Twitter employees are voicing their concerns after Elon Musk vowed to make ‘significant improvements’ to the social media platform as a company board member and majority shareholder, admitting his investment in the company was not passive.
After news broke of the Tesla CEO’s $3billion investment in the platform, employees took to Twitter issuing messages of both serious uneasiness and mockery.
‘Good morning to our new overlord!’ Lara Cohen, the company’s Global Head of Partners, tweeted.
Company researcher Matt DeMichiel shared a meme featuring rapper Drake that seemingly implied Musk would move the company’s focus from growth, product innovation and sustainability to ways to further financial success.
‘Elon Musk just (temporarily at least) made me a lot of money. And I still dislike him,’ added Haraldur Thorleifsson, a Twitter team lead, referencing how news of Musk’s stake and board membership prompted a nearly 30 percent surge in the company’s stock value.
The billionaire, who initially filed a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure document intended for passive shareholders, filed a second form Tuesday indicating that he invested in the platform with the goal to evoke change.
The new filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, revealed Musk began purchasing Twitter stock on January 31 and continued to buy shares during every trading session through April 1.
Twitter employees are voicing their concerns after Elon Musk vowed to make ‘significant improvements’ to the social media platform as a company board member and majority shareholder, admitting his investment in the company was not passive
Twitter announced Tuesday morning that Musk would hold a seat on the company’s board of directors until the platform’s 2024 annual shareholders meeting.
In exchange, Musk – either alone or as a member of a group – is not allowed to push his stake in the company past 14.9 percent during the duration of his board membership and for 90 days after, according to Tuesday’s SEC filing.
However, Twitter employees appeared worried about company operations and values now that Musk seemingly holds significant weight in the company.
Michael Sayman, a company product lead, took to the platform to share a meme allegedly depicting the next company board meeting.
The post featured a group attending a meeting with Wario, the antagonist in Nintendo’s Mario series, sitting at the head table. The meme was captioned: ‘Twitter’s next board meeting’.
DeMichiel, who shared the Drake meme, also responded to a commenter asking if employees were required to include Musk on all work-related communications.
He answered: ‘That and all email signatures have to link to Tesla’s website.’
Although most responses featured targeted sarcasm, EJ Samson, a member of the platform’s marketing team, issued a more neutral response, questioning Musk’s role at the company.
Retweeting a poll the SpaceX CEO had posted asking if users wanted an edit button, Samson replied, via meme: ‘What is happening?’
Lara Cohen, the company’s Global Head of Partners, compared Musk to a feudal lord
Company researcher Matt DeMichiel shared a meme featuring rapper Drake that seemingly implied Musk would move the company’s focus from growth, product innovation and sustainability to ways to further financial success
DeMichiel also responded to a commenter asking if employees were required to include Musk on all work-related communications
Haraldur Thorleifsson, a Twitter team lead, referenced how Musk’s stake and board membership prompted a surge in the company’s stock value
Michael Sayman, a company product lead, compared Musk to Wario, the antagonist in Nintendo’s Mario series
EJ Samson, a member of the platform’s marketing team, seemingly questioned Musk’s role at the company
As employees voiced their concerns, subscription newsletter platform Substack taunted the workers, saying that although the outlet was hiring, Twitter employees should not apply.
‘If you’re a Twitter employee who’s considering resigning because you’re worried about Elon Musk pushing for less regulated speech… please do not come work here,’ Lulu Cheng Meservey, the Vice President of Communications at Substack, tweeted on Tuesday.
‘But for everybody else, we really are hiring! Join a talented, determined, passionate, motley team of all backgrounds and beliefs,’ she added. ‘We debate respectfully, execute maniacally, and live to serve writers and podcasters. Long live independent publishing.’
Her comments were met with significant criticisms from social media users who argued she was unprofessional, acting with political discrimination, unfair and hostile.
One user even wrote: ‘Congratulations on helping me to the decision that I’ll never write at Substack or subscribe to any writers there.’
Meservey, who alleged ‘context collapse has now happened’ after her remarks were publicly slammed, issued a statement to DailyMail.com Wednesday, clarifying her commentary: ‘It was a lighthearted poke at Twitter, but of course we welcome applicants from all backgrounds and with a wide range of beliefs and opinions, because diversity is strength.
