon Musk expressly authorizes him to tweet about the operation, but with this restriction: “provided the tweets in question do not disparage the company or its representatives”.

Internal concerns

Before the announcement of the takeover, Elon Musk had assured hope that ” same “ his worst critics would stay on Twitter, because “this is what freedom of expression means”. On Tuesday, faced with the deluge of worried reactions, he added: “The secretion of antibodies from those who are afraid of free speech says it all. »

Parag Agrawal, the current leader of Twitter, expressed his support for the employees of the San Francisco group on Wednesday. “I am proud of the people who continue to do the job with focus and determination, despite the noise all around”he tweeted.

Several American newspapers have relayed the concerns expressed internally by many employees to see the richest man in the world, accustomed to provocations, leader of companies where unionization is discouraged, take control. According to the Bloomberg agency, since Monday, Twitter has prevented employees from making changes to the platform’s computer code without the agreement of a vice-president, to avoid any sabotage.

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In particular, some fear that Elon Musk will undo their content moderation work to protect users from abuse and violence, as the Tesla boss has repeatedly insulted people in the past who disagreed with him, while his many fans do not hesitate to add more. And his new responsibilities don’t seem to stop him.

On Tuesday, he also tweeted “that doesn’t say anything good” commenting on a message accusing a Twitter lawyer, Jim Baker, of having facilitated a fraud.

The World with AFP

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