Twitter users melt down after Elon Musk buys the platform for $44bn and call for workers to unionize


Twitter users encouraged employees at the social media company to unionize and promised to decamp for smaller services shortly after the company announced it had sold itself to Tesla founder Elon Musk for $44 billion.

The micro-blogging website released a statement Monday afternoon saying it had agreed to a deal for Musk to buy the social media giant for $54.20 per share in cash.

Within minutes, tweets decrying the full purchase – a move that seemed unlikely as recently as Saturday – came rolling in. 

Some threatened to head to alternative sites like CounterSocial, which crashed as incensed Twitter users flocked to sign up for backup accounts. Others said it was a perfect time for Twitter employees to engage in collective bargaining. 

‘Today seems like a great day for Twitter employees to form a union… After all, the new owner did just spend $44 billion to buy it,’ one user said.

People for Bernie, a group that supports Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, wrote: ‘Twitter employees, may we introduce you to @CODE_CWA,’ referring to an initiative of the Communication Workers of America union. The union counts the New York Times, General Electric and Verizon among its major employers.

Inside Twitter, employees are reportedly dismayed at the realization that Musk is now their boss.

‘I feel like im going to throw up..I rly don’t wanna work for a company that is owned by Elon Musk,’ one employee told a New York Times reporter.

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil published what she called her ‘last tweet’ at 3.42pm.

‘I fear this free speech bid is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny,’ she said. 

Some raised concerns about whether Musk, a staunch opponent of labor unions who is worth a reported $266.2 billion, would push the price of shares down as he seeks to take the company private, hitting employees who are partly paid in stock especially hard.

Enraged Twitter users threatened to decamp for smaller platforms and encouraged employees to unionize after Tesla CEO Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion on Monday

Musk tweeted the news on Monday, promising to 'increase trust' and 'defeat the spam bots'

Musk tweeted the news on Monday, promising to ‘increase trust’ and ‘defeat the spam bots’

Several users called for Twitter employees to unionize after the news was announced

Several users called for Twitter employees to unionize after the news was announced

A New York Times reporter says that an unidentified Twitter employee told him they feel like 'throwing up' at the thought of working for Musk

A New York Times reporter says that an unidentified Twitter employee told him they feel like ‘throwing up’ at the thought of working for Musk

The unidentified Twitter employee added: ‘I don’t rly know what I’m supposed to do…oh my god, my phone’s been blowing up…We have a meeting about it at 5pm…the CEO is going to address everyone about it

‘I hate him, why does he even want this?

‘I feel like he’s this petulant little boy and that he’s doing this to troll…he doesn’t know anything about our policies and what we do…his statement about our algo was f****** insane…

‘Were just gonna let everyone run amok?…nobody knows.’

The Tesla magnate agreed to pay shareholders $54.20 in cash for each share of common stock before the bombshell deal was struck. The move shifts control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the world’s richest person.

Musk vowed to protect free speech on Twitter, ‘defeat the spam bots’ and ‘authenticate all humans’ as he welcomed the acquisition.

He also revealed he planned to ‘enhance the product with new features’ and ‘make the algorithms open source to increase trust’. 

Earlier, the 50-year-old tycoon called for his ‘worst critics’ to remain on the platform because ‘that is what free speech means.’

Still, employees are worried about the SpaceX founder’s plans for the company. Musk is known for using Twitter to post inflammatory messages, much like former President Donald Trump.

Despite recent speculation, Trump said he would not be rejoining the site if Musk allowed him to – instead saying he would continue to use his own TRUTH Social.

Employees said they were worried Musk would undo the work the company has put into content moderation meant to prevent abuse, according to the New York Times.

They’re also concerned about their stock compensation, and whether share prices would go down as he seeks to take the company private. Many tech employees are paid a salary along with stock options that ‘vest’ at a certain time period.

In a worker-run survey of 200 Twitter employees, 44 percent said they were neutral on Musk, 27 percent said they loved him and 27 percent said they hated him.  

Some some liberal users from seeking a way out. The most common options include CounterSocial, a website that touts its commitment to, ‘No Trolls. No Abuse. No Ads. No Fake News. No Foreign Influence Ops.’

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil published what she called her 'last tweet' at 3.42pm

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil published what she called her ‘last tweet’ at 3.42pm

Several users promised to leave for alternative social media platforms like #CounterSocial, which crashed as Twitter users flocked to the fledgling app to create backup accounts

Several users promised to leave for alternative social media platforms like #CounterSocial, which crashed as Twitter users flocked to the fledgling app to create backup accounts

The website was flooded with so many people trying to create accounts that it temporarily crashed, according to screenshots shared on social media. 

Moreover, some users are calling for Twitter workers to unionize in order to have a stronger say on the platform’s future.

‘Twitter workers have all the leverage right now don’t squander it being scared. The message you send by Unionizing against a ceo who has a history of union bashing,’ one person wrote.

Musk has previously dared United Autoworkers to come unionize Tesla, arguing that they wouldn’t be successful because employees are already treated well.

‘Our real challenge is Bay Area has negative unemployment, so if we don’t treat and compensate our (awesome) people well, they have many other offers and will just leave!’ he tweeted in March. 

‘I’d like hereby to invite UAW to hold a union vote at their convenience. Tesla will do nothing to stop them.’

Last year, the National Labor Relations Board directed Tesla to hire back a union organizer it had fired. The federal agency also directed Musk to delete a 2018 tweet reading: ‘Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing?’

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Sunday Musk and Twitter had met to discuss the acquisition offer.

The price expectations among Twitter shareholders for the deal diverge largely based on their investment strategy, the sources said.

Active long-term shareholders, who together with index funds hold the biggest chunk of Twitter shares, had higher price expectations, some in the $60s-per-share, the sources said. 

They were also more inclined to give Agrawal, who became Twitter’s chief executive in November, more time to boost the value of the company’s stock, the sources added. 

Twitter's board is led by chairman Bret Taylor, who is also the co-CEO of business software giant Salesforce

Twitter’s board is led by chairman Bret Taylor, who is also the co-CEO of business software giant Salesforce

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who also holds a board seat, insisted that the company was not being 'held hostage' by Musk as he sought to reassure panicked employees

Jack Dorsey

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (left) and co-founder Jack Dorsey (right) also hold board seats 

Twitter stocks rocketed four per cent as the market opened in New York on Monday morning

Twitter stocks rocketed four per cent as the market opened in New York on Monday morning

‘I don’t believe that the proposed offer by Elon Musk ($54.20 per share) comes close to the intrinsic value of Twitter given its growth prospects,’ Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Twitter shareholder, tweeted on April 14.

Short term-minded investors such as hedge funds wanted Twitter to accept Musk’s offer or ask for only a small increase, the sources said.

Some of these were fretting a recent plunge in the value of tech stocks amid concerns over inflation and an economic slowdown made it unlikely Twitter would be able to deliver more value for itself anytime soon, the sources added.

Sahm Adrangi, portfolio manager at Kerrisdale Capital Management, a hedge fund that owns 1.13 million shares in Twitter, or 0.15 per cent of the company, said: ‘I would say, take the $54.20 a share and be done with it.’



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