‘But working at Substack only makes sense if you support the ideas relating to our core mission, including that what you read matters, that writers do important work and deserve to be paid well for it, and that healthy discourse needs to allow for respectful disagreement. If that’s you please check out Substack.com/jobs!’
Meservey Tuesday’s commentary came amid backlash from progressive social media users who seemingly feared Musk, a known critic of Twitter’s apparent censorship policies, would ruin the platform.
‘No good will come of this. Hoping entrepreneurs are dreaming up new alternatives to Twitter and Facebook,’ Amy Siskind, activist, author and president of The New Agenda, told Fox News after Tuesday’s board member announcement.
Political analyst Tim O’Brien argued free speech activists should be worried about the entrepreneur’s newfound power at the company.
‘Musk fashions himself a free speech purist, but bullies critics,’ he said.
As employees voiced their concerns, subscription newsletter platform Substack taunted the workers, saying that although their outlet was hiring, Twitter employees should not apply
Lulu Cheng Meservey, the Vice President of Communications at Substack, touted her platform’s dedication to ‘independent publishing’ after telling Twitter users they weren’t welcome to work at the platform
After being met with criticisms, Meservey claimed the ‘context’ behind her remarks had been lost. She likely made her comments in response to Tuesday’s backlash from progressive users who feared Musk, a known critic of Twitter’s apparent censorship policies, would ruin the platform
One user accused Meservey of political discrimination
Another slammed Meservey for posting the remark and then claiming it was misunderstood
Most users dismissed Meservey’s claim that ‘context collapse has now happened’
Another user noted that in wake of Meservey’s comments they would never subscribe to Substack or read work from its writers
Meservey was hit with significant criticism for her remarks about Twitter employees joining the Substack staff
Podcast host Sawyer Hackett, who also served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama Administration, slammed Musk as a hypocritical fraudster who allegedly evaded taxes.
‘The newest member of Twitter’s board of directors once went on Twitter and called a U.S. Senator “Senator Karen” because she suggested he – the richest man in the world – should pay income taxes,’ Hackett said. ‘He paid $0 in income taxes last year.’
Others, including MSNBC host Joy Reid, raised concern that Musk would demand that company reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account, which was permanently suspended last year following the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
‘So if this platform brings Trump, his white nationalist friends, Q-anon and the anti-vaxxers back, and it becomes no different from failing side-apps like Gettr (still one of the most unintentionally hilarious brand names ever) or Gab, how many of y’all will remain on here?’ Reid argued.
She added: ‘If they let the hive back in, they’ll have about the same sized audience as those failed “new Twitters,” and the path will be wide open for a smart developer out there. Just sayin… Twitter can be unpleasant enough without the disinformation and nazi bros.’
Twitter spokesperson Adrian Zamora, in a statement issued to DailyMail.com, reiterated the platform has no plans to reinstate Trump’s account in wake of Musk’s appointment.
‘Twitter is committed to impartiality in the development and enforcement of its policies and rules,’ Zamora said Tuesday. ‘Our policy decisions are not determined by the Board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions.’
‘As always our Board plays an important advisory and feedback role across the entirety of our service. Our day to day operations and decisions are made by Twitter management and employees.’
The billionaire, who initially filed a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) disclosure document intended for passive shareholders, filed a second form Tuesday indicating that he invested in Twitter (San Francisco headquarters pictured) with the goal to evoke change
Twitter entered into its board membership agreement with Musk on Monday, an SEC report revealed.
After submitting the regulatory filing on Tuesday, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Musk’s board membership on the social media, alleging the billionaire brings ‘great value’ to the company.
‘I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,’ Agrawal wrote.
‘He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!’
Musk responded to the CEO, saying: ‘Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!’
Other board members seemed receptive to Musk – who has 80 million Twitter followers – joining their ranks, with several issuing welcome messages online, including platform founder Jack Dorsey.
Twitter board members, including founder Jack Dorsey, seemed excited about Musk’s appointment
Several, including Omid Kordestani, the board’s executive chairman and a current member, posted messages of welcome to the platform
Board chair and Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor said they were excited to work with Musk
‘I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,’ Dorsey tweeted. ‘Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.’
Board chair and Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor echoed the sentiment, saying: ‘Welcome to the Twitter board, @elonmusk! We are all excited to work with you and build the future of Twitter together.’
Taylor’s post was retweeted by fellow board members Mimi Alemayehou, Senior Vice President for Public-Private Partnership at Mastercard; Martha Lane Fox, Founder and Chairperson of Lucky Voice Group; and Stanford University professor Dr. Fei-Fei Li.
