Elon Musk is “way out of his depth” on Twitter and a “bullying management culture” won’t work there, says a former Facebook executive.
An early SpaceX investor, Chris Kelly is “mostly an Elon fan” but said the strategies that worked at Musk’s other companies won’t translate to Twitter. Kelly made the comments during Big Ideas Live, a Sky News event held in London on Saturday.
“He’s capable of doing some pretty amazing things, but he’s entered a field that’s way beyond his limits and thinks a culture of dealing with bullying can change that — and that’s not going to work in a company like Twitter.” , said Kelly. “I’ve certainly seen management moves from Elon before at Tesla and SpaceX, but I’m surprised that was the approach. He should have taken a much more measured approach when he took over.
Sharing Kelly’s sentiment was Dex Hunter-Torricke, a former SpaceX communications manager who now advises Facebook on moderation as part of Meta’s oversight board.
“Making very quick and impulsive decisions on content policy is probably not the right way to go,” Hunter-Torricke told Sky News.
Musk wasted no time in making major changes to Twitter following its $44 billion takeover of the social network. He quickly fired senior executives, then about half of the company. He awkwardly asked some of those who had been fired to come back, after realizing they were still needed.
On Wednesday, Musk sent an email to all Twitter employees telling them to be “extremely hardcore” and to work “long hours at high intensity.” He then said that the employees could either accept this or leave. Those on board were invited to indicate interest via a link included in the email by Thursday evening. On Friday, it emerged that between 1,000 and 2,000 employees had not clicked “yes”.
Meanwhile, Musk’s changes to the platform have upset companies, lawmakers and celebrities, among others.
Many companies have suspended advertising on Twitter, fearing hateful content will skyrocket under Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”.
Some companies, including drugmaker Eli Lilly and defense contractor Lockheed Martin, fell victim to Musk’s Twitter verification fiasco, in which pranksters were able to impersonate the companies. That was thanks to a new $8 monthly subscription service that makes any account look “verified.” Twitter suspended the service a few days after its launch, and the relaunch is not expected before the end of the month.
“Elon is willing to try a lot of things – a lot will fail, some will succeed,” said Esther Crawford, a Twitter employee who worked on the verification redesign. “The goal is to find the right mix of successful changes to ensure the long-term health and growth of the business.”
But Kelly thinks Musk’s style will hurt the business in the long run, saying at today’s event: “The massive cuts and chainsaw that Elon Musk has brought to the business doesn’t bode well. good for his future.”
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