Musk Seems to Have Failed to Fire Employee Who Rebuked Him

Musk Seems to Have Failed to Fire Employee Who Rebuked Him

Self-described free speech maven Elon Musk discovered a new limit to his principles this week, after a Twitter employee publicly rebutted the billionaire’s explanation for slow app performance in many countries.

“He’s fired,” Musk declared on Monday morning.

Or is he?

Hours after Musk supposedly terminated software engineer Eric Frohnhoefer, he was still active on Slack and responding to messages, according to a person familiar with the matter, suggesting that he had not formally been axed.

Soon after acquiring Twitter late last month, Musk laid off about half of its staff, gutting large swaths of the business. Many employees found out they were no longer employed after losing access to Slack and other internal platforms.

Among those cut, the person added, were people in the human resources department responsible for implementing personnel changes, along with Twitter’s communications team. (No surprise, then, that nobody immediately responded to a request for comment sent to Twitter’s press inbox; Musk also did not immediately reply, while Frohnhoefer declined to comment.)

The Chief Twit’s scrape with Frohnhoefer began after Musk apologized in a tweet Sunday for Twitter’s slowness, claiming the lags were attributable to tech issues related to the number of “remote procedure calls” the app was conducting.

The technical specifics mattered less than Frohnhoefer’s reply: “I have spent ~6yrs working on Twitter for Android and can say this is wrong,” he wrote.

Another user chided Frohnhoefer for rebuking Musk in public. The engineer stood by his remarks, adding, “Maybe he should ask questions privately. Maybe using Slack or email.”

Frohnhoefer, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as #OpenToWork, wasn’t the only tweep to challenge Musk.

In reply to Musk’s same apology about slowness, an engineer named Ben Leib tweeted, “As the former tech lead for timelines infrastructure at Twitter, I can confidently say this man has no idea wtf he’s talking about.”

Leib did not immediately respond to a request for comment. According to his LinkedIn profile, he worked at Twitter until this month.

Since the acquisition, Musk has made multiple drastic changes to the platform, including a tumultuous plan to let anyone acquire a blue “verified” check mark for $8 per month. The billionaire argued that the proposal would free Twitter from bots, but in reality users mocked Musk by impersonating his account, along with that of Rudy Giuliani, O.J. Simpson, and Jesus Christ. In an effort to beat back the trolls, Twitter was forced to ban newly created accounts from joining the verification program.

For Musk, week three of ownership is already going much like the first two.

The Daily Beast

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