Science

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal responds to employee anger at Elon Musk’s criticism

Parag Agrawal said that Twitter always cares about its employees and will continue to do so.

On Friday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tried to assuage employee anger during a company-wide meeting where employees demanded answers about how officials plan to handle the expected mass exodus caused by Elon Musk.

The meeting comes after Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, who has brokered a $44 billion deal to buy the social media company, repeatedly criticized Twitter’s content moderation practices and the senior executive responsible for setting privacy and security policies.

At an internal meeting reported by Reuters, executives said the company would track employee layoffs daily, but it was too early to tell how the Musk purchase deal would affect employee retention.

Musk has suggested creditors cut the salaries of executives and board members, but the exact cost cuts remain unclear, according to people familiar with the matter. The source said that Musk will not make a decision on job cuts until he owns Twitter.

“I’m tired of hearing about shareholder value and fiduciary responsibilities. What do you honestly think about the very high likelihood that many employees will be out of work after the deal is closed? a Twitter employee asked Agrawal in a question read aloud during the meeting.

Agrawal replied that Twitter always cares about its employees and will continue to do so.

“I think the future organization of Twitter will continue to be concerned about its impact on the world and its customers,” he said.

Executives said at the meeting that employee turnover rates were unchanged from levels prior to news of Musk’s interest in buying the company.

Over the past few days, Musk has been critical of Twitter chief lawyer Vijay Gadde, a Twitter veteran and widely respected in Silicon Valley. Musk’s attack sparked a wave of online harassment against her.

Employees also told executives they fear Musk’s erratic behavior could destabilize Twitter’s business and hurt it financially as the company prepares to address the advertising world at a presentation next week in New York.

“We have a short-term strategy for working with advertisers who are attracting investment,” one employee asked.

Sarah Personet, Twitter’s director of customer experience, said the company is working to communicate with advertisers frequently and reassure them that “the way we serve our customers doesn’t change.”

After the meeting, a Twitter employee told Reuters that few people trust what executives say.

“Public relations talk doesn’t land. We’ve been told not to run away and do work you’re proud of, but there is no clear incentive for employees to do so,” a Reuters employee told Reuters, noting that non-executive staff wages are now capped due to the agreement.

Research firm Equilar estimates that Agrawal will receive $42 million if he is fired within 12 months of a management change at the social media company.

During the meeting, Agrawal urged staff to look forward to change in the future under new management and acknowledged that the company could do better over the years.

“Yes, we could do things differently and better. I could have done differently. I think about it a lot,” he said.

Twitter declined to comment further.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by the NDTV staff and is published on a syndicated channel.)

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