By Tom Ozimek
Billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk said that he’s not worried by a potential exodus of Twitter employees if his takeover bid becomes reality, with his remarks coming amid reports that some staff are unsettled by his buyout proposal.
“It’s a free country,” Musk told reporters on the red carpet at the annual Met Gala in New York on May 2 when asked about Twitter staff potentially quitting.
“Certainly if anyone doesn’t feel comfortable with that, they will on their own accord go somewhere else. That’s fine,” he added, referring to the prospect that his offer to buy Twitter for some $44 billion will ultimately come to fruition.
Musk has said his aim in seeking to buy Twitter is to take the company private and transform it into an “inclusive arena for free speech.”
The takeover attempt is not about making money, Musk has insisted, but to effect a number of changes to the platform and reduce the “civilizational risk” to freedom and democracy from what Musk has described as Twitter’s excessive and opaque restrictions on expression.
Some of the changes Musk has teased include cracking down on spam bots, making the algorithm open source to bolster transparency, and generally shifting the content moderation policies towards erring on the side of more free speech.
‘Many Employees Will Not Have Jobs’
Some Twitter staff members have reportedly expressed concern about Musk’s moves to take over the platform, with audio of an all-hands meeting last week reported on by Business Insider detailing some of their fears, including around staff attrition.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was asked by an employee to share his “honest thoughts about the very high likelihood that many employees will not have jobs after this deal closes.”
Agrawal did not deny that there might be layoffs and said the corporate culture under Musk’s leadership would be likely to change.
“Different organizations have different cultures, but they’ve excelled,” Agrawal said. “It will be different here than what it is today, but for the people who are here, it will be worth it to be here.”
“I believe the future Twitter organization will continue to care about its impact on the world and its customers,” Agrawal added.
Another change Musk has set his sights on is a Twitter management shakeup. Musk has said that if his takeover attempt is successful, the company’s Board of Directors will go from being paid millions per year to zero.
“Board salary will be $0 if my bid succeeds, so that’s ~$3 million/year saved right there,” Musk said in a tweet that was part of a thread that claimed the interests of Twitter’s board members are not in line with those of the company’s shareholders.
Reuters contributed to this report.