Omid Kordestani, the board’s executive chairman and a current member, wrote: ‘Welcome @elonmusk!’
The four remaining board members – Former World Bank President Robert Zoellick, Invoia Capital general partner Patrick Pichette, 1stdibs.com Inc. CEO David Rosenblatt, and Egon Durban, Co-CEO of Silver Lake – did not publicly commented on Musk’s appointment to the board.
None of the members immediately responded to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Twitter stocks have surged since mid-March when Musk purchased his stake
Stock prices rose by more than 3 percent on Tuesday after news of Musk’s board appointment
Despite the fact that Twitter claims policy decisions are not determined by board members or shareholders, millions of investors flocked to Twitter’s stock after Musk disclosed his 9.2 percent stake in the company.
The stock became the most bought U.S. stock by retail investors on Monday, surging 27 percent in value.
Stock prices rose by more than three percent, to 50.98, on Tuesday after news of Musk’s board appointment. The stock was trading at around 39 on Friday.
However, Wall Street analysts allege the Musk-fueled buzz around Twitter is a ‘bit extreme,’ given that the platform’s fundamentals and challenges ‘remain broadly the same’.
Jeffries equity analyst Brent Thill told Fox Business the stock’s gain was a ‘potential overreaction given the unclear rationale behind Musk’s $3.7B investment.’
Bernstein analysts Mark Shmulik and Toni Sacconaghi Jr. told the news outlet they believe Musk’s interest in Twitter was ‘mainly personal and nothing more than a potential distraction.’
‘We view the interest as a potential distraction for Musk and TSLA shareholders, given that Musk is arguably already overcommitted, and his fervor for the topic of censorship/free speech is high,’ the pair reportedly wrote their clients Tuesday.
‘The magnitude of the pre-market stock move speaks volumes of an investor base eager for any positive jolt, as the stock was previously around IPO levels. Some investors are certainly hoping for a sale, but we believe the stock move is likely an overreaction for this broadly speculative possibility.’
Musk has developed a loyal following of investors who stuck with his company Tesla Inc for most of the past decade while it was still struggling to streamline production of electric cars and make them affordable. Tesla is now among the world’s most valuable companies with a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion.
Musk, who is also behind other ventures such as rocket maker SpaceX, is the world’s richest person with a net worth pegged by Forbes at $290billion.
The entrepreneur’s popularity with retail investors was one of the reasons why Twitter agreed this week to offer him a seat on its board of directors, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Musk and Twitter did not respond to requests for comment.
Musk initially filed a 13G ownership disclosure document with the SEC on Tuesday, which is reserved for passive shareholders. Later, following the announcement of his board seat, Musk filed a 13D form (pictured), confirming his intentions to be active in Twitter’s business
The 13D filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, revealed that Musk began purchasing Twitter stock at the end of January and continued to do until April 1
News of Musk’s board seat came amid allegations he broke SEC rules after missing the ownership-disclosure deadline for his stake in Twitter.
According to an SEC 13G filing obtained by DailyMail.com Tuesday, Musk purchased 73.5 million shares of the platform on March 14, worth about $3billion. A SEC 13G filing is reserved for passive investors.
Tax experts argued the SpaceX CEO had left himself open to penalties of up to $207,183 after he failed to submit the ownership acquisition disclosure late within 10 days of acquiring 5 percent of the company, as required by U.S. securities law.
Musk should have disclosed his shares by March 24 but didn’t sign the filing until 21 days after his purchase. He also failed to include a certification indicating he didn’t acquire his stake in Twitter to change or influence control of the company, as is typically done when filing a 13G report, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Instead of including the certification in his form, Musk simply wrote: ‘Not applicable’.
Later Tuesday, following the announcement of his board seat, Musk filed a 13D form, confirming his intentions to be active in Twitter’s business.
The 13D filing, which was obtained by DailyMail.com, also revealed that Musk began purchasing Twitter stock at the end of January and continued to do until April 1.
His largest purchase occurred on February 7 when he acquired more than 4.8 million shares, worth approximately $176million.
Twitter closed at its 2022 low point on March 7 when shares were trading at $32.42 each. They had ended January at $37.51 and have significantly surged in the wake of the news surrounding Musk’s involvement with the platform.