Elon Musk directly addressed Twitter employees’ most burning questions about his $44 billion acquisition of their company for the first time today (June 16) at a virtual town hall meeting.
Musk is in the process of raising cash to pay for his takeover. Twitter’s leadership has assured employees that nothing will change until the deal’s close, expected in the next two to five months. After that, Twitter’s board will dissolve and things will fall entirely in the hands of Musk, assuming he chooses not to form a new board.
The worries of Twitter employees include its new owner’s plans for layoffs, remote work, diversity and inclusion, content policy, and whether he will replace Twitter’s current CEO, Parag Agrawal.
Here’s what Musk said:
On remote work: only allowed for the “exceptional”
Twitter’s current policy allows permanent remote work for all employees. Musk said in the future only “exceptional” employees could keep working remotely, adding that his “bias is strongly towards working in person.”
Musk recently told his employees at Tesla they should work in the office for at least 40 hours a week or resign.
On layoffs: very likely
When asked about whether there will be layoffs after the merger, Musk said it depends on Twitter’s financial situation and suggested they are likely. “Right now, the costs exceed the revenue,” he said. “The company does need to get healthy.”
Answering a separate question about how he can build trust with Twitter employees, Musk said, “If someone is getting useful things done, that’s great. If they’re not then I’m like ‘why are they at the company?'”
On whether he will be CEO: technically no, but yes
Musk is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, according to these two companies’ regulatory filings. But he says it’s a made-up title.
When asked whether he will serve as Twitter’s CEO, he said he doesn’t care about titles, but intends to focus on making product-related decisions at the company.
On content moderation: likely none
When asked about his policies on legal but potentially harmful speech, Musk people should be allowed to say what they want. But that’s different from Twitter promoting that speech, he added.
Users should have the right to filter out content they don’t want to see, he said.
Musk said his idea of diversity and inclusion is getting Twitter to a billion daily users and make the platform a true “meritocracy.” That’s four times the number of Twitter’s current account holders, not excluding fake accounts.